Published on October 29th, 2021 | by Mark Dwyer0
A Tornado Sweeps into the North
Ireland’s largest aviation museum has increased its impressive collection with the addition of a Tornado GR4 attack aircraft from the Royal Air Force.
“Its arrival a few days ago was absolutely thrilling,” said Ray Burrows, Chairman of the Ulster Aviation Society, which operates the large museum at the edge of Lisburn. “The convoy of low-loaders and lorries after its docking at Belfast Harbour was a terrific sight to see as it roared along the highways and side roads to our site.”
Specialists from the Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transport Squadron spent three days re-assembling the Tornado (ZG771) with the help of a massive crane and some assistance from UAS volunteers. The Tornado’s arrival had been delayed by 18 months due to restrictions resulting from Covid-19 lockdowns. Even so, very few GR4 versions have been delivered to museums in the UK. Its acquisition was initially progressed by the Society’s patron, RAF Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth, a native of Northern Ireland.
“We’ve now about 40 aircraft—I’m losing count as we expand—and we expect to add two more in the near future, those ones from the Irish government,” said Mr. Burrows.
Entry to the Society’s museum is free, on a pre-booked basis, via its website, www.ulsteraviationsociety.org. It’s run entirely by volunteers from within the 600 members of the Society, a Northern Ireland registered charity. It’s also on Facebook, where a link will direct visitors to a three-minute news feature of the Tornado’s arrival and assembly.