Last of the RAF Buccaneers

Group Captain Nigel Huckins describes the twilight of the exceptional Buccaneer

Buccaneer S.2B XZ431. The cockpit section of this aircraft survives, though the remainder is believed to have been scrapped.

I never imagined that I would ever fly the Buccaneer, let alone end up as that iconic aircraft’s last ever squadron commander.

My flying career had involved two tours on Jaguars followed by a further two on Tornados where I was eventually the Squadron Qualified Weapon Instructor (QWI) on 17 Squadron at Brüggen, Germany.

My punishment for 14 years of training and glorious fastjet flying was 12 months at the RAF Staff College at Bracknell, Berkshire, followed by a tour in the Directorate of Training in the Ministry of Defence in London. In a bid to escape the fast-jet training policy paper that was sitting on my desk, I negotiated a rather more exciting deployment to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia for the first Gulf War.

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