It is now confirmed that on Easter Saturday (20 April) the Museum’s ‘Harriers and the 69 Air Race’ exhibition will be officially opened by Tom Lecky-Thompson and Graham Williams, the two RAF test pilots who flew the Hawker Siddeley Harriers in the 1969 race sponsored by the Daily Mail newspaper that marked 50 years since the Atlantic crossing by Alcock and Whitten-Brown.
Back in 1969 Tom flew XV741 from London to New York and achieved the shortest time. This aircraft is now privately owned and has recently been reconfigured to GR1 standard by Jet Art Aviation Ltd with the extended wing extensions it was fitted with for the race. It is soon to be loaned to Brooklands Museum, Surrey. Graham flew XV744 in the opposite direction and will be reunited with the aircraft on Easter Saturday as it is now part of the Museum’s collection having been purchased from the Ministry of Defence in 2013 by the Museum’s Society of Friends. Graham was transported from the Empire State Building, New York to XV744 in an open topped E-Type Jaguar sports car and for the exhibition’s opening two E-Types have been loaned for the day.
Following the official opening, Graham has kindly agreed to give a talk on the race in the Museum’s Neville Duke Hall at 1400 hours – first come first served.