18 FEBRUARY 2019

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Article from BTNews 18 FEBRUARY 2019

AND FINALLY: Mother Reilly’s Cardboard Aircraft

The retirement from the Royal Air Force of the Panavia Tornado has reminded the BTN editorial team that when the aircraft was conceived during the early 1970s it was called the Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA).

It did not take long for some wag in the RAF to give it a nickname: “Mother Reilly’s Cardboard Aircraft”.

This was a far better title than that given to the Lockheed Starfighter ("Flying Coffin") or another Lockheed enterprise, the C5 Galaxy, called FRED by those close to the project for “Fantastic Ridiculous Economic Disaster”. 

“Jump Jet” for the Hawker Harrier was perhaps the finest aviation nickname of all time, as it said what it did. The Douglas C47 (Dakota), mentioned in this issue, attracted for some unknown reason the title “Gooney Bird”. 

Other contributions (see below) might be published.

The aircraft still flies on with the German, Italian and Royal Saudi Air Forces.

Well done Tornado and all those who built, supported and flew her!

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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum


Phil Smith, Maidenhead UK

The A320 was for some reason known as the Strimmer.


Phil Smith, Maidenhead UK

The A320 was for some reason known as the Strimmer.


Henk Heiden, Netherlands

At a certain period Concorde had also given the nickname "White Elephant". And that in the context of "Being "a possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of."


Tony Hesketh-Gardener, England

Army friends in the MoD said that MRCA stood for Military Requirements Come Afterwards.


Paul Kay, London

.....or 'The Airbus A380'...'White Elephant'...


Kevin Morris, Farnborough

Yes, I’ve heard it called that, but also – “Must Refurbish Canberra Again”, which I think is a bit more telling...


David Trembaczowski-Ryder, Brussels

You could add the B52 aka BUFF Big Ugly Flying F...... Or the Buccaneer aka "the Banana Jet"


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