From Richard Pike, best-selling author of Hunter Boys and The Lightning Boys volumes, comes the newest addition to Grub Streets popular Boys series; Phantom Boys. Originally developed for the US Navy, this twin-engined supersonic long-range fighter-bomber first flew in the spring of 1958. It then entered service for the US Navy in 1961, and in 1969 with the Fleet Air Arm and RAF in the UK. Regarded as one of the most versatile fighters ever built, the Phantom F-4 was the US Navys fastest and highest-flying aircraft. It was flown by both US military demonstration teams (Navy Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds) from 1969 to 1973. It ended its service in 1991 with the RAF. But it continued to serve a variety of air forces across the world, with some still in service fifty years after its first flight. Throughout the twenty chapters of this book, thirteen contributors will take readers across the world with adventures in the Falkland Islands, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Far East and Germany. There are anecdotes of reconnaissance missions, encounters with the Russian Tupolevs, record-breaking flights and life on HMS Ark Royal. The scope, flair and pace of the writing in this book will appeal to the general reader as well as to the enthusiast.
Richard Pike joined the Royal Air Force in August 1961 when he became a flight cadet at the RAF College Cranwell. In the early stages of his forty-year flying career he flew the English Electric Lightning before converting to the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom. On leaving the Royal Air Force he became a civilian helicopter pilot flying the Sikorsky S-61 for the North Sea Oil industry as well as in the search and rescue role. His duties took him to a wide variety of destinations at home and overseas including the Falkland Islands not long after the end of the Falklands War. His last assignment was in Kosovo helping to distribute emergency humanitarian aid on behalf of the United Nations World Food Programme. He and his wife live in Aberdeenshire from where they visit their three children and eight grandchildren in various parts of the UK.