Posted by John McHaleNEWCASTLE, England, 27 Nov. 2010. Harrier GR9 jet fighters took off from HMS Ark Royal today for the very last time, before both Joint Force Harrier and the Royal navy's flagship are decommissioned next month. The Harrier jets launched from the deck of Ark Royal approximately 40 nautical miles off the coast of Newcastle.The aircraft were from Joint Force Harrier, based at RAF Cottesmore, the home of the Harriers belonging to 1 (Fighter) Squadron RAF and 800 Naval Air Squadron (NAS). Lieutenant Commander James Blackmore, aged 35, the last pilot to ever launch a Harrier from the decks of HMS Ark Royal, said "this is a truly memorable day. We accept the decision to decommission both the Harrier and HMS Ark Royal; however, of course the final launch will be emotional. I have flown over 90 sorties off the ship and combat sorties in Afghanistan, and the aircraft's capability still astounds me. Landing an aircraft on a runway which is not in the same location as where you launched from gives exceptional flexibility."I remember witnessing a Harrier in the hover when I was just eight years old; since then I had wanted to do nothing else,” Blackmore continues. "I have flown Harriers for over ten years; the training is complex and challenging but the added challenge and excitement of hovering a Harrier off the port side of HMS Ark Royal before landing vertically is an experience I will miss immensely." Launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1981, HMS Ark Royal entered service in 1985 and was commissioned on 1 November 1985, again by the Queen Mother.Deliberately keen to highlight the very joint nature of Joint Force Harrier the last jet to recover (land) on HMS Ark Royal today was an 800 NAS jet piloted by a Royal air force officer, while the last jet to launch was a 1 (Fighter) Squadron RAF jet piloted by a Royal naval officer.After the launch, the four aircraft conducted a two-ship flypast, each squadron flying low past the port side of the ship before conducting a final fighter exercise controlled by 849 NAS' Sea King Mk7 helicopter, prior to returning to RAF Cottesmore.