Britain's Harrier jump jets have taken off on what is billed as their "final flight" before the axe of Government spending cuts falls on them.
The 16-strong fleet of distinctive aircraft soared into the grey skies above RAF Cottesmore in the East Midlands on a farewell journey due to take them over several other RAF bases.
Weather permitting, they are scheduled to fly over the local town centres of Stamford and Oakham as well as Lincoln Cathedral before landing back at RAF Cottesmore later.
I had an interesting encounter with a Harrier Pilot. He was in charge of Harrier training at Yeovilton. He demonstrated what he was able to do to a poor pilot who was taking the simulator for a spin. (this was an actual Harrier cockpit on giant hydraulic stilts). He basically pulled a few switches on his control panel and gave the guy in the cockpit multiple systems failures. And to his credit, the guy managed to land the plane. My instructor friend had not been so unfortunate. He ejected from his Harrier and got a face full of canopy glass because his visor was up at the time. I'm not sure what a Harrier cost in those days but I expect he had some explaining to do. It's a shame to see another iconic aircraft bite the dust, but considering the original design was conceived fifty years ago, I guess they must move on.