148 – Flying the Harrier

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In our little series on interesting aircraft, this episode covers the Harrier, the iconic VTOL fighter. Our guests are Joe Anderson and Art Nalls, who both fly Art’s civilian Harrier in airshows. We discussed the history of the Harrier and its predecessors, talked about its use in the military and the advantages of STOVL and then discussed in some details the intricacies of flying a Harrier (compared to other aircraft). We concluded by talking about Art and Joe’s airshow activities.

Note: in the episode I said that both Art and Joe had a long “Navy career”. This is wrong; they both were Marines. I am sorry for this fatal mistake :-)

Links to Art and his Harrier:

General Links:

26 Responses to 148 – Flying the Harrier

  1. Pingback: Die letzten und nächsten 24h, Montag, 26.05.2014 | die Hörsuppe

  2. Rick Pontefract says:

    Another awesome episode. I have always been a fan of the Harrier and this podcast was a really good listen. Your guests were informative and entertaining and I’d really like you to get them back to talk some more about it. Great work.

  3. MaNo says:

    Thank you, Rick!

  4. Bert says:

    This was another awesome episode Markus! Thank you.
    A great ‘inside’ on operating and flying the Harrier.
    I would also thank the contributing pilot’s Art en Joe for talking to you and their efforts to make it possible to fly a Harrier privately.

  5. Duncan Allen says:

    I really enjoyed this episode. The information about the Harrier was really interesting and the guests were very entertaining.

  6. MaNo says:

    Thanks Bert :-)

  7. MaNo says:

    Thanks Ducan!

  8. Katrin says:

    Did I hear & understand correctly, that two veterans talked about the awesomeness of a weapon (system) here? With the host not critically digging into the actual meaning of vocabulary like “efficiency”, “capacity” and “sweeten up the shot”?

    Understandably, it’s a remarkably interesting machine on the technical level, and all kudos to the pilots for retrofitting one for private aviation. But less of this techno-military hubris of totally ignoring the impact (in the truest meaning of the word) in future episodes, please.

  9. MaNo says:

    Hi Katrin,

    yes, you heard correctly. Here is my perspective. As you say, these airplanes are technically fascinating. And from my perspective as a pilot, doing interviews on legendary (military or civilian) airplanes is one of the joys of omega tau. As I am sure you also noticed, in such episodes I try to focus on the technology and the flying as much as possible. I don’t ask military questions. In fact, I tell the guests in advance that I will keep out the military side as much as possible. But on the flip side, this means that if and when the guests do mention military aspects, I cannot jump in on these things – neither critically or positively.


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  12. Katrin says:

    > As I am sure you also noticed, in such episodes […]

    I actually did not, because this was the first military episode I
    listened to. Scrolling through the feed now, I get the impression no
    other episode even had a chance to attain that level. U2 & SR71 were at
    least “only” spy planes (geopolitical can of worms, though, worthy of
    reflection in itself) and the Eurofighter… Well, judging from the newspaper reports about it’s performance problems, one could characterise it as a *dis*armament project :->

    > I don’t ask military questions. In fact, I tell the guests in
    > advance that I will keep out the military side as much as possible.
    > But on the flip side, this means that if and when the guests do
    > mention military aspects, I cannot jump in on these things

    That’s the techno-military hubris I mean: generalising the actual
    killing “efficiency” & “capacity” of some aspects of a military machine
    as “the military side” and then justifying to only talk about the
    technical side of those aspects.

    In that realm of thinking, where would the limit be then? In terms of
    euphemisms that guests with combat history may utter, before you would
    ask for clarification of their meaning? Or in terms of death-toll
    attributable to a certain technology, before there could be no focus any
    more on only its technical side?

  13. MaNo says:

    You are right that the Harrier is different from the U-2 and the SR-71.
    But we have also had an episode on the Fregatte Hamburg, so the occasional
    military topic is in scope for omega tau. As I said, I try to keep it focused
    on the technical aspects.

    In terms of where the limit is: I would not do an episode on guns, for
    example. And if a guest started talking about how much fun it was to kill
    people I would probably jump in. But in general, when talking to military
    people I have to respect their use of terminology and their perspective
    on war. I’m not going to jump in on everything that a pacifist would
    consider offensive.

  14. Rob Stubbs says:

    How about this – a new type of harrier landing – vertical stool landing – see this link and video!

  15. Marc says:

    Pilot lands faulty fighter jet on a stool at sea.

  16. MaNo says:

    Thanks to both of you, that’s a great video :-)

  17. DRy says:

    AV 8B Harrier Lands without Nose Landing Gear

  18. MaNo says:

    Thanks Dirk, you’re number 3 :-)

  19. otauhoerer says:

    Very interesting episode. Thanks.

    Do you plan an episode about the “Starfighter”?

  20. MaNo says:

    “Plan” may be a bit too strong, but I am thinking about it. I was thinking about asking this guy for an interview:

  21. MaNo says:

    indeed :-) But their thing is of course a bit superficial, compared to our two hours :-)

  22. Oliver 1000 says:

    Right! Love your program, by the way, it is extraordinary. I’m especially fond of the astronomy/space shows.

  23. Andy says:

    I got to listen to this episode only now and kudos to you – it is entertaining, rich in information and your choice of guest was tremendous! Thank you for that!
    Btw – do you plan on having a chat with some testpilot? You know, their testpilot school exeprience (I heard that especially at Empire Test Pilots’ School it is pretty eclectic- or at least used to be), how their everyday life goes and so on…
    Anyways, keep up the great work you’re doing!

  24. MaNo says:

    Somebody from the ETP would be wonderful. However, I didn’t find somebody yet who wants to be a guest. Do you have an idea?

  25. Andy says:

    Unfortunately, no. But maybe contacting ETPS via their website could bring someone willing. Just an idea though…

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