28 March 2012

5th May 1969

VC 20725 passed 20w 1305 55.37n 25w 1350 F080 55.36n 30w next

Canadian Air Force CL-28 Argus Mk. 2, with 404 Squadron, 20725 (message copied on 8888)

N9323P overhead Ocean Station 'J' 0445 53n 15w 0533 9,000' ETA Shannon 0702

[4th May] heading 290 degrees at 4,000' at 2315 and has copied the position of warship GHGB [Royal Navy frigate 'H.M.S. Nubian/F131'], who was at 52.15n 19w at 2245. GHGB tracked G-ATOY on radar some 46 miles distant in the 10 o'clock position and suggested 'TOY turn left 15 degrees for Ocean Station 'J'.
G-ATOY 52.52n 18.23w 2320 4,000' 52.40n 19w 2330 overhead 'J' 2345 on the starboard side, some 28 minutes ahead of flight plan.
[5th May] 52.07n 40w 0507 climbing from 6,000' to 7,000' due heavy icing, outside temp' -5C 51.11n 45w 0640 destination CYQX/Gander

G Blair 2964 53n 25w 0510 7,000' by Ocean Station 'J' at 52.30n 20w 0650 53n 15w 0815 requesting descend to 4,000'

Playmate 11 54.10n 17.45w 0500 1,000' over Ocean Station 'J' 0540, requesting flight level for N9323P, confirmed as 9,000' (see above report). Now in contact with 'J' who passed a request that Playmate 11 call 'military' on 309.5 UHF. 53.34w 19.47w 0630, will call again in one hour.

The above three civil flights were all participants in the 'Daily Mail' Transatlantic Air Race, which took place between 4th May and 11th May 1969, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1st non-stop Atlantic crossing by Alcock and Brown. Competitors had to travel between the top of the Empire State Building, New York and the top of the Post Office Tower, London in either direction, using any number and manner of conveyances as long as the Atlantic crossing was made by air.

N9323P was a Comanche 260, noted at London Heathrow on 5th May.
G-ATOY was another Comanche 260, flown by Sheila Scott (the fuselage for which is now stored at the National Museum of Flight,  East Fortune, Scotland). Interestingly Ms Scott beat her previous world record for a flight by a single-engined light aircraft between Shannon and Gander, which stood at 17hr 14min 1 sec made in October 1967, by 3hr 15min.
G. Blair 2964, N2964 Mallard, noted at London, Gatwick on 5th May. This was the oldest aircraft to participate, being 21 years old and on landing at London, Gatwick it had spent just over 23 hours in the air. The pilot was a Mr. Gordon Blair, a 60 year-old grandfather.
Playmate 11 an RAF Shackleton, providing 'top cover'.

Other know participants included, N587MA (Beagle 206), N16008 (Riley Rocket), N85894 (Cessna 337), N1316R (Beech Bonanza), N1098Q (Cessna 310), WP312, (Hunting Prince), N4908C (DC-8), N1700 (Fournier RF-4D), G-AWIY (PA-23 Aztec), G-AVJJ (PA-30) and N7478Z (Mooney).

Of these, the author copied G-AVJJ on 11th May, as follows:-
53n 25w 0735 F110 53n 15 1008, at 0924 'VJJ was 084 degrees and 61 nautical miles from Ocean Station 'J', when 'J' was at 52.29n 19.53w

Interestly, the last of these participants (Mooney N7478Z) ditched off the Faroe Islands on the 5th May, having become lost and running out of fuel. The aircraft was towed to Halderavig, no mention of the pilot!.

Just for the record, the West to East fastest crossing was made by a Royal Navy Phantom in 5 hours, 11 min's, 57 sec's and the East to West by a Harrier (XV741, Operation codename "Blue Nylon") in 6 hours, 11 min's, 57 sec's

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