'It Will Be An Emotional Goodbye', Tornado Pilot Says

The jet will leave at the end of March, after 40 years of service in the RAF.

(Picture courtesy MOD).

The last ever pilot to be trained to operate the Tornado says it will be emotional to see the aircraft retire this year.

The jet will leave at the end of March, after 40 years of service in the RAF.

Flight Lieutenant Nathan Shawyer, has flown Tornados into Syria and Iraq in the fight against Islamic State in his two years with 31 Squadron:

"I'm the last ever Tornado pilot to be trained by the RAF,

"After everything that's come before, it's quite a thrill, quite an honour."

Speaking at RAF Marham in Norfolk, where the Tornado is based, he said: "It's an absolutely awesome machine to fly.

"It's very mechanical, it's clearly very aged now compared with a lot of the modern jets we have these days but I absolutely love it.

"It's best suited at low level, it's very stable at low level and that's where it really enjoys itself."

"A lot of people have invested a lot of time into the Tornado,

"It's given us 37 years of fantastic service and been all over the world and done a lot of things for the United Kingdom."

He added that the Tornado will be remembered as the "workhorse" of the RAF.

Tornado GR4 from RAF Marham conducting a low-level training sortie in Wales
(Picture courtesy MOD).

Commemorations have already begun, with three Tornados specially painted with squadron artwork and around 150 plane enthusiasts invited to RAF Marham to see Tornados up close.

RAF Marham Station Commander Group Captain Ian 'Cab' Townsend said there will be a "finale flypast" around the UK to commemorate places that have contributed to the Tornado over the years.

There will also be a single sortie over the disbandment parade at RAF Marham on March 14.

The Tornados capabilities will be transferred to the Typhoon.