The ‘Harriers and the 69 Air Race’ exhibition which opened on Easter Saturday finally closed its door to Museum visitors on 31 July. Located in the Museum’s cinema, it proved very popular with our visitors with many reading the explanation boards and sitting down to watch the three Harrier films being shown.
On the opening day of the exhibition we were fortunate to have present Graham Williams and Tom Lecky-Thompson who flew the two Harriers in the race, one of them being the Museum’s XV744. Also present was Mike Adams who was to fly the London to New York leg but was unable to do so following a Harrier taxiing accident at Dunsfold two months before the start of the race when he damaged his back. It was the first time in 50 years the three pilots had met up.
The opening event was a great success with Graham giving a talk on his recollections of the build-up and conduct of the race. Cockpits of both XV744 and our Wessex helicopter were opened by Museum engineers to the public and two E-Type Jaguar cars (Graham’s transport in New York from the Empire State Building to XV744) were displayed alongside the aircraft.
During the exhibition period Ben Dunnell, the editor of Aeroplane’ magazine, contacted the Museum asking for an article on the Harrier’s participation in the race. The article, written by the David Coxon, was published in the July edition of the magazine and can now be read on this website. Click HERE to read the article.
One of the films, edited and narrated by the Museum’s, Pete Pitman featured Hawker Chief Test Pilot John Farley. It shows him describing, as only John could, ‘How to Fly a Harrier’. In early June the Museum was delighted to welcome his widow Adele to see the film and view the exhibition.