the Harrier Jump Jet

The Harrier Jump Jet is the worlds only vertical take off and landing jet fighter. It was developed by the British in an era of financial cutbacks which saw the end of the large Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers. It can use airfields on land or fly from smaller aircraft carriers at sea and is flown by the best US and British pilots. It combines the best aspects of a helicopter with those of a fighter jet. For example, the world speed record for a helicopter is 249 mph (Linx helicopter) whilst the Harrier can fly at 730 mph.


The Harriers most famous feature is its vertical take off and landing capability. Although the Harrier has one jet engine (The Pegasus) it has four nozzles that direct the jet engine thrust downwards for vertical lift. (Diagram 1)

Once airborne the nozzles are slowly revolved so that the plane moves forward. (Diagram 2)

Vertical take off and landing uses an enormous amount of skill on the part of the pilot and also a large amount of fuel. The Harrier can only hover for 90 seconds, in this time it uses 150 gallons of water to keep the engine cool.

To save fuel a simple ramp allows the plane to take off on a very short runway. This is used by the Royal Navy Carriers. The planes appear to hop into the air.


Vents at the ends of each wing can be used to direct some of the thrust and this allows the pilot to move the plane left, right, forwards and backwards - whilst hovering