Anecdotes & Feedback

Presented here are anecdotes, information snippets and other feedback I have been most grateful to receive on the subject of QA12. Note, I have reduced the contributors name to initials only in most cases - if you recognise yourself here and would by happy to have your full name published then please let me know.

 

"...having been a Hunter pilot myself, I am pleased to note that there is someone like you, who is taking care of this historical fighter aircraft that served many Air Forces of the world.

I attended the last Hunter Advanced Course at RAF Valley in 1978 and subsequently, flew this aircraft until December 1982 when it was grounded in the Qatar Emiri Air Force. However, I still feel that this was one of the best aircraft to fly, vis-a-vis, operationally as well as aircraft handling, and many of us who flew this aircraft still cherish its memories. I always thought this aircraft did not get the appreciation and publicity that it rightly deserved.

I personally appreciate the task that you have undertaken and would like to assure you of my full support towards achieving the desired task." - Brigadier General Ali Saeed Al-Marri (former Commander Qatar Emiri Air Force and pilot of QA12)

 

"While I was deployed at the QEAF base at Doha (from September 1990 until April 1991) with the 401TFW/614TFS

"Lucky Devils" from Torrejon AB, Spain I did have the opportunity to see what was left at that time of Qatar's Hunters. I'd always been a fan of the Hunter, even though I had never seen one in life, so it was interesting to see the completely stripped forward fuselage of one sitting on the tarmac at the base fire station (which of course I climbed up and into...) I'd asked one of the Qatari Alpha Jet maintainers and was told that the FGA.78's were sold abroad 'several years ago'.

It was my surprise, while 'investigating' the dark end of the hanger where the QEAF kept several Alpha Jets and and their Gazelle helos that I ran into a pair of old Whirlwind helos, and behind them - the dust covered two seater, the FGA.79. She was in beautiful condition, bright shiny paint covered by the dust in storage. The canopy opened easily and I was glad that I'd brought a flashlight as I jumped right in. It was minus its engine, which I later found stored in the engine shop where it was run up several times a year to keep it airworthy, but the airframe was beautiful and could very likely have flown with a couple of weeks of preperation. Unfortunatly I wasn't able to get any photographs - I was able to get permission to push her out into the sunlight and give her a bath for some photography, but the preperations for the upcoming war never allowed me the time to accomplish it. I did speak to several of the ex Hunter maintainers and they said that everyone in the QEAF loved the old Hawkers and were sad to see them go when they were replaced by the Mirage F.1EDA and DDA's (now replaced in turn by Mirage 2000-5EDA/DDA's) and Alpha Jets." - MK

 

"In the late 1980's I worked for Lovaux based at Hurn Airport Bournemouth and I remember 2 or 3 Hunters from Qatar being delivered and I am about 90% positive that one of them was QA12. I remember this as these aircraft seemed to be full of sand at the time as if having gone through a sandstorm.

From memory it was about the time that Lovaux was bought by FLS Aerospace who had more interest in civilian aircraft than military ones so this may have been the reason that they were never restored to flying condition.

I hope that this helps with a little bit of the history of this airframe." - AM

 

"I was a Hawker Siddeley apprentice at Brough in Yorkshire from 1969 to 1972 and spent the first part of my third year at the flight test aerodrome at Holme-on-Spalding-Moor. When I arrived I was amazed to see the four Qatari Hunters - single seaters QA10, 11 and 12 plus two-seater QA13 - shoe-horned into a corner of the flight test hangar. Quite the contrast with the grey (RN) and grey-green (RAF) Buccaneers. This would be around September 1971. A few days later I noticed a knot of gentlemen scrubbing a port wing tip with sandpaper as apparently there was concern about the suitability of the paint finish for desert conditions. Some time later I was outside tieing down a Buccaneer for engine runs when one of the single-seaters taxied by and took off for Bitteswell. The others were gone shortly afterwards. I'm guessing there was some sort of contractual delay and HOSM was used for storage." - RS

 

On the subject of the Qatar Emiri Air Force Hunters -

"...my father was an engineer on them and he last saw them crated up at Hurn in 1992/3 (incidently he crated them up himself around 1988).

I can still remember seeing this aircraft flying as a young boy when the pilots used to deliberately fly over our block of flats in Doha to show off." - SR

 

"Back in 1980 I was directly contracted to Qatar Armed Forces as civilillian engineer in the Qatar Emiri Air Force.

Upon arrival instead of being drafted into the main rotary wing flight of QEAF because of my previous fixed wing experience (including Hunters at RAE Bedford - Aeroflight Experimental Dept) I was assigned to QEAF Hunter flight.

QA12 & QA13 were both operational at that time and I spent four months on flightline and scheduled maintenance of these Hunters before being sent on Alpha-Jet courses and changing over to maintaining these aircraft upon delivery.

Being of the Inst Nav & Gen trade you can appreciate I had particular intimacy with the cockpits of these aircraft.

One of my fond memories is that of what may have been the swansong of QA12 when one of the pilots (who had also converted onto Alpha-Jets) gave an impromptu flying display in front of the assembled Alpha-Jet pilots and factory engineers and showing how good it still looked and performed. Afterwards he and the aircraft were given due applause by the gathered professionals." - RD

 

If you are able to add anything to this page, whether it be with anecdotes, stories, photographs etc., I'd be delighted to hear from you.

Please see the Contact page for my e-mail address.

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