Air Race Pilot Reunited With XV744

April, 2015


In 1969 the Daily Mail newspaper sponsored a Transatlantic Air Race and the RAF decided to enter two of their new Hawker Siddeley Harriers (XV741 and XV744) to be flown by test pilots, Squadron Leaders Tom Lecky-Thompson and Graham Williams.

The race was to attain the shortest time between the top of the London Post Office Tower and the top of the Empire State Building in New York, the Harriers making use of their vertical take-off and landing ability by operating from a coal yard near St Pancras railway station and a vacant lot at Bristol Basin on the East River, Manhattan.

Eight days before the start of the race Tom Lecky-Thompson flew XV744 (now in the Museum’s collection) to New York. On 5 May Tom, flying XV741 westbound achieved the shortest overall time for the 3,030 mile track between London and New York. Graham William’s eastbound XV744 was beaten into second place by a Royal Navy Phantom.

On Saturday 25 April, Tom Lecky-Thompson was reunited with XV744 when his family arranged a surprise visit to the Museum.

Talks by Tangmere

The Museum is pleased to be able to offer speakers to interested groups or societies on a range of subjects connected with the history of operations at RAF Tangmere and other military aviation subjects.

The presentations are usually given as an audio/visual presentation using the Museum's equipment. Our presentations can be tailored to suit audiences ranging from specialist societies to community based groups and range in length from 40 to 90 minutes depending on the subject matter.

Further details of the full range of presentations and the availability of speakers can be obtained by calling the museum on 01243 790090, by emailing your interest to or by letter marked for the attention of the Director.