the hunter passion
RAF's first sonic boom
The Hawker Hunter was the Royal Air Force's first transonic fighter. It broke the World Speed Record in 1953. It has been described as the world's first genuinely multi-role jet combat aircraft, and it was the last of a long line of fighters to come from the drawing board of Sir Sydney Camm and from the Hawker production lines before the company was absorbed into the nationalised Hawker Siddeley, which later produced the Harrier and the Hawk.
the pilot's aeroplane
Regarded by many as the most aesthetically pleasing jet fighter ever built, the Hunter has also been described as the 'pilot's aeroplane'. It is simple, sleek and stylish, the most beautiful of all jet fighters. It is a delight to fly, precise, positive controls, and very manoeuvrable with no real vices.
The total number of Hunters produced was just less than 2000 between 1951 and the early 1960's. It was an aircraft which enjoyed long service in 21 nations, from the Omani deserts, to the jungles of Malaya, to the high Andean plateaus of the Atacama in Chile and the icy Swedish winters of Northern Europe. Wars in Pakistan and India have truly bloodied her history, as have her flights over Somalia and Zimbabwe and surrounding African Nations.
This site is dedicated to the Hawker Hunter, a British fighter aircraft which first flew on the 20th of July, 1954. Pacific Hunter Aviation had 21 of these great fighter jets, bought by Geoffrey Moesker from the Republic of Singapore Air Force in 1995. The Singaporeans updated their squadron for F16s and RF-5Es. Singapore certainly maintatined the Hunters with all the latest modifications. The aircraft averaged around 100 flying hours per year, per airframe.
If you are a Hunter fan already, you probably know there are some fantastic web pages describing this beautiful aircraft, see the links inside, they cover the Hunter's full and exciting history with magnificent photographs to browse through. One of the best magazine articles on the Hunter is by Roy Braybrook; it was first printed in the Air International Magazine in July 1981 and was written to celebrate the aircraft's 30th birthday, entitled, "Hunter... Thirty Years Young". In the final paragraph of Mr. Braybrook's superb article he mentions the Hawk and Singapore's Hunters.
The Hunter is a unique aircraft. She may not have had the glorious history of her illustrious stable mates of World War II, or the cutting-edge technology demonstrated by some of her contemporary sisters, or even the blistering speed and the all-weather capability of the latest hardware. But without a doubt, her beauty, her style and performance is supreme in the history of the 50+ year olds.
It was the Singaporeans in the 1980s who first graced Australia's shores with this classic fighter, and Pacific Hunter Aviation, amongst other private owners of the Hunter, has brought back this bird of prey back to roost, permanently, on the Australian War bird scene.
The RSAF operated the aircraft from RAAF Williamtown and Amberley in the 1980s, and they were a formidable threat with their Aim 9 missiles and rate of turn combining to give our Mirages III's a run for their money. The only way to achieve a 'safe' Fox 2 or Fox 3 kill was to keep the speed up at Mach1+, whilst going in cold nose, hoping not to be seen. Mixing it with the Hunter was not advised unless superior numbers of Mirages prevailed. Even the fly-through or bug-out was dodgy, as the range of their missile was formidable if a timely reversal was flown after their initial break.
Those of you who have been lucky enough to train on the Hunter and made your first wobbly flight over your own sand dunes will know how I feel. Perhaps you have experienced the thrill of a four-gun operational pass or mixed it with some supersonic swing-wing star ship, your pipper buried on its canopy, or perhaps just lazily tucked in box, over the top, her beautiful body displayed around you. You will know the thrill of controlling this thoroughbred. We can forgive her messy desktop, her hard drive never really failed us.