One final salute as Tucano bows out

The Royal Air Force retired the Shorts Tucano T1 today at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, with the graduation of the students of Basic Fast Jet Training course 274.

Four pilots held the honour of being the final crews to learn on the Tucano in their preparation for the frontline - something that every RAF pilot has undertaken for the last 30 years.

Final Tucano Diamond Nine [Rich Cooper]
The final 'diamond nine' to be performed by students and instructors of the RAF's last Tucano-based basic fast-jet training course. Rich Cooper 
Tucano T1 Finale [Rich Cooper]
Tucano T1 ZF269 and ZF348's Garrett TPE331-12B turboprop engines roar for the last time in UK military service at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. Rich Cooper

The new face of RAF training is now complete, with students starting their journey on the Grob Prefect, before moving to the T-6 Texan II and onto the Hawk T2 at RAF Valley. The Tucano fleet will be disposed of and likely sold on, with the No 72 Squadron number plate being transferred to the Texan II squadron at RAF Valley from October 31 under No 4 Flying Training School (FTS).

ACM Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said: "It is sad to say goodbye to the Tucano, but it has been a fantastic workhorse... The transition to the Texan represents a really important step towards being a next generation Air Force."


tUCANO Crew [Rich Cooper]
The end of an era: Two Tucano pilots share an emotional moment at the end of the platform's illustrious RAF career. Rich Cooper

Wg Cdr Robbie Lees, officer commanding No 72 Squadron, said: "The course was definitely different for us in that we knew we had a fixed-time to try and finish by," with a smaller number of pilots on BFJT 274. You can see his full video interview below.


All videos Rich Cooper, uploaded by Khalem Chapman