The Grob 115E, known as the Tutor T Mark 1 in RAF service, was built and equipped especially for the RAF in Mattsies, Germany between 1999 and 2002. Originally equipping No 1 Elementary Flying Training School it replaced the Bulldog T1 in service with the RAF’s University Air Squadrons and Air Experience Flights. These moved to No 3 Flying Training School (3 FTS) before transferring to No 6 FTS at the advent of the new Military Flying Training Service. The role of 6 FTS is to provide a unique chance to sample RAF life and to attract ambitious and intelligent students into a career as an RAF officer. This does not mean you have to join the RAF, but the Squadrons do seek develop Air Power advocates in those who do not choose to go on to a career in the RAF. For those at University there are 15 University Air Squadrons across the UK all linked to nearby Universities. Those aged 12-17 can get involved in Flying, Gliding, Shooting, Adventurous Training and much more with over 1000 Air Cadet Squadrons and Combined Cadet Forces all over the UK. The Tutor is also used by 3 FTS to conduct Elementary Flying Training. Being easy to handle and fully aerobatic, the aircraft is excellent for teaching the basics of flight.
The aircraft is normally flown by a crew of 2 sitting side-by-side, with the instructor in the left seat and student in the right. However, for display flying the student is omitted and the pilot flies from the right-hand seat. The Aircraft is 96% Carbon fibre, of semi-monocoque construction and is powered by a single 180hp Textron-Lycoming engine.
For display flying, the Tutor is not as powerful as purpose-built aerobatic display aircraft, however, this makes for an interesting and challenging display as 'energy' (a combination of speed and height) must be maintained between manoeuvres; only possible through smooth and precise handling by the pilot. The Tutor display will often begin with a dive from height in order to build up the speed necessary to perform its opening manoeuvres. It may not be the largest, loudest or fastest aircraft on the circuit, but this gives the pilot opportunity to show their skill and finesse.