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New Lease of Life for Ex-RAF Jet in Cornwall

Published: January 25, 2018

Cornwall College Camborne

A classic British jet trainer built in 1960 that was in use with the Royal Air Force has been given a new lease of life moving into a dedicated hanger at Newquay airport.

The two seat fixed wing single engine trainer, was originally based at RAF Linton on Ouse in North Yorkshire, seeing a very active service life, before the fleet was disbanded in 1993.

Having spent the past two years in an old agricultural enclosure at Duchy College’s Rosewarne campus, the engineering department identified the need to re-house the aircraft in more appropriate surroundings.

They moved the plane with the help from Gateguards UK, a leading UK manufacturer of full scale replica aircraft; to a hanger on the Aero-Hub grounds.

Now the primary repair aircraft for Cornwall College’s aeronautical engineering students, this MK3a “JP” as they are affectionately known, offers a thorough training ground for the heavily based practical course, the only one of its kind in Devon and Cornwall.

John Goodwin, Tutor, Cornwall College said having “such a remarkable aircraft” on-hand for students to work on allows them to put into practice what they learn in the classroom.

“Since this course began only three years ago, we have seen exceptional levels of interest from across the Duchy and beyond,” he continued.

“The aerospace industry is an exciting and challenging environment in which to base a career, with many opportunities for the right candidate. Not only do we offer the only full-time aeronautical engineering course in Devon and Cornwall, but we have also had great success in student progression to university and apprenticeship opportunities.”

John, who spent twenty seven years in the aeronautical engineering sector, starting in the Royal Air Force including supporting the RAF Search & Rescue Force at RAF St Mawgan, is an expert in both rotary and fixed wing engineering, providing a solid platform of experience to teach the next generation of aircraft engineers.

The UK aerospace sector had a turnover of £31 billion in 2016, employing over 95,000 people, with the greatest number of jobs in the South West and the East Midlands. The UK has some major companies in the global aerospace sector, with both BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce featuring in the global top ten companies by revenue.

Mark Garnier MP, former Minister for Investment added that “aeronautical engineering is the backbone of the inspiring and vital aerospace industry in the UK”.

“I am delighted students at Cornwall College will get the opportunity to work on the Jet Provost as they embark on a fascinating career in engineering, securing the UK’s aerospace capability for the next generation,” he said.

“I urge them to make the most of their course and the future it offers them.”

Student Alexander Avis, said from an early age “I knew that I wanted to work with aircraft, either in the military or civilian sector”.

“Living in Cornwall I always thought that I would have to study away from home, but with this specialist course now available it’s absolutely amazing,” he said.

“I’m currently on the Level 3 diploma and have learned so much.  Having the JP to work on is a real bonus and an honour to be trusted to bring life back into this old aircraft.  Now that we’re in a more suitable working space it’s going to feel even more real while helping to maintain this plane.”

Miles Carden, Aerospace and Space Sector Lead, Cornwall Airport Newquay said having such a key course offering vital skills for the aeronautical industries “is a must to help the Aero-Hub prosper and grow and to help secure the UK’s first spaceport here in Cornwall”.

“The knowledge these students will gain will set them up for a rewarding career that can take them anywhere in the world and having skilled trades courses in the county will help the area economically and is very welcome,” he added.

John said that the plan is to increase the variety of aircraft students can work on.

“Phase one is to get the JP working and we already have the Viper jet engine to install, which will allow the aircraft to taxi under its own power,” he continued.

“We are very lucky to work with some great partners including Serco and Castle Air who provide assistance, equipment and apprenticeship opportunities. Our future plans for the course are very exciting and ambitious, now that Cornwall College is the number one choice for trade training in Devon and Cornwall, we aim to maintain this status, offering a varied selection of higher skills technology courses.”


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