Per Ardua: Training an RAF Phantom Crew

Author(s): Philip Keeble and Dave Gledhill

ISBN: 9781781557129
£17.50 £25.00
The road to becoming operational on the frontline from a Cold War pilot and navigator’s own experiences.
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There have been numerous occasions where I have sat in the cockpit of a fast jet and thought to myself, “How on earth did I get here?”’ Philip Keeble

My own training left me ill-equipped to fly a Phantom.’ David Gledhill

Flying the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom was a young man’s dream, but the path from ‘Civvy Street’ to operational on a fighter squadron was long, arduous and beset with obstacles.

To succeed meant the chance to fly one of the most iconic combat aircraft that ever took to the air; however, not every fledgling aviator who began the journey fulfilled their ambition to wear the coveted ‘Op. badge’.

Per Ardua: Training an RAF Phantom Crew describes how Cold War aircrew assimilated the skills needed to fly and fight the complex fighter jet. It follows the progress through every stage and explains why it cost millions to train each pilot and navigator.

Philip Keeble and David Gledhill, both former Phantom aircrew, recount the challenges and emotions encountered during the rigorous training process in a frank yet light-hearted way that will leave you wondering how anyone achieved the goal.

BOOK ISBN 9781781557129
FORMAT 248 x 172 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 256 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 20 September 2019
ILLUSTRATIONS 62 black-and-white and 64 colour photographs



Philip Keeble was born in 1947 in Beaconsfield, England. Educated in Slough and Fareham, he started work as an industrial chemist before leaving to joining the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary. In 1965, Keeble was accepted for pilot training with the RAF and had a 28-year career in the service, flying reconnaissance and combat aircraft in a wide range of overseas theatres. On leaving the forces, he became a civilian military simulator instructor in the UK and Saudi Arabia. He was ordained as a deacon in Wales in 2013 (retired).

David Gledhill joined the RAF as a navigator in 1973 flying the Phantom in the UK and West Germany. He was one of the first to fly the F2 and F3 air defence variant of the Tornado and commanded the Tornado Fighter Flight in the Falkland Islands.