ZA326 First Flight 40th Anniversary Patch
It doesn’t get much better than a Tornado in the Raspberry Ripple scheme does it!? We’re pleased to be able to offer this patch on behalf of The Panavia Tornado Preservation Group.
The patch measures 3.50″ in diameter and is velcro backed.
The Panavia Tornado Preservation Group are proud owners of ZA326, the world’s only Tornado GR.1P aircraft.
ZA326 (cn 016/BT006/3008) was the eighth production Panavia Tornado, and one of the initial 23 RAF IDS aircraft to be built to Batch 1 standard, intended for the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE). Construction begun in July 1979 and a number of engine runs were performed at BAe Systems Warton between 15th-22nd July 1980 before a severe fire which destroyed the rear of the aircraft on 30th July 1980. The devastation was later found to be caused by recirculation valves not operating correctly, resulting in over-pressurisation of the return fuel pipe.
Eventually repaired with a set of Batch 2 wings and a Batch 6 rear end, ZA326 first flew on 31st March 1983. Painted in the Royal Aircraft Establishment “Raspberry Ripple” colour scheme, it was assigned to the Flight Systems Department at Thurleigh, near Bedford. ZA326 spent its entire 22-year career as a trials aircraft, taking part in the development of terrain-following radar, all-weather approach, cockpit voice recognition and stores/weapons carriage research. In 1997 it flew a DB-110 camera in a demo pod, a capability which was subsequently developed into the Reconnaissance Airborne Pod for TORnado (RAPTOR).
ZA326 flying a trials RAPTOR pod
On its final flight on 13th December 2005, ZA326 was the last Tornado GR.1 flying anywhere in the world.