Low-Level Photography Reports   

Low-Level Flying
Taking it home

Tornado GR.4 parts on display
With the regular scrapping of the Panavia Tornado fleet at RAF Leeming to reclaim parts to keep the rest of the dwindling fleet flying there has now become a surplus. Tornado parts have become available in lots for auction followed by eBay sales of individual parts.

I was contacted by Dave Malcolm an airline pilot based in Dubai who had acquired an intake from a Tornado GR.4 and turned it in to a bar with help of a skilled carpenter. He wanted images of 'his' aircraft in flight. Intrigued, I was glad to help out, asking for images and details of his particular project.

Another friend bought a black panel which reads; 'Fragile Keep Off' which is made of flexible plastic and is found behind the cockpit. Then I saw five front cockpit windscreen of Tornado GR.4s on sale. Each was identified with the aircraft's serial. Looking each up I decided that I had the best image of ZG791 and so made an offer for that particular front cockpit. It is hard to explain why I bought it, is was not cheap and was 160 miles away, I just had to have it. Only just fitting in my car it took two men to load it in. Having just converted my loft to my new office following my retirement, that where it had to go. I don't know how my son Richard and I wrestled it up the two flights of stairs, but we did.
The windscreen of Tornado GR.4 ZD790 with an image of it when low flying through the Mach' Loop
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZG791 '137') one of the last built by BAE Sytems flying through the Mach' Loop in 2015. My office.

Tornado GR.4 (ZD709)
Writing in January 2018 Dave Malcolm said, I have recently completed a project at home turning her starboard intake into a bar. The rest of the airframe went to RTP at Leeming and was scrapped. My project which has taken me around nine months to complete in between a very busy roster flying B777s for Emirates here in Dubai.

I always fancied building my own bar and wanted to use an aircraft part as its core. The intake of the Jaguar although arguably a better shape I thought would be too small and very hard to come by now. Still have a few mates from the air force left that flew Tornados, from speaking to them, they agreed it would probably work.

After a lot of head scratching, some drawing, very substandard welding, which was made to look good with a grinder! Finished a frame big enough to hold it and a fridge, found a carpenter to do the woodwork and the rest is history. The bar will stay with us now wherever we go.
The starboard intake from Tornado GR.4 ZD709 with images of it on the wall when low flying
Left to right: Tornado GR.4 (ZD709) low flying in the Lake District in 2006 and 2014.
The starboard intake from Tornado GR.4 ZD709 in airline pilot Dave Malcolm at his home in Dubai.