FLEET OF FOOT PHANTOMS

The air force had rejected the idea of using Phantoms in the Daily Mail race, but the Fleet Air Arm decided otherwise

With enthusiastic braking, Lt Cdr Doug Borrowman brings Phantom FG1 XT860/002 to the most rapid stop possible on the Wisley runway on 4 May 1969. The following Royal Navy Wessex HU5 is ready to whisk observer Lt Paul Waterhouse off to the base of the Post Office Tower. R. L. WARD VIA ADRIAN M. BALCH COLLECTION

When the Daily Mail announced, on 26 April 1968, its intention to stage a Trans-Atlantic Air Race almost exactly one year later, the first Phantom FG1 for the Royal Navy had not yet been delivered to the UK. That event would occur just three days later, on 29 April, when three aircraft touched down at RNAS Yeovilton. Initial Phantom deliveries were to 700P Naval Air Squadron, the Intensive Flying Trials Unit, whose brief it was to fly the new machine for several hundred hours and to build experience on the type. With its task completed, it would disband and its air and groundcrews would form the nucleus of 892 NAS, which was to be the RN’s only front-line Phantom squadron.

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