Daily Mail Trans-Atlantic Air Race

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The Daily Mail Trans-Atlantic Air Race was a race between London, UK and New York City, USA to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the first trans-atlantic crossing by John Alcock and Arthur Brown.

The race[edit]

Organised by the Daily Mail newspaper, the race was held between 4 and 11 May 1969, although named an air race it was actually a race of individuals between the Post Office Tower in London to the Empire State Building in New York. Each of the individuals or "Runners" had to use some form of air transport. With a number of different categories a total of 21 prizes could be won. A number of point-to-point world records for aircraft were broken.

The shortest overall time between London and New York was by Squadron Leader Tom Lecky-Thompson flying a Royal Air Force Hawker Siddeley Harrier in 6 hours 11 minutes. The shortest time between New York and London was by Lieutenant Commander Peter Goddard, a passenger in a Royal Navy McDonnell Douglas Phantom in 5 hours 11 minutes.

Civilian competitors[edit]

The first civilian competitor to leave London was Anne Alcock, the niece of Sir John Alcock. She was followed by a number of other runners including Stirling Moss, Mary Rand and Sheila Scott, who used her own private aircraft.

Royal Navy[edit]

External image
Flight crews of the Royal Navy involved in the race
Team entered by Royal Navy from Fleet Air Arm Officers' Association

The Royal Navy entered three "runners" each to be flown across the Atlantic in a McDonnell Douglas Phantom. The navy runners used Phantoms which flew from the Floyd Bennet Naval Air Station to Wisley Aerodrome and were refuelled by Handley Page Victor aerial tankers over the Atlantic.

On 11 May 1969 a Royal Navy Phantom of 892 Naval Air Squadron set a new world air speed record between New York and London in 4 hours and 46 minutes.

The Vickers Alcock and Brown trophy was awarded to Lieutenant Commander Peter Goddard for his 5 hour 11 minute crossing which was the fastest West to East crossing.

Royal Air Force[edit]

The Royal Air Force decided to use the unique Vertical Take Off and Landing capability of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier.[1] The Harrier used a coal yard next to St Pancras station in London and landed on the quayside of the Bristol Basin in New York.[1]

London to New York[edit]

External image
Harrier XV741 landing at St Pancras
Harrier GR.1 landing at St Pancras from Royal Air Force Museum
Event Name Aircraft Time[2] Prize
Shortest time Squadron Leader Tom Lecky-Thompson Hawker Siddeley Harrier 6 hrs 11 min £6,000
Sub-sonic aircraft R. W. Selph 7 hrs 6 min £4000
Scheduled passenger flight via Shannon Clement. R. Freud[3][a] 8hr 4 min £5000
Unsponsored personal attempt via Shannon E. A. Freudmann 8hr 14 min £2,500
Chartered business jet Sir Billy Butlin Hawker Siddeley HS.125 11 hrs 30 min [b] £500
Light Aircraft (man) S. Wilkinson Beagle B.206 20 hrs 23min £1000
Light aircraft (woman) Sheila Scott Piper Comanche 26 hrs 34 min £1000

New York to London[edit]

Event Name Aircraft Time[2] Prize
Shortest time Lieutenant Commander Peter Goddard McDonnell Douglas Phantom 5 hrs 11 min £6000
Sub-sonic Peter Hammond 6 hrs 54 min £4000
Direct passenger flight K J Holden 6 hrs 48 min £5000
Unsponsored personal attempt Miss S M Scribner 6 hrs 55 min £2,500
Chartered business jet Tony Drewery Vickers VC10 7 hrs 3 min £500
Light aircraft (man) Michael Fallon 21 hrs 31 min £1000
Light aircraft (woman) Nancy Kelly 22 hrs 31 min £1000


  1. ^ Using an Aer Lingus scheduled flight
  2. ^ less a 6hr handicap


  1. ^ a b "British Military Aviation in 1969". Royal Air Force Museum. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  2. ^ a b Henry Stanhope (12 May 1969). "US loading trouble balks Prince's air attempt". News. The Times (57557). London. col C, p. 2.
  3. ^ Taurnac 2014, p. 27
  • John Taurnac (2014). The Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark. Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801471094.

External links[edit]