1979 MY ATLANTIC DASH

I did another rather amazing flight at about that time out of JFK to Prestwick and on to Manchester. This was one of the main routes ex-JFK and on this occasion when I checked in with operations at JFK the flight time shown on the plan was about five and a quarter hours which was pretty quick so I asked what the record was for the route and they ferreted around and said that it was held by a 707 at five hours and eight minutes. My tail was up and so I put a little bit of extra fuel on and told the people that we were out to beat that time. Little did I know that they had informed the control tower and so just after take-off we were told to route direct to Gander, Newfoundland and to ignore any speed restraints and they wished us good luck in our venture

“Wow, we are off and running!” I said to the rest of the crew triumphantly.

After about two hours or so we were in the Gander area and we called for our ‘Atlantic clearance’ and would you believe it they were in the picture as well. They told us to route direct to Prestwick and not on the normal track system. As for the speed we were given a free hand as to how fast to go.

Super VC-10 G-ASGC, now preserved at Duxford Air Museum, hurtled across the North Atlantic at a speed that was just below the maximum the aircraft was allowed. The Flight Engineer was in his element and spent the night fine-tuning the engines to keep the speed spot on. After a short time the Chief Steward came onto the flight deck and announced that the dinner service was complete and that the passengers were now all bedded down for the night.

“I am sorry to spoil your rest break but we will be landing in just over two hours,” I said.

“What are we flying? A bloody Concorde or something! I will have to wake them up for a full English breakfast in one hour,” he replied.

“Scrub the breakfast and give them champagne for landing,” was my reply.

We arrived off the Scottish west coast after about four and a half hours’ flying and the Air Traffic Control fellow let us go direct to the downwind point for the landing. I woke the passengers with the news that we will be landing in about half an hour. That must have surprised them!

We finally landed just five hours and one minute after take-off from JFK. The scheduled time was six hours and 20 minutes so this was some achievement in my mind. Besides we had beaten the 707’s record by a wide margin. The amazing thing is that my time has, to this day, never been beaten by a scheduled aircraft. Not bad for a Hamster! It was party time in Manchester that night.