Super Flight Deck
1975 this time! Airfix made some cosmetic changes to it's already great Flight Deck toy. The most obvious change was that the F4 Phantom jet was now a bright yellow colour. Strange, I don't seem to remember the Royal Navy of Fleet Air Arm using this colour on any of their aircraft???? A large rudder had appeared on the tail which in essence would make the plane yaw to the left. Why was this put on? Realism or detail?
Simon Elwood wrote to us to say that it was "to keep the plane from doing it's 180 turn until it's virtually stationary at the top end of the line. The rudder opposes the turn. When the F4 stops at the top, there's no longer any rudder force and the plane is able to rotate." Nice one Simon !
Also changed was how the plane was flown. The original deck part with the pop up flags was now attached to the back of the control column. There was a large yellow trap door type flap that was raised after a successful landing instead of the flags . Alongside this was the new catapult launcher. This had been designed so that the endless tugging on the pulley system to get the jet back up to the top of the flight line was eliminated. It also meant that rather than having a loop of fishing line going round two pulleys, you could have a single line which could be reeled out from a spool on the bottom of the joystick to the desired length depending on how much space you had.
Super Flight deck was given a sub £10.00 price as was the original, though toys and games over a fiver were probably considered a lot back in the 70s. We contacted an owner known only as "Phatboy from Salisbury", who sold one on eBay with the price sticker still in place on the box. He stated in his reply that the SFD he had was originaly sold for £5.75 at Salisbury Model Centre which was funnily enough in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Top marks for this historic info Phatboy !!!!!!!
Flying with this one was simple.You just pulled the catapult launcher rod, that protruded from the deck, back until it clicked into place popped the Phantom onto the rod and then pulled the trigger next to the control column to shoot the Phantom up the wire. The catapult was powered by a rubber band that was square shaped, about 5mm in thickness and about 250mm long. A spare band was sellotaped to the underside of the deck should the original wear out. I must say at this point that the rubber bands were extremely strong and I only ever needed to use the spare one after a helluva lot of flights and over several years too. However, I have never seen rubber bands that resemble the ones that came with this toy. If you buggered up the main one and the spare I don't know what you would have done. They are probably easier to get hold of nowadays but in the 70's, I reckon a polite begging letter to "Mr Airfix" would have been on the cards!!!
The Phantom had also had some modifications. Instead of the two upturned V shaped appendages you tied the line to on the original, it had a large T-Bar coming out of the upper fuselage. This had two small wire loops at each end. The T-Bar was on a pivot which allowed the Phantom to rotate round once it had lost its momentum from being catapulted up the wire. As it rotated the arrestor hook underneath was lowered so that it could make its return journey and land in the desired manner.
Unfortunately the Phantom was not overly nose heavy and the one I had for Xmas 1976 needed a little more weight in the nose. This was achieved by placing some plasteceine inside the nose and allowed the Phantom to return properly (not stop and fly backwards down the line again) This had the added bonus of allowing the wire at the far end of the flight line to be placed higher up to increase the return speed over long distances.
Hubbard Media Group has yet to acquire one of these. I have been searching longer for one of these than I did with the original (7 Years to be precise) The images below have been sent to me courtesy of one top lady down in the West Country by the name of Julie Strong. Nice one Julie !!!!! Out of the two versions Airfix made, this was definitely the best and the one that everyone remembers.
And now the good news:
Hubbard Media Group has acquired the Super Flight Deck owned by Julie who decided that she had had her fun with it and that it should go to a good home. I personally cannot thank her enough for deciding to part with this fine example of 70's Nostalgia. Thanks also to her superior skills at packaging it up safely for its journey to Essex where it currently resides in one of my glass cabinets on display for all to see. Shame we had to chuck the expensive crystal glasses out to make room, but one must get ones priorities right!
Stone me though, if one doesnt turn up after all this time but ANOTHER one appears at a boot sale. What is going on? Where are they all coming from? The second one is in bad shape though and needs some serious love and care before it will work again. We need an intact black catapult launcher. That bit of plastic that pokes through the deck and slides up the metal rod situated under the deck with the phantom on top of it. If you have one of these toys and all it is fit for is breaking for spares then drop us a line. Rest assured that none of these toys get sold on for profit. They are all kept in as near perfect condition as possible for others to admire on this site.
Missing that all important cardboard superstructure from your Super Flight Deck??? Worry no more. Hubbard Media Group provides you with the template to produce your own. Simply save and then print off the superstructure.gif on an A4 Page in something like Paintshop Pro by choosing print preview and selecting the print to page checkbox option. A template for you to use on some 3mm thick black card will be produced. This is best done on a laser printer as it will use a lot of black. This gif is only 10kb in size and can be viewed by clicking on the hyperlink in this paragraph. It's quite large in its dimensions especially when viewed on screen but trust us it will print well.
Click on the thumbnails below to view images.