Harrier: The Vertical Reality (Documentary 1996)

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Charts the development of the harrier from its creation all the way to the GR9, whilst following a squadron at RAF Wittering. Includes excellent HUD footage of low level flight in a GR7, as well as a look at the fly by wire prototype harrier.

Also included post credits is a short video of a simulated harrier bombing raid at an airshow and a clip of actor David Jason talking about flying in the harrier.

Autos & Vehicles

Published on


Oct 12, 2017




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Comments 146
MacZanin 4 years ago
Tons of real footage, very well organised and highly informative. It's hard to find a documentary with such quality these days. Thanks for uploading it!
USMC03-1408 3 years ago
I took the USS Boxer home from Iraq back in 03 and they had the AV8’s do some touch and go’s on the flight deck..... it was awesome. Absolutely loud, but awesome.
Christopher Mais
Christopher Mais 3 years ago
Best airplane ever for this purpose. Such a pity that the Government quit while they could have done so much more for British Aerospace industry.
Trance State
Trance State 3 years ago
What a beautiful piece of engineering
Jo O'
Jo O' 3 years ago
One of my favorite fighters, after the F14 Tomcat.
John Cliff
John Cliff 3 years ago
A great honer being given the job of marshalling a RAF Harrier into his hide, out in the field. My Boss who was a brigade forward air controller was talking to some senior RAF officers when they suddenly realised that they had an incoming Harrier and no one to marshal it in. So the call came "Corporal Cliff would you op over and marshal this incoming aircraft into it's hide". Like Jack Flash I was over to the landing area and seeing the A/C down and into the hide. Not bad for a Army Forward Air Control Operator NCO who at the most only marshalled helicopters into place. I did say thank you to my Boss When we were on our own. That was the nearest that I ever got to the Harrier before leaving the army.
nitramyar 3 years ago
This has to be the best, most informative doco on the Harrier I've ever seen. The extended POV section at the end is fantastic. Best of all, no stupid techno/rock soundtrack added.
ultimo36 3 years ago
there is a bit odf that soundtrack...but it's not overly intrusive. so yea i get what you mean
woo_rsv71 3 years ago
Excellent documentary, GR1s looked so good with the classic RAF camo markings and roundels
Tommy lawton
Tommy lawton 3 years ago
such a treat to fly, it's advantages are great
David Lewis
David Lewis 2 years ago
I saw the fly by wire Harrier at RAE Bedford back when I was in RAF Cadets (summer camp, either 1988, 1989 or 1990, can't remember). It nodded at us when we were in the control tower and it was testing on the runway. Later on we saw it in a hangar, which made a nice change from Canberra after Canberra after Canberra after....
david watson
david watson 3 years ago
Best time of my life was in Belize with the harriers, managed to wangle 2 tours back to back.
FAT CAT Performance
This really got me excited for the DCS Harrier! Thank you :)
MaverickM1 3 years ago
One of the best modules. Still plenty stuffs to learn after many fligh hours.
Peter Julien
Peter Julien 3 years ago
FAT CAT Performance vtolpnmp⅝6789ch7urch.
Jacobruxo 4 years ago
What a nice documentary! Fascinating!
Joséalse 4 years ago
Amazing documentary, thanks for sharing,Greetings from Gijón , Spain.
holcroft1969 Year ago
Just beautiful, I've just ordered a 1/32 model harrier GR.1 off of Ebay to cure my Lockdown boredom and now I can't wait.
Sukhoi SU-24 Fencer
These jets can fly at sub sonic speed.
only me
only me 7 months ago
This was a cool jet for its time
Bryan D
Bryan D 3 years ago
awesome video. I wish we could get this in 1080.
Jeremy Boney
Jeremy Boney 4 years ago
I had no idea they would camouflage these things in light woods for quick reaction. DCS AV8 here I come
Gus Gone
Gus Gone 4 years ago
Superb invention.
MrJingles75 4 years ago
good doc for a great machine.
chuck fults
chuck fults 3 years ago
I have to admit that the British got it right with the Harrier AND the steam catapult and steel decks on their aircraft carriers just sayin.
a scott
a scott 3 years ago
what UK used to be like before the EU, full of innovation, ambition and courage.
Edward Holmes
Edward Holmes 3 years ago
Sadly no mention of the development. As a lad, i am now 75, i used to lie on a track in a place called The Misk Hills (between Bulwell and Hucknall Nottinghamshire) and watch the Vulcans landing, also the testing of the, so called, "Flying Bedstead" being tested at Hucknall Airfield. Although it was a good distance to look It seemed at times quit erratic and prone to tilting or even tipping over, there was a pub built and named the Flying Bedstead for many years, sadly now demolished.
Colder War
Colder War 2 years ago
Eyup mi duck...
Franny Darko
Franny Darko 3 years ago
The yanks designed this and licenced it to us didn't they that's what the yanks are saying???
Peter Julien
Peter Julien 3 years ago
Edward Holmes ironpnmct78.churchlorft.
Henry Wardell
Henry Wardell 2 years ago
Harrier , Warrior 4 Freedom.
OttoVonSkidmarck 2 years ago
Awesome chairs. My Nan would approve 😂 Do Spain Spain still operate harriers?
Ben 3 years ago
40:19 GC still in the air? So good. Love the poms (im ex RAAF).
Dylan Persaud
Dylan Persaud 3 years ago
My all time favorite killstreak
John Brown
John Brown 4 years ago
one off he best aircraft and yet gov sold us out
MrBubbleJet 3 years ago
Looks like, UK is leaded by monty phyton. Otherwise you can not explain things like selling the best VTOL aircraft, decommission small handy aircraft carriers but then order and build bigger ones that can't be paid and have no valueable planes to operate and finally leave the EU. This beats every monty phyton sketch ever thinkable.
Neil Dahlgaard-Sigsworth
Gypsy 122 no, the ones that were in service when HMG took then out of service were around 20 years old, the Sea Harriers were closer to 35 years old.
Joe Wilson
Joe Wilson 4 years ago
Realistically they bought superior aircraft to serve alongside and then replace outdated aircraft, remember the Harrier is almost 50 years old and the tornado almost 30.
Ivor Hardy
Ivor Hardy Year ago
That hangar became the Top Gear studio.
cliff bird
cliff bird 4 years ago
viffing was 1st done during the falklands war by royal navy and RAF pilots in 1982. the US marines didnt want the harrier till they saw how good it was in a real combat situation. But when the marines wanted it they were told no as it wasnt an american plane. So mcdonald douglas bought the rights to make it in the USA so the marines could have them. At 1st every laughed at the harrier cause it was sub sonic. then when they saw it in action during the falklands war loads of orders came in for it. Hawker have a very long history of making very good planes dating back to WWI. The eurofighter is the latest plane designed by the hawker team. Even though hawker is now part of british aerospace like supermarine, vickers and all the other brit plane makers they all still have their own design teams within british aerospace. The hawker hart from WWI was developed into the Fury which in turn was developed into the hurricane then tempest and typhoon then into the hunter now the eurofighter which is basicly a hurricane updated. Thats how hawker work. they designed their 1st plane then just developed it as time went past to improve it as new tech came along. with the fury all they did was take the top wing off lowered and made the bottom wing bigger put the merlin engine in to replace the older engine a few changes in the fusalage so the merlin would fit and its done. The hurricane used during the battle of britain was a mix of new builds and fury convertions. The hawker fury even though it was a biplane was used during the battle of britain while awaiting conversion to hurricanes. the fury,s proved better than the spits in dogfights even though they were very slow compared to the latest fighters. Thats the mistake most make when making planes now. they think speed is better than manouvrability. but the huricane and fury proved that speed doesnt really help in a dogfight. the harrier also proved that speed is not much good in dogfights where ur within visual range of the enemy. then its who can turn fastest not speed that counts.
AA 3 months ago
"viffing was 1st done during the falklands war by royal navy and RAF pilots in 1982."(sic) Incorrect. VIFFing was first performed during a test flight by then Captain Harry Blot USMC in 1970. Blot's testing resulted in changes being made to the Pegasus - strengthened nozzles, a stouter nozzle drive motor and the ability to redline the engine for 2 1/2 minutes. From the get go Marine Harriers were armed with AIM-9s, not so with the Brits. Blot felt that the maneuver could be used in air to air engagements since the Harrier had poor turning performance due to the short wings. VIFFing became part of the Marine Corps Harrier syllabus. Anyone who has experienced or witnessed VIFFing understands what actually happens - the aircraft rapidly decelerates and the nose pitches down. You don't stop in midair and watch the enemy fly past. ru-vid.com/video/video-8UE9i82Kc_Y.html "the US marines didnt want the harrier till they saw how good it was in a real combat situation."(sic) Wrong again, cliff. In fact Marine pilots had flown the Kestrel even operating one off of USS Raleigh in 1966. "But when the marines wanted it they were told no as it wasnt an american plane."(sic) The Marine Corps got a lot of pushback from several quadrants - primarily the Navy and Congress - but a deal was made to have the aircraft built in the States and the money was then appropriated for the purchase of 110 Harriers. "So mcdonald douglas bought the rights to make it in the USA so the marines could have them."(sic) Hawker Siddeley licensed the Harrier to McDonnell Douglas so the sale would go through and Rolls licensed Pratt & Whitney to build the Pegasus. However, once the numbers were crunched in detail it turned out that the cost was going to increase to an unacceptable level as two assembly lines would have to be established in the States and that would have to be paid for. The aircraft all ended up being built in the UK, broken down and shipped as freight for final assembly in the States. "At 1st every laughed at the harrier cause it was sub sonic."(sic) Incorrect again, cliff. Plenty of subsonic tactical aircraft were in service at the same time. "then when they saw it in action during the falklands war loads of orders came in for it."(sic) Orders for the original Harrier or the still in development Harrier II? "The hawker fury even though it was a biplane was used during the battle of britain "(sic) Incorrect. All RAF Furys were out of fighter command by the end of January of 1939 prior to Germany invading Poland. "then its who can turn fastest"(sic) That wouldn't be the short winged Harrier, cliff. In the future when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging, cliff.
Everythingman 2 years ago
Wrong stupid, The A/V-8A Harrier entered service with the Marine Corps in 1971.
David Tuttle
David Tuttle 3 years ago
Actually its who can deliver ordinance or payload to the target the quickest, most accurately, and most efficiently possible that matters most.
Helium Road
Helium Road 3 years ago
cliff bird: Your facts are all wrong and your spelling and grammar are worthy of RU-vid comments.
David Tuttle
David Tuttle 3 years ago
Sidney Camm: the John Moses Browning of aircraft.
Ben 3 years ago
In the 90's in aussie, one of those exact practice bombs accidentally fell somewhere around Newcastle NSW, vaporizing the poor lady's clothes line.
overtaxed 2 years ago
1:03:06 David Jason and his van :)
Ben Jerry
Ben Jerry 4 years ago
Harrier pilots. A breed apart.
Liran P
Liran P Year ago
well they didnt had to leave in all the engine noises all the movie its whistling like a train
John Brown
John Brown 4 years ago
like the lightnings in 87,escorting a timmy into falklands.
lb8068 3 years ago
Is this meant to be in 16:9?
jpatt1000 3 years ago
He said seven air arms fly the Harrier. Beside the U.K., U.S. and Spain (as the Matador) who else flies them? I do like the look of the early GR.1/AV-8A in these colors 18:12 (before the white was removed from the markings) and before the cockpit was raised. Purest of the breed! (I also prefer the F.1 or F.2 Lightning as well!)
D-Rob 3 years ago
Italian Navy and the Thai Navy used to operate them
John Stevenson
John Stevenson 3 years ago
Indian navy Italian navy RAF USMC FAA Spanish navy not sure of the others check the Wikipedia article.
Zeb Alford
Zeb Alford 3 years ago
Same logic as the notar on the helicopters
Captain sledge
Captain sledge 3 years ago
Best way to describe the hick manuever... is ya know when your pushing a turd really hard and its giant so you flex ever muscle in your body including your core muscles? That's what you gotta do to stay awake. Do not fly.... if you have a stomach bug 😂😂😂 many a fighter pilots learn that lesson fast
TheFunkhouser 3 years ago
Guys so young!! O_O
John Brown
John Brown 4 years ago
with full weopan and fuel load,no aircraft even harrier can take off verticly
Ron Shears
Ron Shears 4 years ago
Do leave off, get a brain.
Alden Andrews
Alden Andrews 4 years ago
and all helicopters
Alden Andrews
Alden Andrews 4 years ago
Marten Trudeau
Marten Trudeau 4 years ago
The Harrier can vertically take off and land (VTOL), but the F-35 is only short take off and vertical land (STOVL), right?
David Tuttle
David Tuttle 3 years ago
@Bibostin A B demonstrated both at EAA when I was there in 2016. All F35 have vectored thrust for limited STOL capability but the F35 B can VTOL. It just burns fuel like a m***** f***** and loses payload to do it.
Bernhard Wolf
Bernhard Wolf 4 years ago
Marten Trudeau F35 B could theoretically take off vertical as it did during testing but it consumes so much fuel that it isn‘t practicable to do so as it would have to fuel up immediately when armed. Lamding is done vertically, especially on helicopter carriers of the Marines and RN carriers when they‘re hopefully combat ready… So, it could but it won‘t
Alden Andrews
Alden Andrews 4 years ago
The F35B can shoot straight up off the ground, but they usually don't because it drinks fuel too fast.
pec104 4 years ago
Calm down Adam and stop trying to make everything about your sexuality even if it is very frustrating for you. Tell your Mom it'll make things easier eventually.
Robert Ley FRAS
33 people clearly don't like hovering...
Gary Echols
Gary Echols 4 years ago
The magic of the Pegasus engine. The A models tended to turn turtle (flip over).
nofebak 4 years ago
video aspect ratio is messed up :(
DAVE WAYNE 4 years ago
Want to see a great C-130??? Check out FAT ALBERT that flys with the BLUE ANGELS.. I didn't know an aircraft could do such things.
Brother Grimaldus
Brother Grimaldus 4 years ago
I just love British camo... that blue and blue grey....
Gary Echols
Gary Echols 4 years ago
The ultimate in thrust vectoring.
Zarma4074 4 years ago
Anyone knows what the "V" are on the HUD ?
Michael Talbot
Michael Talbot 4 years ago
Zarma4074 tvat0857 it tells you they are thermal "Q"markers that point out the targets
big stace
big stace 4 years ago
PUDSEY thanks
Zarma4074 4 years ago
PUDSEY 4 years ago
Zarma4074 They're hotspot detectors. The thermal camera on the nose marks any areas that are hotter than their surroundings. In theory this can be used to find tanks, trucks, etc. that give out a strong heat signature, but as you can see it gives quite a lot of false readings.
Fred Jones
Fred Jones 3 years ago
Amazing aircraft but not a very good fighting machine..in a NATO European conflict against Russia it would have performed very badly..in NATO exercises it spent an inordinate amount in maintenance because of equipment failure.. its success in the Falklands was down the latest mark of the sidewinder missile being released to them by the states... sorry...
Fred Jones
Fred Jones 3 years ago
@ultimo36 out of the four aircraft I know which one I wouldn't have chosen to be sitting in..I believe the Yanks provided a large part of the finance for the Pegasus engine..the Buccaneer was brilliant in it's time..I was sailing off Poole many years ago when one came in from the channel..the thing must have cleared the mast by just a few hundred feet before climbing as it reached the coast.. frightened the bloody life out of us.. I'm sure the pilot did it on purpose.. brilliant..
ultimo36 3 years ago
@Fred Jones yea i know about the TSR2. one of the main tragedies of the modern era. that and the Canadian Avro Arrow also went the same way. on a sidenote...on the ground in Europe the harrier would have played a short range supplement to the Tornado and Jaguar (and to a lesser degree the Buccaneer). so for the most part it wouldn't have been so much inadequate in such a setting
Fred Jones
Fred Jones 3 years ago
@ultimo36 thanks for your reply..I like the harrier and it's a good example of what the British aircraft industry could do.. trouble is the industry was guided by a bunch of idiots mainly politicians who hadn't got a clue..you only have to consider the TSR 2 and what happened to that..have you see the one at Cosford, an amazing thing, torpedoed by the commercial interests of the bloody USA aircraft industry..Regards..
ultimo36 3 years ago
@Fred Jones i was merely stating that it was the best fighter/bomber the British had at the time for the job. and as far as the vertical take off with a full load is concerned....think about it...it was never designed to take off vertically with a full load. hence the need for the ski-ramp on the carriers. i only referred to your ego because i assumed, from your original comment, that you might be american to be honest. which i guess i have to apologise for. assumations are the mother of all fuckups :P don't take it personally
Ben Jerry
Ben Jerry 4 years ago
The early Harriers whee the prettiest.
Ron Shears
Ron Shears 4 years ago
The Brits did it again.
Rich D
Rich D 3 years ago
Invented by brits. Perfected by America
Gordon Ferrar
Gordon Ferrar 3 years ago
@Neil Dahlgaard-Sigsworth yeeeeeeeeeah how sweet of you.
Neil Dahlgaard-Sigsworth
Gordon Ferrar thank you for your incoherent ramblings.
Gordon Ferrar
Gordon Ferrar 3 years ago
@Neil Dahlgaard-Sigsworth really i would like to point you to the above goes there's clearly a rake you won't walk onto. Must be hard making friends for you.
Zdzichu S.
Zdzichu S. 3 years ago
WOW! Anybody's seen my jaw? ;-)
Ben 3 years ago
very Tom Tucker
Helium Road
Helium Road 3 years ago
Amazing how large and varied the Harrier family tree is. Kestrel, Harrier I, Harrier II, Sea Harrier, plus all the subvariants and export models. The USMC technically has had only two models, the AV-8A and the AV-8B, but the AV-8B alone has at least three variants, the basic AV-8B, the Night Attack version, and the Harrier II+ radar version, all the same basic airframe but with different nose fairings and avionics upgrades. Hard to keep track of them all. It's a shame that they're being phased out, but the Harrier has been around for half a century now, more than most tactical aircraft can boast. The Harrier II is truly a beautiful machine, clean lines, bubble canopy, smoother intakes, love it.
AA 3 months ago
"The USMC technically has had only two models, the AV-8A and the AV-8B,"(sic) You forgot the AV-8C.
John Brown
John Brown 4 years ago
tornado in action again
John Brown
John Brown 4 years ago
thats usual ,for any gov,in uk
Chris935 3 years ago
41:20 AIM-9 11?
PUDSEY 3 years ago
Motorman2112 I have a feeling the narrator misread "AIM-9L" as "AIM-911". That or 911 is some obscure way of saying it is variant number 11? I've never seen it described that way though.
F16crewchief1 4 years ago
hot air dosn't squirt upward! :/
Phil Hutchison
Phil Hutchison 4 years ago
It certainly does.... having personally carried out pressure tests on the harrier the reaction control system, it does "squirt upward" and down in roll ........ In addition to the vectoring engine nozzles, the Harrier also requires a method of controlling its attitude during jet-borne flight, when the normal aerodynamic surfaces are ineffective. To this end, a system of reaction control nozzles in the nose (blowing down), wingtips (blowing up and down) and tail (down and lateral blowing) are fitted to the aircraft.
Nothing Here
Nothing Here 4 years ago
it will under that circumstance because of the pressure.
J R Deckard
J R Deckard 3 years ago
3:50 I had to stop watching when he said, "Leever" instead of lever.
rockn rolla
rockn rolla 3 years ago
Stopped watching and read a dictionary?
ultimo36 3 years ago
lol if that puts you off you have no hope. it's how the word is pronounced in proper English, mate :P
Michael Talbot
Michael Talbot 4 years ago
Zzzzzit may have been the best ADF in Europe at the time but it didn't stop the shortnsighted government cutting it at the time!
conantdog 3 years ago
Definitely another Great British invention a beautiful design and buy todays standards a simple design. No one has done better. The F-35 is the most expensive design failure in mil history. And any thinking otherwise is just magical thinking of Empire and it's sheeple.
AA 3 months ago
Another "keyboard expert" has graced the world with its emoting.
Lucas Tekkan
Lucas Tekkan Year ago
well, then, you must be quite the engineer to make such an assumption eh ?
Ivanrey visitacion
Ivanrey visitacion 4 years ago
Ben 3 years ago
sorry for the spam, those rear speed-brakes must get smashed often no?
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