Created in partnership with the Panavia Tornado Preservation Group (PTPG), Icarus Originals has designed a truly unique aviation cord bracelet featuring a stylised Tornado secured upon a ZA326 ‘raspberry ripple’ paracord strap.
True to our form, this piece of jewellery holds a much greater piece of history. This striking design is made from the genuine airframe aluminum recovered from ZA326 during her renovation by the PTPG, and is “the perfect high-flying accessory” for those aviation enthusiasts out there. It is truly a bespoke and unique product that will double up as the perfect sentimental or military gift for both men and women!
The history of the ZA326
What is the Panavia Tornado?
The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing multirole combat aircraft, jointly developed and manufactured by Italy, the United Kingdom, and West Germany.
This aircraft has had a significant impact in a range of modern wars, most notably the gulf war 1991; where its role was integral in conducting many low-altitude penetrating strike missions.
On March 14th, 2019, we said goodbye to the last official flight by the Tornado in British service.
The Royal Air force has marked the end of an era and formally retired the very last of the Panavia Tornado combat jets. After 40 incredible years in service, this aircraft is giving way to the next generation of aviation models – but its memory as a pivotal part of British air combat capabilities lives on, through the medium of education, preservation, and now as a special and sentimental gift.
About the Panavia Tornado Preservation Group
The Panavia Tornado Preservation Group is the only organisation in the world dedicated to preserving the Panavia Tornado. This charity comprises volunteers who are product owners of a unique Tornado GR.1P aircraft.
Their work involves two main areas: education and preservation. Their goal is to save as much of the Tornado story as possible, to educate future generations about its magnificence for them to ultimately enjoy. The PTPG all maintain a genuine passion for STEM education, utilising this aircraft to inspire the next engineers and aviators of the future. Their work is particularly close to our hearts here at Icarus Originals, with both Alan and John’s engineering background and ties to the aviation industry.
Tornado GR1 ZA326 Bracelet
This modern take on the bracelet which is designed to fit on every size of wrist, is the perfect accompaniment to any aviators watch.
Do: Go for bespoke cufflinks. If you have a selection of non standout and sentimental pieces, you’ll end up with an extensive range of simple cufflinks that cannot be differentiated amongst themselves. Clean and basic is fine for casual attire, but statement pieces that are long-lasted can give any outfit a refined look and truly reflect your personality.
Don’t: Purchase ‘standard’ cufflinks. Whilst keeping it simple is desirable with many accessories, purchasing basic cufflinks can be counterintuitive as you’ll often forget about their existence and leave them in their box overtime. Instead, a dazzling and bespoke cufflink can transform an outfit, whilst still being simple enough to wear with a range of outfits! You’ll find that something custom made and truly unique to yourself will have more use and purpose than a basic cufflink.
Do: Gift cufflinks to your loved ones. A well-designed, good quality pair of cufflinks make a unique and precious gift to someone close to you.
Don’t: Wear odd cufflinks, unless you’re trying to portray the image that you got ready in the dark. Given that cufflinks are usually synonymous with more sophisticated events, the mismatch is most probably a look you would want to avoid!
Do: Who said men can’t accessorize? Now more than ever men are incorporating a range of accessories to their wardrobe – often perceived as the ultimate ‘street style look’. Pair your cufflinks with accessories that will tone well together to complete an outfit. Matching materials or designs is always favourable, such as a pendant or a bracelet.
Don’t: Own one pair of cufflinks! Cufflinks are a statement piece. Owning just one pair can feel repetitive. A selection of cufflinks will give your wardrobe the diversity that you need when going to a variety of events. Consider what you will need your cufflinks for, is it a corporate job interview or alternatively a wedding. Contrary to previous misconceptions, these social events require versatility in your selection of cufflinks!
Protip: Simple and sophisticated is admirable for a job interview – a silver stud is a reliable accessory. Pair this with a black suit and you will certainly look the part.
Do: Consider the colours and materials of your outfit to match your cufflinks to. Too many times we see individuals select some fanciful cufflinks with an array of colours or materials that clash with their outfits. In our opinion, for the material, less is more.
At Icarus Originals, we have an extensive range of custom-made cufflinks that are the perfect ‘one of a kind gift’. Each piece is made, handcrafted and finished here in the UK made using aluminium reclaimed from the fuselage of some of the worlds most iconic aviation, locomotive and automotive designs.
Take our 1961 Jaguar E-Type Cufflinks for example. These jaguar cufflinks have been cast from Britain’s most celebrated cars; the E-Type, creating a sentimental gift that carries with it immense history. Or alternatively, our range of aviation cufflinks, such as the 747-400 B-Hop cufflinks, cast from the metal of the fastest commercial airliner to grace the skies. These sentimental and bespoke pieces intertwine intricate detail and simplistic material to create a truly unique and bespoke gift that will last a lifetime. Browse our online shop today to see our range of aviation, locomotive and automotive cufflinks and mini models…
The Vulcan XH558, an iconic example of British aerospace engineering at its world-beating best and a design that made British aviation technology the envy of the world. Indeed, the Vulcan bomber was one of the most innovative British aircraft of the Cold War period, armed with nuclear weapons and capable of conventional bombing. The Avro Vulcan XH558 was the very last of the 136 Vulcans built to take air, operated by the Vulcan of the Sky trust and flown by a decade long-quest of a dedicated team of volunteers and RAF-trained engineers. Returning one of these four-engined bombers to the skies was one of the most complex aircraft preservation projects undertaken anywhere in the world, involving years of fundraising, logistical nightmares and many thousands of man hours of meticulous work.
XH558 now resides in Doncaster, where the public are able to visit and be inspired by the aircraft that was at the very edge of aviation technology of the time. With rolls-royce olympus turbojet engines – the forefathers of the giant turbines that powered the concorde – this British aviation has been the basis of every modern turbojet engine since!
But, you can now own your own slice of aviation history…
Aviation Cufflink Production Process and Design of the Vulcan XH558
Thanks to our partnership with the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, we were able to produce beautiful aviation cufflinks cast from melted down parts reclaimed from this historic aircraft. By combining our skill in the field of design and production, together with the unparalleled expertise and knowledge of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, we were able to create a finely-crafted 3D rendering of Vulcan XH558.
After initial design work and the creation of a high-resolution mould, we then melt down suitable components reclaimed from the aircraft and re-cast them into single-piece cufflinks. With the material authenticated and isolated at each stage of manufacture, the provenance of the metal is maintained throughout. With the products cast using the lost wax investment method, the items could then be hand-finished by our master craftsmen. Finally, our Avro Vulcan cufflinks were packaged in a deluxe gift set that included added extras particular to this aircraft. For example, each Vulcan cufflink came wrapped in part of the brake parachute from Vulcan XH558 and was supplied with a certificate of authenticity, data book and even a hand-sewn ‘panther head’ storage bag made from official NOMEXTM flying suit material.
With no financial investment, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust was able to monetise surplus components and in doing so has helped create a beautiful and inherently premium aviation cufflink product that will both delight customers and generate royalties and awareness to support preservation work into the future.
Last week we were fortunate enough to catch up with Doug Newton, a flight test engineer on the Concorde development programme. Graciously, he allowed us to delve into the mindset of what it was like to live, work and experience the magnificence of flying on the fastest aircraft to grace the skies. From inception to decommission, the Concorde was truly a homage to what was then perceived as the future of flight and we wanted to ask Doug the good, the bad and the not so elegant experiences he encountered working on this supersonic aircraft. Here’s what he had to say…
What was your role/responsibility on the Concorde Airline? How long did you do this for?
I left the RAF in 1968 and John Cockon – a DP chief test pilot on Concorde at the time – was looking for an armament tradesman. John and I had met during our time within the Forces, so I went for an interview and got accepted to work on the Concorde development programme.
I was first employed in the safety equipment section, which involved dealing with parachutes and aircraft clothing. Shortly afterwards, I began working with mainly flight recorders on the Concorde 001 prototype and the Concorde 002. I also fitted lateral thrust units to both the 002 and 101 – later the AXDN – which were fired off into the air to disturb control services and cause flutter.
I was also responsible for manning Concorde 101’s emergency repel unit at the time, which contained monomethyl hydrazine – a rocket fuel. I have a profound memory of myself and my colleagues having to fire off the unit in mid air at one stage because the engine control tables went through a bulkhead. To get it off we had to strip off the earthing wire so that the voltage was so high it passed through the same wiring loom.
**Side note: to put this into perspective for those non-engineers out there, a drop of hydrazine can burn a hole through your hand, so this was a fairly complex procedure to do whilst mid flight!
What’s your most memorable experience on the Concorde? (Good & Bad)
Flying from Singapore back to Bahrain was a particularly memorable experience on the Concorde; not necessarily for the best of reasons. During runway response checks on the GBBD 202, the runway was in such dire condition that when I sat down on the back of the aircraft, I just remember the fly deck rotating round and round like a wagging finger. In fact, the bumps on the runway were so bad, that shortly after we left, the government resurfaced the runway which is now why the main civil airway is in Changi airport.
I distinctly remember on the final take off – which was a record breaking flight by the way – I was asked to sit on the flight deck and all I could hear was a bang. “Keep going, keep going” shouted Peter Baker, the captain at the time, as my headset fell off due to the rotation of the airplane caused by a tail well strike. What had happened was the tail had hit the runway and the flight ended up rotating too far, subsequently damaging the exhaust engine! That was definitely a memorable experience. Nonetheless, the flight was a success!
What was it like to fly on the Concorde?
Looking back now, you don’t realise how much of a pioneering aircraft the Concorde truly was. This even extends beyond the engineering of the airliner itself, but also the family dynamic and bond those of us working on the Concorde maintained throughout our careers. We were all extremely close and had immense satisfaction in what we were doing. My team in particular were extremely proud of our achievements.
A particular highlight of mine and my team’s career was during a flight from Bahrain to Singapore, where we took off an hour after the 747, yet got back to Singapore 2 hours before it did. The 747 captain asked if we were the same Concorde plane. My response, “You don’t need a wrist watch you need a calendar”.
The Concorde has had such a profound effect on my life that I even have memorabilia all over the house. I am also a Coordinator of the Concorde Flight Test Association which has now sadly gone quiet. It was such a special aircraft that everyone who has flown on it can appreciate its magnificence.
Did you ever see the curvature of the earth on the Concorde?
Yes! Of course.
Where did you go on the Concorde? How long did it take you?
I have flown to an extensive list of places on the Concorde. For example, places like Johannesburg, which took on average 9 hours to get to. I have also flown all around the Middle East – which took about 3 and half hours. This really puts into perspective how fast the airliner was when your standard commercial flight now takes around 16h and 20m (including stops) from London to Johannesburg.
What do you think led to the demise of the Concorde?
The crash in Paris didn’t help – but should never have happened. The French decided they didn’t want to carry on because of an engine problem back from the States but they forgot to turn off the fuel bell and realised they had to go down somewhere quickly. I believe this was a real catalyst for the decommissioning of the aircraft.
Also, after 28 years of service, the Concorde contained what we now deem as old technology. This meant the Concorde was due inspections, which was a large expense that the government did not want to pay.
Were there any challenges as a result of developing the aircraft in conjunction with the French (i.e., language barriers?)
There were generally no complications. Although we measured in inches they measured in metrics there were no particular challenges, as aforementioned, we were one big family!
Why was Concorde G-AXDN (101) such a special aircraft?
The Concorde G-AXDN was a piece of art, a “mechanical swan” is probably the best way to describe it.
On a more technical level, the concorde G-AXDN was a complex engineering system that was ahead of its time. Indeed, the engine did most of the air intake work. A Rolls Royce engine can only take air into itself at 500 mph, whereas the Concorde flies at 1400 mile an hour, so you have to slow the air down. This was done in about 12 ft difference, utilising the intake doors, rams and ramps to balance the shock waves to 500mph. Each engine had to be catered for, which was a highly complicated system. If it all went wrong, the intake system failed which caused surges – spitting air back out again, which wasn’t particularly nice. To rectify this, it was a case of getting on computers and experts doing their work on it.
So as you can imagine, it was a multiplex system that required careful and meticulous engineering!
Have you got any stories about the remarkable people who made the Concorde story one of a kind?
Claim to fame: I have flown in formation with Douglas Bader and Raymon Baxter – a fairfoot to casablanca. My main task was to look after Douglous Bader who said to me, “if I fall base over apex, bloody well leave me alone”. After the flight, I shook him by the hand and he thanked me for my work. I have also had the privilege of flying with Princess Margaret and various kings and queens.
When I was in the Middle East, the Concorde flew various sheikhs as well. A noticeable thing happened during one of my flights. Firstly, the aircraft steps were too short so I created a wooden extension so that the Sheikhs could seamlessly dismount the plane. However, when I opened the aircraft door, I knocked the extension off. For our flight homebound, I also tripped over one of the sheikhs attire and caught him, next minute his security had a knife against my throat – a very memorable experience to say the least!
On a lighter note, during one of my many times flying on the Concorde, one of the pilot’s stressed to us all that we would by flying Princess Anne. He stipulated that we must address her as her majesty, proceeded with ‘mam’. The captain then proceeds to go up to Princess Anne and greet her with a very formal ‘Hello your majesty’, she responds, “hey up Dock how’s it hanging today?”.
With an absence from the skies forever, you can now own an iconic piece of aviation memorabilia which represents the heyday of supersonic flying.
We have developed and produced in collaboration with the Duxford Aviation Society (DAS), limited edition cufflinks, which have been cast from the air intake assembly of Concorde 101 (G AXDN) – the fastest ever example of this majestic aircraft type. T.
Limited to a worldwide production of 4,500 cufflink sets, they have been individually laser etched with the Concordes registration number and the highest ever recorded Concorde speed of 1450 mph, achieved by the aircraft these cufflinks are cast from.
Whether you are part of the Concorde G AXDN’s history, or just an admirer of the fastest commercial flight to grace the skies, our Concorde G-AXDN cufflinks are the perfect sentimental gift that will last a lifetime.
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Introducing “The English Electric Lightning”, which carries the distinction of being the only all British supersonic fighter to have served with the Royal Air Force. Primarily designed as a rapid interceptor against the threat of enemy bombers during the Cold War, powered by twin Rolls Royce Avon turbojet engines, this aircraft still holds one of the fastest climb to altitude rates of any military aircraft – with an initial climb rate of 50,000 ft per minute. This type first flew on 4th August 1954 and went into service with the RAF in 1959.
While it may no longer be an object of the skies, at Icarus Originals, we pride ourselves on blending the very latest technical innovations with the highest quality British craftsmanship in order to create a superb selection of unique, bespoke, premium products. Hence our need to recreate this magnificent aircraft into a beautifully and carefully designed pair of cufflinks! The sheer time and integrity it takes to produce these items is a drawn out process, but we believe it is worth every second, as the final product holds extreme sentimental and historic value. Not only do you get to own a piece of aviation history, but you also get to honour the engineering prowess that revolutionised the British aviation world as we know it – setting a precedent for new models in production to this day!
How do we make the English Electric Lightning into a sentimental piece of Jewellery?
We wanted to highlight just how challenging the design and manufacturing process can be for something seemingly so small and simple. Take 1 project we have in the pipeline – the English Electric Lightning XR740. This is a famous aircraft of its type as it intercepted an American U2 spy plane. First we need to find the material and ensure authenticity. In this case we work with our friends at Jet Art Aviation, based in Selby, who own the original tail fin This material needs to be cut, stripped and processed into small chunks of aluminium that can be melted in a crucible to form ingots of XR749 aluminium – our “raw material”. Concurrently, we need to do a huge amount of design work which entails a combination of high resolution 3D scanning of models, and countless iterations of adapting the scan to a viable CAD design.This design then needs to be printed in resin, before an initial casting is taken. Usually this is cast in silver and then manually worked on by a jeweller to achieve a precision finish. We can then move to a test production run in normal aluminium. Once cast, and then hand finished/polished we can test the item. With the lightning, the thin wings and narrow fuselage made it incredibly difficult to gauge the correct wing thickness. Too thin, the wings break, too thick it just looks wrong and too chunky. However, once finalised, we can go into production and cast cufflinks in genuine aluminium from this iconic aircraft. This process can literally take months as we need to fit into the schedule of the craftsmen we work with. But the end result should be something very special!