Colonel Roberts explained that he made the landing at Wethersfield at a speed of 120kt, retaining the cruise sweep of 26°, after 5hr 55min, and that the aircraft still had fuel for 1 1/2hr aboard after arriving at Wethersfield. Three days after its arrival at the Essex base, the immaculately-appointed F-111A was made available for its first inspection by British officials and the press. The distinctive “swingwing” was demonstrated in swept, unswept, “clean” and “dirty” configurations.
On May 22, 1967, General Dynamics F-111A serial 65-5701 departed Loring AFB in Maine, in company with the 20th pre-production example, to make the controversial new strike fighter’s first visit to Europe. In charge of the two-aircraft formation for the transatlantic hop - the other flew direct to Paris - was the USAF’s Col Ray Roberts, who reported that the flight was made with full internal fuel at the optimum cruise sweep of 26°, at a cruise altitude of 29,000ft (8,840m). Here the F-111A is pulled from its hangar at Wethersfield on May 25, 1967.