Play / pause Flying the Phantom

Flying the Phantom

  • Ed Smith
  • Interview by: Ewan Burnett


I was then posted to Phantoms.

Originally I'd been selected for Jaguar training

but things had changed in the system

and they'd looked at my abilities

and decided I was probably better suited to the Phantom

which was the best thing that ever happened I think.

I really enjoyed the Phantom.


It was something I didn't know very much about

before I started flying

but once you become involved with the Phantom,

you never forget it.

It was quite an extraordinary airplane.

Hugely powerful.


It was not like the Hawk at all.

It was bigger.

You had to climb up into it.

And it had a lot of systems in it

which I'd never seen before

in an airplane.

It had reheated engines, it had a radar,

it had missiles

and all of that was new

and it was doing a mission

which we hadn't particularly been trained for really.

Any intercept training

was not included in our flying training at all.

There was no way of doing that.

So I was being introduced to something different.

And of course, it had a navigator.

We came to the Phantom much better prepared

than our navigator students, fellow students.

They'd had even less exposure

to that type of training.

The fast jet, they'd not seen a fast jet at all.

They'd flown in the Domini and the Jet Prost

and that was it.

So they came into the back of a Phantom

quite green (chuckling)

and came out of the flight looking

even more green actually the first few flights.

So we felt, the pilots felt quite confident actually

that the navigators were, yes,

exposed to a whole to of new things.

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