Test pilot Nat puts Eurofighter jet through its paces

Nat Makepeace, Typhoon pilot from Warton
Nat Makepeace, Typhoon pilot from Warton
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It is the most advanced swing-role combat jet in the world and flown by six air forces.

But when the latest upgrades are added to the multi--million pound Eurofighter Typhoon, the first man the experts turn to is Lancashire-based test pilot Nat Makepeace.

Typhoon P2E flying at Warton

Typhoon P2E flying at Warton

Former RAF flyer Nat is BAE Systems’ test pilot based at Warton, where the Typhoon is built.

BAE Systems have rolled out a new enhancement package designed to keep the Eurofighter Typhoon ahead of the game.

And just days ago, Nat became the first to fly the Typhoon test aircraft IPA6, equipped with the first load of Phase 2 Enhancements software.

He took to the skies above Warton to put the Typhoon through its paces. The latest P2E enhancements include integration of a new air-to-air missile, a cruise missile and additional avionics upgrades.

Some of the improvements here, to me as a pilot, which involves how I play with the hands-on stick and throttle are incorporated as a direct result of feedback from the front-line air forces.

Nat Makepeace

Nat, who made his first flight from Blackpool Airport in 1985 as an air cadet and lives in Lancashire, said: “The first flight in itself is probably the most insignificant in terms of the amount of work - but actually the most important because it is a final bit of those many years of work.

“It is the start of a very busy campaign of flight trials and flight testing clearance to get this product released to the customer. This is really adding a lot of significant improvements, some of which have come from industry and some, more importantly, have come direct from the customer.

“Some of the improvements here, to me as a pilot, which involves how I play with the hands-on stick and throttle are incorporated as a direct result of feedback from the front-line air forces.”

Andy Flynn, Head of Capability and Delivery for Typhoon at BAE Systems said: “The test flight was a really exciting day for the team involved, getting the product off the ground and knowing that the work we’re currently doing on Typhoon is truly transformational.”

Typhoon is already flown by air forces in the Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK, the four nations behind the Eurofighter consortium which builds the jet, as well as export customers, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Austria.

Aircraft which will go in to service with the Royal Air Force of Oman are currently being built by the consortium in Lancashire