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Best current RAF Aircraft

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Best current RAF Aircraft

Old 11th Jan 2021, 20:57
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Best current RAF Aircraft

Hi all,

I would appreciate any opinions and info on my query below.

I would like to know what is the best fixed wing aircraft in the RAF to fly at the moment? In terms of piloting experience, ie, most hands on flying, most hours, most exciting and enjoyable to fly, what does the most low level these days..etc but also the varied missions and ops.

My guess would be one or more of the following(Excluding the BBMF fleet of course as they would top everything) : Hercules, Hawk T1, C-17, Shadow?

I would have expected it to be the Typhoon or F-35 but from what I've heard they hardly do any low level these days, they don't fly very often anyway and the flying is very automated and computer management based, ie a far cry from the Hawk T1 or Tornado, Jaguar, Harrier, Phantom...etc?
However please correct me if I'm wrong or have missed any out that tick the criteria above.

Thanks,
Jamie

Last edited by JamieKnight95; 11th Jan 2021 at 22:07.
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Old 11th Jan 2021, 21:31
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Hhmph; thanks for that. You've automatically excluded the Lancaster.
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Old 11th Jan 2021, 22:06
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
Hhmph; thanks for that. You've automatically excluded the Lancaster.
Sorry, obviously that's the ultimate and rawest flying experience! What would you say is the closest thing to flying it in service? Or might give the best chances of flying it afterwards further down the line?
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Old 11th Jan 2021, 22:10
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Apache AH-64E
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Old 11th Jan 2021, 22:12
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As a school boy in the 70s, one would lust after the Phantom, Jaguar, Harrier, Hunter, Buccaneer and dream that one day you might fly the Lightning..
Then there was the Vulcan, Victor and Nimrod, Dominee, Jetstream.
Even the Belfast, Andover, Argosy, Shackleton and Hercules and others.
When on the UAS you had a choice of plenty of squadrons to spend a week on attachment.
Where did it all go wrong?
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Old 11th Jan 2021, 22:19
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You won't be doing any LL in a C-17! Hercs do some.

If you want time on the controls in the LL environment you'd better pray for rotary!
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Old 11th Jan 2021, 22:40
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The Boeing P-8.
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Old 11th Jan 2021, 22:46
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Typhoon as it is capable of carrying out the roles it is designed for and the other facets surrounding it to do so are in place.
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Old 11th Jan 2021, 23:16
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Originally Posted by rolling20 View Post
As a school boy in the 70s, one would lust after the Phantom, Jaguar, Harrier, Hunter, Buccaneer and dream that one day you might fly the Lightning..
Then there was the Vulcan, Victor and Nimrod, Dominee, Jetstream.
Even the Belfast, Andover, Argosy, Shackleton and Hercules and others.
When on the UAS you had a choice of plenty of squadrons to spend a week on attachment.
Where did it all go wrong?
We won the cold war. Allegedly.
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 00:15
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A400M! - see those low level over the lake district all the time!
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 00:53
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 04:48
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Originally Posted by JamieKnight95 View Post
I would like to know what is the best fixed wing aircraft in the RAF to fly at the moment?
Given the size of the current RAF fleet, I was expecting replies to include specific airframe serial numbers!!!
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 07:32
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Jamie

I think your question is not really comparing apples with apples.

You said fixed wing but, as Iím sure youíre aware, there is a huge difference between flying a C17 and flying a Typhoon. I donít think you can compare the quality of the job based on the flying alone and certainly not the amount of time spent at low level.

I cannot speak for the multi engine airframes and Iím a bit too far removed from the frontline to speak with any authority on the current platforms. However, if you were to ask me now which platform I would most like to fly it would be F35 in a heartbeat with Typhoon so close behind in second place that they would be barely distinguishable.

My comment, though, is based on the fact that I have previously spent an awful lot of time at low level and, whilst I still love it (I was last flying at low level about 50 minutes ago), I would not be so bothered about whether or not my platform were still employed in that environment.

I donít think anybody would join the RAF to fly the Hawk T1 specifically but you are probably correct that they (100 Sqn and 736 NAS) spend the most time at LL. The Valley based Hawk T2s still do some LL but not as much as they used to.

Provided your only aim was to fly at LL and the aircraft type were of no concern, you may find that the Tac Hercules Sqn spend more time down there but I genuinely have no idea.

BV
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 08:12
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Thank you for all the comments, there is a reason why I said fixed wing, as I'm sure the answer would be rotary if it were out of all RAF aircraft at the moment but it's just the fixed wing I'm interested in knowing about.

Low level isn't the be all and end all factor as I mentioned the other criteria and factors(most hours, most exciting and enjoyable to fly, what does the most low level these days, varied missions and roles) But obviously today, bar rotary, sadly there is generally little time spent down at low level. (Except for the Hercs and Hawk T1's)

"I donít think anybody would join the RAF to fly the Hawk T1 specifically" Oops as that's me... It's the closest thing to the flying in the era of the Phantom, Jaguar, Harrier, Hunter, Tornado...etc in my eyes?

Although I also feel it should be Typhoon or F-35 based off of previous fast jets, I think there is a stark difference between flying any fast jet today(In the RAF) and those of yesterday, not just in terms of low level time but what the experience is from a pilot's perspective, hands on flying, number of hours you fly per week/month/year, a raw and manual flying experience...etc

I thought the C-17's might do low level given what it can do and that the Americans and Australians seem to throw them around everywhere doing all sorts? Maybe the Herc does all that and is more interesting over here.

Thanks for the comments and opinions, I do appreciate them, although it seems quite conflicted.
Jamie
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 09:41
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Originally Posted by Tashengurt View Post
We won the cold war. Allegedly.
That victory was a lifetime ago.
We are way behind the curve on the Mk2 version.
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 11:41
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The closest to a Lanc I have flown has been the Valiant. The most exciting was the Gnat at low level in Snowdonia. To be honest the Lanc is not actually exciting although it is a great priviledge and an honour.
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 12:07
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Originally Posted by switch_on_lofty View Post
You won't be doing any LL in a C-17!
Hopefully you will at least twice in each sortie!
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 12:17
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Originally Posted by pontifex View Post
The closest to a Lanc I have flown has been the Valiant. The most exciting was the Gnat at low level in Snowdonia. To be honest the Lanc is not actually exciting although it is a great priviledge and an honour.
I believe hearing loss/ back problems were common place amongst WW2 heavy bomber pilots later in life.
I had an instructor who had done 2 tours on the Shackleton and he wasn't too complimentary about it.
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 12:52
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Originally Posted by switch_on_lofty View Post
You won't be doing any LL in a C-17! ......!
Occasionally a visitor might



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Old 12th Jan 2021, 13:14
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Originally Posted by Sloppy Link View Post
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Fixed wing?
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