[History of the JP1] [Known survivors]

The Jet Provost family evolved from a time when the RAF was still using piston-engined aircraft in its training syllabus as jet fighter technology was rapidly becoming commonplace.
The Royal Air Force realised that performance, continuity and economy could be improved if its training programmes used jet powered aircraft throughout the entire course.
A requirement for a new dedicated training aircraft was subsequently drawn up by the Air Ministry and issued to all UK aircraft manufacturers.

The Hunting Percival Aircraft Company based at Luton, then manufacturers of the current RAF basic training aircraft, the Piston Provost, felt that it could fulfil all the requirements specified, with an inexpensive two-seat (side-by-side) jet-powered version of its successful Provost piston engine aircraft. However, when the aircraft eventually made the transition from the drawing board onto the production line, the Jet Provost shared few features with its older sister. Amongst the changes made were; the inclusion of the Armstrong Siddeley Viper jet engine capable of producing over 1200 lbs of thrust, replacing the venerable Alvis Leonides engine of the Piston Provost, and the fitting of a retractable undercarriage which also included a nose-wheel. Percival built one example which was used purely for structural tests throughout the development stages, giving the designers valuable research into what could be achieved with this airframe.

On 26th June 1954 the first prototype aircraft (XD674) made its first flight, powered by the Armstrong Siddeley Viper 5 engine and flown by Dick Wheldon. An intensive period of test flights followed A&AEE Boscombe Down, and it soon caught the eye of the RAF with its side by side layout and superb handling qualities. This was enough for the Air Ministry to purchase the initial batch of nine airframes built by Hunting. The first production aircraft, XD675 was flown on 19th February 1955, and following development flying at Luton, it was delivered to Boscombe Down to join XD674. This aircraft was later flown to Hawker-Siddeley for Viper development flying, remaining in service until November 1956. Three further production examples, XD676-678 were also sent to Boscombe for development flying.

Part A of the Jet Provost T.1 service trials began at the Central Flying School at RAF Little Rissington in July 1955.
Three aircraft were used, flying 111 hours to investigate the behaviour of this new unfamiliar basic trainer.
They were also used to formulate a possible training syllabus and to train up 10 potential instructors.

Part B of the service trials took place at RAF 2 Flying Training School (2FTS) based at RAF Hullavington.
The Jet Provosts arrived from Little Rissington in August 1955, and the first course consisting of 18 students began immediately.
This was run alongside the Unit's exiting fleet of Piston Provosts. By the end of 1955 six further Mk.1 JPs had arrived at Hullavington and were put into service. Over the following months the JP, as it went on to be known, provided a clear demonstration that new trainee pilots had few problems in completing their initial training on a jet as opposed to a piston aircraft.
Perhaps of greater significance was that trainee pilots on the Jet Provost took less time to fly solo than that of the Piston Provost.
By the end of the trials the aircraft had flown over 2,200 hours.

The aircraft continued to impress during two further courses.
As a result of the success of the trials, 'JP' jet pilot training was to became standard throughout the RAF, becoming the first Air Force to achieve this worldwide. A large order soon followed for an improved version of the aircraft in June 1957, designated the Jet Provost T.3 and based on the interim Mk.2 variant
The surviving Mk.1s were then returned to Little Rissington in November 1957 where they ended their RAF flying careers.

Although the Jet Provost T.1's service life in the RAF was short, lasting only a few years, it made a big impression with the Royal Air Force.
Only 12 T.1s were built, 10 for the RAF registered (XD674-80 and XD692-4), with the remaining two being retained by Percival, one as mentioned above was used for structural tests, the other was used as a company demonstrator and registered G-AOBU on the British civilian aircraft register.

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