The Percival P56 Provost was a British ab initio trainer for the Royal Air Force in the 1950s, replacing the Percival Prentice. The Provost was a two-seat, side-by-side low-wing monoplane with fixed landing gear of the tailwheel variety, powered by a 550hp Alvis Leonides 126 radial engine. After a lengthy service career, the design was adapted for a turbojet.
In 1953, the first production P56s joined the Central Flying School's Basic Training Squadron at South Cerney as the RAF's standard basic trainer, called the Provost T Mk 1. It had more than twice the power of its predecessor, the Prentice, with higher performance and manoeuvrability. More than 330 of the aircraft were eventually delivered to the RAF over a period of 3 years, during which time (1954) Percival became part of the Hunting Group. The Provost remained in service until the early 1960’s when they were replaced by a major revision of the design that evolved the P56 Provost into the Jet Provost trainer, which eventually evolved into the BAC Strikemaster multi-role trainer and light attack aircraft in 1967. A few Provosts continued in service until the last example was retired in 1969. Several retired airframes were renumbered with maintenance serials and used for training of airframe and engine tradesmen. At least five Percival Provost have survived as civilian aircraft.