Day 4 (part 1) of our Portrush aircraft profile is the RAF Grob Tutor which I believe is making its debut at Airwaves Portrush this year.
The Grob 115E, known by the RAF as the Tutor, is used for Elementary Flying Training by the 14 University Air Squadrons and 12 Air Experience Flights throughout the UK. It is also used by the Central Flying School and for elementary WSO training at the RAF College Cranwell
All of the Tutors in RAF service are entered on the UK Civil Aircraft Register and are provided by VT Group. The Tutor is constructed mainly from carbon fibre reinforced plastic, which combines high strength with light weight. Like its predecessor, the Bulldog, the Tutor has side-by-side seating but, unlike the Bulldog, the primary flight instruments are on the right-hand side of the cockpit.
This allows the student to fly the aircraft from the right-hand seat with a right-hand stick and a left-hand throttle so that future transition to fast-jet aircraft is made easier. Unpressurised, and powered by a Textron-Lycoming 180hp piston engine driving a Hoffman three-bladed, constant-speed propeller, the Tutor can cruise at 130kts at sea level and climb to 5,000ft in seven minutes. The aircraft has a very clean airframe and has a three-minute inverted- flight time limit, making it ideal for aerobatics where, unlike previous RAF light aircraft, it loses little or no height during a full aerobatic sequence.
The aircraft has a very modern instrument and avionics suite, including a Differential Global Positioning System, which, apart from giving excellent navigational information, can also be used to generate a simulated Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach for training use at airfields where ILS ground equipment is not fitted for the runway in use. The Tutor is a cost-effective, modern elementary training aircraft. The combination of docile handling characteristics and good performance make it very suitable for its training role.
The 2015 RAF Tutor Display Pilot is Flight Lieutenant Andy Preece. Andy joined the RAF in 1991 initially as a Navigator and was posted to the Tornado GR1. Following a successful operational and weapons conversion, he served in Germany at RAF Brüggen with No. 17(F) Squadron. His next tour was as an instructor at RAF Cottesmore where he taught Italian and German Pilots and Navigators, as well as RAF students. During his time on the Tornado, Andy flew numerous missions over Iraq as part of Operations Jural, Warden and Bolton.
Andy then retrained as a pilot. He has flown the Tornado GR1, Hawk, Tucano, Harrier GR7/T10, Dominie and the Grob Tutor. Andy is a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) and a Qualified Pilot Navigator Instructor (QPNI). He was the RAF Tutor display pilot in 2007, 2008 and 2014. Andy has over 4000 hrs on 12 different aircraft types. In his spare time Andy enjoys hill walking, cycling and photography.
Time permitting we will have another aircraft profile tonight. Information from RAF Website and Photograph from Wikipedia.