JUL 02nd 2014

Midair Squadron Hawker Hunter claims fastest run at the Festival of Speed

Sebastien Loeb nailed a 44.6sec lap to clinch the ‘Fastest at FoS’ title with the Pikes Peak Peugeot 208 T16 at the weekend. Fastest on the ground, that is.

The little beauty pictured above is the Midair Squadron Hawker Hunter XL577 which – as part of it’s Festival of Speed display on Sunday – set a new Goodwood record: 9.98secs to fly the hillclimb route in front of the house.

As the first and only attempt of this kind, the Hunter, piloted by Squadron Leader Dave Piper (retired) reached a top speed 361 knots (415 mph), as he weaved his way to the top of the course. The driven record is held by Nick Heidfeld in a time of 41.6 seconds set in 1999 in a McLaren MP4-13-Mercedes Benz with an average speed of 104 mph, meaning the Midair Squadron’s time shaved 32 seconds off Heidfeld’s time – although we think the jet’s route might have taken out a few straw bales at Molecomb if flown at ground level, so there might still be a stewards enquiry…

“It was an opportunity we couldn’t resist,” says Midair Squadron leader Mike Davis. “After setting the world air speed record in 1953, the Hunter has continued to be acknowledged as one of the fastest and most agile fighter jets ever built. This new way of timing the Goodwood Hill Climb brings a whole new dimension to the Festival of Speed and we look forward to a challenge in 2015; regardless of any future outcome, this is a wonderful tribute to British engineering.”

While it was fabulous to see the aircraft flying at FoS, you can still see Hunter in the metal at Goodwood. There’s another Midair Squadron Hunter (‘George’) on static display outside the Aero Cafe here at the circuit until Revival in September  – so why not pop over for a cup of tea and an ogle?

Image: Phil Walley/Av Pics

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