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Tornado reaches 1,000,000 flying hours

June 27, 2011

SCREAMING towards the ground at 450mph in a 20-ton flying war machine, an RAF top gun calmly chats about his job, writes Chris Hughes, Defence correspondent for the Daily Mirror.

“We’ll pull up so we can climb with speed to get to the top of the loop, then we’ll gradually ease off at the top. It teaches pilots confidence in the plane. All ok, mate?”

All ok? My teeth are coming out of my ears, my eyes are in the back of my head and my skull is being slammed back by an invisible giant hand called G-force level 4. We’re not even approaching half the top 1,000mph speed the jet is capable of – faster than the speed of sound by an astonishing 222mph.

Tornado GR4 ZA547 in special livery to celebrate the aircraft type completing one million flying hours.

Wing Commander Brian “Sumo” James, 42, has the calm tone of a British Airways pilot announcing that the fish is off the menu, instead of a fighter ace at the controls of an awesome RAF machine, the Tornado GR4.

But don’t be fooled by that tone – he can pop a Paveway IV laser guided bomb down your chimney, like an aerial sniper driving at 500mph.

This week the RAF’s Tornados have notched up one million flying hours since its launch in 1982 and we’ve been given an exclusive ride in one of the world’s most sophisticated fighter bombers on a training mission.

To read the rest of this story by Chris Hughes, on the Daily Mirror website, click HERE, or on either of these pictures.

Tornado GR4 ZA547 in special livery to celebrate the aircraft type completing one million flying hours.

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