M.D. Phantom XT866/O

RAF Leuchars, Fife













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: A 43 Squadron RAF Phantom FG1 formerly attached to RAF Leuchars.


A Phantom of 43 Squadron


Photo: US Defense Visual Information system photo DF-ST-82-04399 [Wikipedia]


Released as a work by the United States Federal Government to the public domain [Wikipedia]



BELOW: An 892 Naval Air Squadron Phantom FG1 being launched from HMS Ark Royal (now decommissioned).


The McDonnell Douglas Phantom was produced for both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.


a Phantom being launched from HMS Ark Royal


Photo: 1974/75 U.S. Navy Naval Aviation News March 1975 [Wikipedia]


This file is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made during the course of the person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. Federal Government, the image is in the public domain. [Wikipedia]






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF McDonnell Douglas FG1 (F-4K) Phantom  /  XT866/O


The Phantom FG1 was a two-seat all-weather interceptor. The British contract Phantom FG1's were  equipped with Rolls-Royce Spey engines. (Their US counterparts were fitted with GE J79 turbojets.) 


Originally designed for the US Navy, the Phantom FG1 featured on this page was one of a number built to meet a British (MoD) contract. The MoD had ordered these Phantoms from the US to serve both with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.


The Royal Navy version of the Phantom was intended to replace the de Havilland Sea Vixen, and 48 were later delivered to the RN for deployment to aircraft carriers.


Other versions of the Phantom FG1 were delivered to the RAF and were allocated to No. 43 Squadron (now disbanded) based at RAF Leuchars. It is one of this squadron's Phantoms that is featured on this page.






Aircraft Accident Details


The full record of this accident could not be found at the moment, since the MoD / RAF are in the process of moving their information on this and other aircraft to a new website.


However, it is understood that the Phantom crashed, due in part to an instrument failure while on final approach to RAF Leuchars. The aircraft had been on a night flight when it crashed a short distance from the runway. On impact with the ground, the Phantom cart-wheeled across the runway and caught fire.


The pilot and navigator ejected before the crash.


Due to its close proximity to RAF Leuchars, it is believed that all wreckage from the aircraft was either recovered or buried.





Aircraft Crew


The pilot and navigator managed to eject safely before the aircraft crashed. The names of the crew were:

Sqn Ldr R L Dixon

F/O M R L Syndercombe





Crash Site Photos


The wreckage of Phantom XT866/O was recovered and removed to Faygate Aircraft Scrapyard c.1985. (Phantom XT866 photo is 4th row, left-hand-side. Click photo to enlarge. Photos taken by Richard Hall of Aircraft and Airshows Past.)




At present, no other photos are available.



















Crash Date / Site


Accident Date: 9 Jul 1981


Accident Site:

On final approach to

RAF Leuchars


Region: Fife


Nearest towns or villages:

Leuchars or



Nearest large towns:

Dundee (N) or St Andrews (SE)


OS Grid Ref. N/A


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: Wreckage removed to Faygate Aircraft Scrapyard.




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: XT866/O


Operator: RAF (43 Squadron / The Fighting Cocks. Disbanded July 2009)


Operating Station: RAF Leuchars.


Station Location: Leuchars (9.5km / 6 miles from St Andrews), Fife, Scotland.


Current Station Status:

RAF operations will cease in 2013. The station will then be taken over by the army.


Current Station Name (Until Closure): RAF Leuchars



Principal airport data courtesy of John Woodside, A Catalogue of UK Airfields




Related Links


Accident Specific Link


Recovered wreckage at Aircraft and Airshows Past (Faygate Aircraft Scrapyard c.1985. Phantom XT866 photo is 4th row, left-hand-side. Click photo to enlarge. Photos taken by Richard Hall.)



Phantom FG1

McDonnell Phantom FG1 at Fleet Air Arm Museum

McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG1 at National Cold War Exhibition

Technical Specifications of F-4K (FG1) Phantom


RAF and Related Links

43 Squadron RAF

43 Squadron RAF at Wikipedia

43 (Fighter) Squadron Association

RAF Leuchars

RAF Leuchars Air Show



Hill Walking Links


(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)

WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)

Walking Scotland's Mountains



Other Outdoor Activities


Backpacking and Backpackers

Backpacking in Britain

Backpacking Lite

Cicerone (Backpacking Guides for Walking in the UK)

The Backpackers Club

UK Backpacking Websites



Kayaking and Canoeing

Kayak Scotland (Sea Kayaking in Scotland)

Kayaking at Active Scotland (Various venues)

Sea Kayak Scotland


Mountain Biking



Rock Climbing and Abseiling

Abseiling in Perthshire

Abseiling Scotland (Various venues)

Climbing, Scrambling and Abseiling Scotland

Mountain Sports Courses and Paddle Sports Courses at Glenmore Lodge

Rock Climbing at Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre (Skills Courses and Qualifications Courses)

Rock Climbing in Scotland (Rock Climbing Areas)

UKClimbing.com (UKC) (Includes Abseiling / Rappelling)


Trekking and Hiking

Gairloch Trekking Centre (Pony Trekking in the Scottish Highlands)

Pony and Quad Treks (North Wales)

Ramblers (UK)

Ramblers (Worldwide Holidays)

Trekking Britain

Walking and Hiking



Emergency Services Link

Register for Text 999 Emergency Service

If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone.