Daily Mail Trans-Atlantic Air Race
The race was held between the 4 and 11 May 1969, although named an air race it was actually a race of individuals between the Empire State Building in New York to the Post Office Tower in London. 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.
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.
|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
The Royal Air Force decided to use the unique Vertical Take Off and Landing capability of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier. 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.
London to New York
|Harrier XV741 landing at St Pancras|
|Harrier GR.1 landing at St Pancras from Royal Air Force Museum|
|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[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
|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|
|Charter 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|
- Using an Aer Lingus scheduled flight
- less a 6hr handicap
- John Taurnac (2014). The Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark. Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801471094.
- The Atlantic Race - Details of Categories in the "Daily Mail" event - 1969 Flight pre-race article
- Harrier at St Pancras? - a 1969 news item in Flight about the probable take-off point for the RAF's Harrier entry
- Air Race Record news of the unofficial New York - London record set by the Royal Navy Phantom
- Daily Mail Trans-Atlantic Record Holder 1969 From an article in the FAAOA News Sheet September 2009, Doug “Stormy” Fairweather, Anthony “Robbie” Roberts