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Scramble of Avro Vulcan B2 Blue Steels at RAF Scampton in 1963. The nearest aircraft is carrying a blue-coloured missile - possibly either a pre-production W100A or a training W103A. Richard Storer recalls:

"I was No 4 when 83 Squadron was the first to have an operational simstart [aka mass rapid] system fitted in 1963 and we went around giving scramble demonstrations to all and sundry. These early scrambles were rather hairy as it was before they introduced all the rules and regulations to minimise the risks. I remember two scrambles in particular. One for SACEUR General Lemnitzer at Scampton in August when he was reported in the press as saying 'That was the most impressive demonstration of air power that I have seen for a long long time.' What he actually said, as reported by those standing beside him, was 'J**** C*****!' The other memorable demo was for the Queen at Scampton when she presented 83 Squadron with its standard. The technique we used for these displays was all four ORP aircraft start on the 'Scramble' command from the Bomber Controller, immediately rolling forward onto the runway to line up right, left, right, left with No1 not stopping at all and the others applying full power and rolling in a matter of moments. We then adopted the fighter stream take off technique of stay low, pull high, stay low etc. Being at the back and in the smoke of 1, 2 & 3, I had to keep straight by looking at the side of the runway and hoping to God that nobody infront aborted. For this demo for the Queen, with nothing running except an external Houchin, (and possibly the APU... I really can't remember) the timing from the Bomber Controllers 'Scramble, scramble, scramble' to my wheels leaving the runway as No 4 was 69 seconds. It was after this that the powers-that-be decided that some regulations for scrambles were required before there was the most tremendous pile-up."

Paul O'Gorman collection. © Crown Copyright >> 

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