North East Land Sea and Air Museum reveals Tornado to the public

Tornado F3 ZE204 was officially revealed to the public at the North East Land Sea and Air Museum in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear , on 13 September. Unveiled by AVM Colin Da’Silva, himself a former F3 navigator with ZE204 in his logbook, he gifted the aircraft to Mrs Susan Whitfield OBE, Lord Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear who accepted the aircraft on behalf of the people of the North East of England. This F3 first flew on the 10 September 1986 and up to its retirement with 25 Squadron at RAF Leeming, with its last flight on the 17 March 2008. It had amassed 4,500 airframe hours and was placed into storage at RAF Shawbury, eventually ending its days at the Defence Fire Training Centre at Manston .

The gifting of the Tornado began back in 2018 during the RAF100 celebrations. Museum chair David Charles approached Wing Commander Erica Ferguson, OC RAF Heritage, to secure ZE204 for the museum with a promise to house the aircraft under cover. With the support of the regional Lord Lieutenants, the project began and came to fruition by 28 June, when the dismantled airframe arrived at the museum to be put back together by a JARTS team from RAF Boscombe Down. The initial visit was hit by a Covid outbreak within their team. They returned again on the 10 August to complete their work, in the meantime the F3 being pushed  pulled and generally manhandled into position inside its new display hangar.

Details of the museum and its opening times and admission charges can be found on its website; or via social media by searching for NELSAM.