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Iconic Cold War plane lands at RAF Cosford

By Tom Oakley | Telford | Telford entertainment | Published:

It played a critical role in defending Britain’s airspace during the height of the Cold War.

Now, an iconic ‘Black Mike’ F-4 Phantom II has landed ahead of the RAF Cosford Air Show next year.

Following last week’s launch of the show, which is taking place on June 10 next year, the cold-war era aircraft was delivered by road to the Shropshire airfield this week.

The F-4 Phantom II was operated by the Royal Air Force between 1969 and 1992, principally as an air defence fighter.

Of all of Britain’s Phantoms, the airframe which arrived at RAF Cosford is perhaps one of the most iconic and is known as Black Mike due to its unique paint scheme applied by 111(F) Squadron in the late 1980s.

Air show operations manager, Peter Reoch, said the plane was a big part of keeping the UK safe during the Cold War.

He said: “The Royal Air Force’s Phantoms played a critical role in defending the UK’s airspace during the height of the Cold War.

“Therefore, having an example of the type was essential as part of our RAF100 static exhibition at the Air Show on June 10.”

Mr Reoch said that there will be plenty more aircraft shipped into the airbase ahead of next year’s show.

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He said: “It will be the first of many aircraft which will be transported by road to RAF Cosford over the coming months specifically for display at the air show.”

Although the jet was an American design, produced by McDonnell Douglas, the UK’s Phantoms were a special batch built separately.

They contained a significant amount of British technology, including the addition of Rolls-Royce Spey engines.

The airframe, now owned by GJD Services Ltd, has been the centre of a campaign by aviation enthusiasts, who plan to restore her to exhibition standard.

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David Butterfield, from the British Phantom Aviation Group, said they were thrilled to have provided the plane for the show, and are sure it will prove a big hit with the crowds at next year’s event.

He said: “The British Phantom Aviation Group (BPAG) are extremely proud and honoured to participate with Phantom XV582 ‘Black Mike’ at the RAF Cosford Air Show 2018.

“Our hardworking, dedicated team of volunteers have shown outstanding knowledge, skills and aptitude to make the move from RAF Leuchars happen.

“We look forward to working with RAF Cosford over the coming months and we are certain that the aircraft will be a great attraction as part of the RAF100 static displays.”

Tickets for the RAF Cosford Air Show, which organisers promise will be a spectacular and interactive tribute to the Royal Air Force’s centenary, are already on sale via the event’s website.

Tickets will again only be available in advance, and are priced £25 per adult, with accompanied under-16s admitted to the show for free.

Tom Oakley

By Tom Oakley
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist

Express & Star reporter responsible for covering Walsall and Staffordshire. Got a story? Email tom.oakley@expressandstar.co.uk or call 01902 319482.

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