McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG1 (Nose section only)

Not a Lot of People Know That...

British aircraft were delivered to the UK by American civilian ferry pilots.

A Phantom piloted by the Co of No 892 Squadron, Lt Cdr Brian Davies RN with Lt Cdr Peter Goddard as Observer, won the Daily Mail Transatlantic Air Race of May 1969, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Alcock & Brown's epic flight with a record crossing time of 4 hours, 46 minutes and 57 seconds, averaging over 1600km/h/1,000mph.

'Cross-Decking' between the Phantoms of 892 Squadron on Ark Royal and US Navy carriers of the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean was common.

The last British Military Phantom flying was the first development F-4K, FG.1 XT597, which spent most of its life on test flying tasks at A&AEE, Boscombe Down, latterly lying in the distinctive 'Raspberry Ripple' colour scheme, and finally retired on 28 January 1994; on 15 July 1968 it had made the first ever deck landing of a RN Phantom , albeit during trials on an American carrier, the USS Coral Sea, and had spent its entire life as a development aircraft, never entering squadron service.

The first RN Phantom to actually fully land on a British Carrier was either XT857 or XT965 on 2 June 1969, causing considerable heat damage to the carrier deck. This followed on from trial approaches and roller landings (but not full stops) on Eagle in March 1969.

The last British Military Phantom flying was the first development F-4K (FG.1 XT597). On June 2 1969, it had made the first deck landing of a RN Phantom on HM Eagle, but it spent most of its life on test flying tasks at A&AEE, Boscombe Down, and had the distinctive 'Raspberry Ripple' colour scheme. It finally retired on 28 January 1994 having spent its entire life as a development aircraft, never entering squadron service.

Since there was no dual-control version of the Phantom, two dozen RAF aircraft were modified to act as 'two-stick' training aircraft when required. They had removable flying controls and the necessary instrumentation in the rear cockpit for use by the instructor, plus a periscope to improve forward visibility. Latterly, each Phantom unit tended to maintain one 'trainer' fitted out for instrument rating checks and pilot continuation since it could easily be converted back to operational status if required.

No.228 Operational Conversion Unit was the longest-serving RAF Phantom organization, training 1,320 crews between January 1969 and disbandment on 31 January 1991.

Phantoms serving in the strike role in Germany could be used in nuclear or conventional warfare. They would have used available weapons against choke areas such as passes, bridges and river crossings, leaving long-distance strikes to Buccaneers based at RAF Laarbruch.

In the spirit of the famous three Sea Gladiators that defended Malta against Italian forces, the four Falkland Islands based Phantoms of 1435 Flight were named 'Faith', 'Hope', 'Charity' ...and 'Desperation'.

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