The Lincoln Harrier fly-past that never was

The 16 RAF Harrier jets that were due to have their final fly-past the Lincoln Cathedral on Wednesday left hundreds disappointed.

Hundreds of people stopped at 2pm across the city, looking up to the skies above the cathedral, waiting for the final flight of the jets.

Dozens of people also went to the castle observation point to watch the spectacle, while others were on the castle grounds waiting for the show.

Even down hill people stopped in areas with good visibility.

But an hour later they were all left disappointed, as the 16 Harrier jets did not dip down across Lincolnshire at all because it was too cloudy.

The jets flew at high altitude, so people could not hear or see them.

The Harrier jets were brought into service in 1969 and based at RAF Wittering. The aircraft was designed to take off and land both vertically and on a short runway.

Last year the aircraft celebrated its 40th anniversary as the Harrier squadrons flew home after five years in Afghanistan.

However, this year the government decided to decommission the 16 jets, as part of the coalition’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.

The review claimed more money could be saved by scrapping the Harriers and keeping the fleet of Tornado airplanes, saving £100million.

Officer Commanding 800 Naval Air Squadron, Commander Dave Lindsay, said:

“The Harrier leaves UK service after an illustrious career that has seen it contribute to every major conflict in the last 30 years.

“It has been an enormous personal privilege and honour to have been involved with this aircraft for nearly 20 years, at sea and over land, at peace and in conflict.”

Photo: MOD