On 12 August at RAF Cosford, retired No 43 Squadron pilot Wg Cdr John Brady and navigator Flt Lt Michael Pugh were reunited with the McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG1, XV582, in which they flew between John O’Groats and Land’s End in a record-breaking 46 minutes 44 seconds, and an average speed of 772.19mph, on 4 February 1988. The aircraft is owned by GJD Services and managed by the British Phantom Aviation Group, who performed the dismantling and transport of the aircraft from RAF Leuchars in Scotland to Cosford and undertook restoration work in time for the historic machine to go on static display at the RAF Cosford Airshow on 15 June. XV582 is due to move to a new home at St Athan, south Wales, in the coming months.
This Phantom was delivered to the RAF in May 1969 and served with Nos 43 and 111 Squadrons and finally No 228 Operational Conversion Unit. In addition to setting the speed record the aircraft was the first RAF Phantom to reach 5,000 flying hours. In the late spring of 1989 the Phantom was painted gloss black to celebrate ‘Treble-One’s’ Black Arrows Hunter aerobatic team. It became known as ‘Black Mike’. After retirement the machine became a gate guard at RAF Leuchars until the RAF moved out in 2014.
(Photo credit: John Kendal)