Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.
With reviews of books that cover these topics
My first encounter with the mighty Victor was not auspicious. As a sproglet pilot I happened to be flying a Chipmunk from Wyton in the summer of 1973. To the right of the main runway was a huge blackened gouge in the grass. It marked where, only six weeks earlier, the crew of a Victor SR2, XL230, had misjudged an asymmetric go-around, and rolled in. It was a potent reminder to a callow youth of the dangers of aviating.
True Stories from Forty Memorable Years of the Last V Bomber
Tony Blackman with Gary O’Keefe
Grub Street ISBN 978 1 908117 458
A year later and the Victor entered my affections because it was the only V bomber I ever got to fly in. I was at Marham this time, and by some good fortune was invited to sit in the sixth seat of a 57 Sqn K1 tanker, XH616. To my eyes, the Victor looked like a slightly malevolent if cheeky, whale. If I had realised then how implausible were the escape arrangements for back seaters (albeit much better than those in a Vulcan), I would perhaps have been less keen. Anyway we set off on a typical tanking sortie doing towlines (racetrack refuelling patterns) over the North Sea, up as far as Wick. It was the fastest I had ever flown backwards! I was wide-eyed in bliss - until there was a cockpit ...