Phantom F4K Royal Navy
Aircraft Carrier Fighter/Supersonic Interceptor
Ground Attack/Strike.

Daily Mail Trans-Atlantic Record Holder 1969.

First Day Cover. Archive Alan Sheppard.
  • Date 11 June 1969.
  • Aircraft 001. Airframe Number XT 858. Phantom F4K of 892 Sqn. Royal Navy.
  • Crew Lt.Cdr.(P) Brian Davies RN. and Lt.Cdr. (O) Peter Goddard RN.
  • New York to London. 4 hours 46 minutes 57 seconds.


The Daily Mail Transatlantic Air Race 1969

The race was initiated by the Daily Mail to commemorate the anniversary of Alcock and Brown's crossing of the Atlantic in a Vickers Vemy bomber in 1919. Contestants could enter the competition to achieve the crossing by any means in the shortest time, starting from the top of the Empire State Building in New York and finishing at the top of the Post Office Tower in London, or the reverse. The Prize was the sum of £10,000.

The rules stipulated that the laws of the countries and airspace over or through which contestants would travel had to be adhered to. This caused some interesting Air Traffic Control situations.

A West to East crossing was the obvious choice and Phantom F4k's of 892 Squadron which would fly supersonic as much of the time as possible, would need to refuel en route and fly a great circle course.

The airfield from which they would start was Floyd Bennet Field, situated to the south of New York J. F. Kennedy which lay directly on the intended flight path of the Phantom F4k's. The requirement would be for Air Traffic movements at JFK to be suspended for 2 minutes at 0815 on three mornings.

The Americans came up trumps and the project was given the go ahead after a lively meeting at the FAA headquarters. The Nova Scotia authorities prohibited over flight at Supersonic speed over their vast wilderness which can only be described as a "pity".

A rendezvous with Victor Tankers of the RAF in Mid Atlantic was essential but problems with Procedural Control requirements with Oceanic Control at Prestwick Procedural Control were eventually resolved. The Phantom F4k's would have to descend to below 30,000 feet for the refuelling and they would have to be under positive radar control. HMS Nubian was stationed in the Mid Atlantic for a week and the Fighter Direction Officer on board conducted the intercept and refuelling rendezvous.

The nearest airfield to London authorized for Helicopter traffic to and fro the City was at Wisley. CAA regulations required twin engine helicopters. Special permission was eventually granted to the RN Wessex helicopter in that it had two engines driving one rotor.

And so it was ...the Phantom F4k’s of 892 Squadron won the day!!!


From an article in the FAAOA News Sheet September 2009
Doug "Stormy" Fairweather
Anthony "Robbie" Roberts
Fleet Air Arm Royal Navy
Phantom F4K
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