At the controls of a Strikemaster

I opened the throttle smoothly to 85% rpm against the brakes, released them and, as the jet bounded forward, increased power to 100%. With the wind straight down the runway, the jet tracked straight and true as the airspeed was building. The airspeed indicator (ASI) needle and rudder came alive at roughly the same speed, as the Strikemaster surged down Duxford’s runway in Cambridgeshire. The needle was moving faster than the second hand of a watch as the centreline blurred into a continuous white stripe. As the speed hit 90kts, I eased the stick back and waited a second. After a momentary pause, the nosewheel lifted off, followed swiftly at about 105kts by the mains. The bumping and jolting stopped instantly, as our clumsy wheeled vehicle miraculously transformed itself into a lithe and vital creature of the air…

 

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