Flight Line

Recollections and reflections — a seasoned reporter’s view of aviation history

On 27 November 1978, the fourth HMS Ark Royal launched its final fixed-wing aircraft (although this was a Buccaneer, rather than Phantom XT870/012 that features in the publicity photos) in the English Channel before returning to Devonport and the breaker’s yard at Cairnryan. Ark Royal was the last of the Royal Navy’s classic, fixed-wing aircraft carriers, and had protected British interests — and projected British influence — around the globe during eight commissions and for more than 30 years.

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