VERTICAL LEAP - VAAC Harrier

It might seem a huge step from 1969-vintage Harrier to 21st-century Lightning II, but one very historic aircraft links them. The unmistakable Vectored-Thrust Aircraft Advanced Flight Control, or VAAC, testbed — the world’s oldest two-seat Harrier — was instrumental in resolving divisive arguments on the choice of flight and propulsion control for the F-35B

Lt Chris Götke goes vertical in the VAAC Harrier on a March 2007 sortie from Boscombe Down. JAMIE HUNTEROPPOSITE PAGE: Lt Chris Götke goes vertical in the VAAC Harrier on a March 2007 sortie from Boscombe Down. JAMIE HUNTER

When UK-based technology and evaluation group QinetiQ retired the VAAC Harrier in November 2008, it brought to a close the distinguished and varied career of an aircraft that had been dedicated to pushing the boundaries for almost four decades.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view. You can also access it if you’re subscribed to one of our Key Publishing magazines.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Why not join our community of aviation enthusiasts? Pick one of our introductory offers and access a wealth of world-class aviation content.