Dominie – the flying classroom retires

The word Dominie comes from Latin dominē, vocative case of dominus lord meaning a cleric or a schoolmaster (apparently depending on whether you are a Scot or not).

Anyway I digress. I would like, Dear Reader, to take you back to 1965. For it was then that the venerable Hawker Siddley Dominie, a variant of the HS 125 executive jet, came into service with the RAF. Some 46 years later, in January 2011, it goes out of service. So I thought I would trawl the archives and search out pictures of the beast (and a couple of long departed sister aircraft).

The last visit to RIAT

Used to train weapon systems officers and operators, air engineers and air loadmasters in systems management, air leadership, decision making and teamwork to meet the operational demands of the RAF (so the RAF website says), the aircraft is equally at home cruising the airways of Europe or sweeping through the Welsh Valleys. It was updated in 1996 with a modern avionics suite and cabin layout to create the T.2 variant, more suited to the modern training requirement. It was the second RAF Aircraft to carry the Dominie name, the first was the military version of the deHavilland Dragon Rapide.

The earliest shot I have in my collection. This is XS729 departing RAF Fairford in July 91. Not the first time I saw a Dominie, but the first time I managed to capture one on film.

This shows XS711 undergoing deep servicing at RAF StAthan in Wales. As part of the process it has been stripped back to bare metal for repainting

Seen at RAF Coningsby, this is XS712 during February 1995. Just a short distance from its base at RAF Cranwell.

As part of the upgrade, the decision was taken to paint the aircraft black in line with the rest of the RAF training fleet. The colours were slightly amended to add areas of white on top of the cabin and wings to aid visibility at low level and cooling in hot weather. This is XS739 departing the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.

After their retirement from flying, some of the aircraft were used to train the next generation of aircraft engineers. XS734 was at RAF Cosford in July of 1998 in use as a classroom tool for the students to learn on.

Also at Cosford, this time in 2003 we see XS726 in use as a maintenance trainer.

Back to July 1998, XS737 was at RAF Fairford for RIAT (most of my Dominie shots are from here in case you havent noticed)

Finally at RAF Fairford in 2004, we have XS736 departing for home

Finally a couple of shots of sister aircraft to the Dominie

HS.125 series 1B XW930 of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Bedford seen in the Static park at RAF Fairford for the International Air Tattoo on 1985.

A dull grey colour scheme was never the way to paint the HS.125! This time XW790 one of the early Mark CC.1 models of 32Sqn RAF from RAF Northolt, seen at RAF Fairford again for the International Air Tattoo this time in 1993.

I dont think 46 years service is bad for a military aircraft, but in the case of the Dominie it was retired early like so many RAF aircraft. But in this case the Air Force has value for money from its investment. It will be out of service by the end of January 2011.

Gone but definitely not forgotten.


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