QintetiQ retires Gazelles

One of QinetiQ’s unique blue and white Gazelle HT3s, ZB625, operating over the Salisbury Plain Training Area.
lan Harding

The Empire Test Pilots School and QinetiQ, based at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, moved a step closer to an entirely civilian-registered fleet on December 18–19, 2018, when a number of their military aircraft were withdrawn from use.

These comprised Gazelle AH1s XX449 and XX453, and Gazelle HT3s XZ939 and ZB625 on December 18 and single Hawk T1 XX154 on December 19. The withdrawals were marked by low-key formation tours of the surrounding area by each type.

QinetiQ’s future fleet, comprising Pilatus PC-21s (2), Grob 120TP-As (2), Airbus H125s (4), Agusta A109Es (2), Avro 146 RJ70s (2) and single Diamond DA42, now operates under the QinetiQ Civil Flying Organisation (QCFO), which was established in November 2017. QCFO enables QinetiQ to operate civil registered aircraft independently of other organisations. Ian Harding