Vulcan ops at Masirah

The RAF station at Masirah, off the Omani coast, was an unusual outpost for the Vulcan force usually stationed at Akrotiri, Cyprus, but it provided some memorable training 

On a hot March day in 1973, I was standing on the aircraft parking area of RAF Masirah, a rather bleak but intriguing island base off the east coast of mainland Oman. Next to me was the engineering officer of No 35 Squadron, whose Vulcan B2s formed one half of the Near East Air Force Bomber Wing based away to the west at Akrotiri, Cyprus. We were awaiting the arrival of one of the big deltas for a visit to the desert outpost. Right on time the Vulcan touched down, but there was a loud bang and we immediately knew one of its tyres had burst. “I wish he wouldn’t do that”, muttered the eng off, half in jest, but his ground engineers were soon hard at work changing the wheel and getting the airframe back on line again. There is an amusing sequel to the incident, but let’s not jump ahead. At this point we were just at the start of another one of a regular series of detachments to Masirah, originally flown under the broad heading of ‘Island Rangers’ but now formalised as Exercise ‘Pedigree’.

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