Books Thoughts Travels

My interest in the RAF and flying

It was in the late 1970’s that I worked for NCR, a computer manufacturer, and I was tasked to design, write the software to customers requirements, install, train the customers staff, and maintain the installation thereafter.

The area I covered from my base offices in the UK, Nottingham and Leicester, covered a vast area, from North and South Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, down to the south of Liecestershire, from caravan manufacturers to a door-to-door cosmetic selling organization, and often I found myself driving hundreds of miles to visit my customers.

Often my journeys, especially through Lincolnshire, would take me past RAF airfields, and since a small boy I had a fascination of aircraft, mighty birds in the sky.

At RAF Coningsby, the B1192 road I took to my customer in Wragby, passed the end of the runway, and there was a convenient lay-bye, where I could stop and watch the fast jets, Phantoms, take off, looking directly up into their jet exhaust and afterburners. (click to see map).

At RAF Waddington on the A607 road from Grantham to the City of Lincoln, the massive Vulcan bombers of the RAF “V” Force, stood ready to launch at minutes notice on their dispersal pads near the end of the runways, ready to retaliate against Soviet Block targets with nuclear weapons should NATO be attacked. (click to see map).

At RAF Wyton on the A141 near Warboys, English Electric Cambera’s, RAF reconnaissance planes flew low over the road as they came into land. (click to see map).

At RAF Wittering, the V/STOL Harrier Jump Jets, would fly over the A1 road. (click to see map).

At RAF Alcanbury, further south on the A1 road, USAF U-2 spy planes, with their albatross length wings glided in to a now closed airfield. (click to see map).

So many more airfields I would pass, fascinated by the power and beauty of the aircraft.

My love for knowledge of aircraft has stayed with me all these years, and reading, researching books, visiting museums on aircraft, gives me great joy and happiness, although my interest does not or has not become an obsession. As I discover more in my research, I need to fill in the blanks, find out more about information presented to me.

It is now I appreciate the art of reading, PhotoReading, allowing me to absorb so much information quickly, and when reading normally after PhotoReading the book to get specific information, getting so much more enjoyment.

Reading fictional books like Biggles, a pilot flying mid world war planes, solving problems and having boyhood fascination capturing adventures.
Living in Kingston upon Thames, the home of the Hawker Hurricane, led me to read about the history of the iconic aircraft, and visiting museums, the Imperial War museum at RAF Duxford, the old airfield and race track at Brooklands, the Royal Naval Fleet Air Arm Museum, RAF Uxbridge and the RAF Museum in Hendon.

As I read, one piece of information has led me to another, to another, to the book Phoenix Squadron by Rowland White, which I wrote about in my blog a few days ago. Then my cousin Glynis, read my blog and suggested that I read Rowland White’s other book, Vulcan 607, as her husband Dave had been involved with them, and my mind went back to those early days as I passed RAF Waddington, with those big jets, the Vulcan’s, just waiting to reach for the skies.

I had to buy the book.