Mike Lithgow

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Michael John "Mike" Lithgow, OBE (30 August 1920 – 22 October 1963) was a British aviator and chief test pilot for Vickers Supermarine. He became the holder of the World Absolute Air Speed Record in 1953 flying a Supermarine Swift but died when the prototype BAC One-Eleven airliner crashed in 1963.

Early life[edit]

Mike Lithgow was born on 30 August 1920 and educated at Cheltenham College.

Second World War[edit]

Joined Fleet Air Arm March 1939-December 1945
Lieutenant Commander HMS Ark Royal Flew Swordfish torpedo bombers, was one of the pilots attacking the Bismarck[1]

Test Pilot[edit]

World Air Speed Record diploma

He retired from the Navy and moved to Vickers Supermarine as a test pilot in January 1946 and became the company's chief test pilot two years later.

On 26 September 1953 flying the Supermarine Swift F.4 prototype, WK198, Lithgow broke the World Air Speed Record near Tripoli in Libya, reaching a speed of 735.7 mph (1184 km/h).

He did extensive test flying on the Supermarine Attacker, Swift, Scimitar and later the Vickers Vanguard and BAC 1-11.

Lithgow died test flying the prototype BAC One-Eleven G-ASHG from Wisley airfield on 22 October 1963 when during stall tests the aircraft entered a deep stall and crashed near Chicklade, Wiltshire. Six other BAC flight test team members were killed too.


  1. ^ family history

Autobiography: Mach One. (Oct 1954). Allan Wingate Ltd. ASIN: B0000CIZSW
Editor: Vapour Trails. (1956). Allan Wingate Ltd. ASIN: B0000CJFFQ

External links[edit]