Sea Harrier Arrives Early in Oshkosh
July 7, 2010 — The world’s only civilian-owned Harrier, a BAE Sea Harrier F/A2, landed in Oshkosh on Monday evening, July 5 - a bit earlier than originally planned, but in plenty of time for its first-ever appearance at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2010. Owner, retired Marine test pilot Lt. Col. Art Nalls, EAA 689513/Warbirds 549224, and his team decided it made more sense to come now rather than the weekend before AirVenture.
“We were already in St. Louis for the air show there over the weekend so we decided to fly it up now,” said owner and retired Marine test pilot Lt. Col. Art Nalls, EAA 689513/Warbirds 549224. The other option was to fly back to the Washington, D.C. area (the aircraft is based at St. Mary's County Airport, Maryland), he said, which also meant an 18-hour drive for the ground support truck. Then they would have had to make a similar trip back to Oshkosh in three weeks.
A strong tail wind en route from St. Louis to Oshkosh made the decision to come early even better, with winds measuring 70-80 knots at one point. “We arrived with enough fuel left to do a flight demo,” Nalls said.
Nalls, who had never been to Oshkosh before, was struck by size of the convention site. “I can’t imagine what it’s like when it’s full of airplanes and people,” he said.
John Hopkins, EAA manager of aircraft maintenance, reported that the Sea Harrier arrived at Wittman Field around 6:30 p.m. Monday after flying in the Fair St. Louis air show on July 4. The aircraft is now parked in the Weekes Hangar until AirVenture, and Nalls is scheduled to fly it in the Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday air shows.