For the Royal Air Force, 2019 sees the retirement of two very different but equally important aircraft types. The Tornado GR4 bowed out in March, while the Shorts Tucano T1 is now into its last months of operation. To mark the withdrawal of the turboprop trainer in October, No 72 Squadron has applied ‘retirement’ badges to Tucano T1 serial ZF448.
For a number of reasons, No 72 Squadron – based at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire – was unable to prepare a Tucano special paint scheme for the 2019 display season. However, the squadron wished to mark the forthcoming retirement of the type with some kind of scheme and ZF448 recently emerged from the Linton-on-Ouse paint shop wearing squadron badges of the units associated with the Tucano during its 32 years of RAF service.
Applied just behind the canopy are the badges of Nos 72, 207 and 76 Squadrons – which all flew Tucanos with No 1 Flying Training School (FTS) at Linton, and those of No 3 FTS at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire, and No 7 FTS based at RAF Church Fenton, North Yorkshire, which also flew the aircraft during its service. Also included is the badge of the Central Flying School, which introduced the Tucano to service while based at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire.
One notable ‘missing’ badge is that of the Empire Test Pilots’ School, which for many years flew a pair of Tucanos from its facility at MOD Boscombe Down, Wiltshire. Derek Bower
Look out for full coverage of the RAF Tucano retirement in the forthcoming October and November issues of AFM.