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Avro Vulcan B1 XH481 of No 101 Squadron RAF Finningley, De Havilland Comet C2 XK697 'Cygnus' and Bristol Britannia C1 XL659 'Polaris' at Bogota, Colombia in June 1960. Graham Petterson recalls:

"On 21st May 1960, two 101 Squadron Mk 1 Vulcans XH476 (Nick Wilson & crew) and XH481 (Pete Hubbard and crew) departed RAF Finningley for Dakar en route on a 'showing the flag tour' of five South American countries: Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela. The Secretary of State for Air followed in a VIP Comet 2 supported by servicing crews etc in a Britannia. Following refuelling stop at Recife, Brazil, we landed at Ezezia Airport, Buenos Aires on 23rd May. The occasion? Argentina's "Cinquacentenario" (sp?) — 150 years of independence from the Spanish. This was taken very seriously. Air legations representing 50 countries were in attendance: Russians with Il18s, the USA with two U2s parked almost alongside each other. We were feted for four super days with no expense spared. I think they are still paying it off today. On 25th May, the two Vulcans flew as part of a mass flypast and on 27th, flew to Carrasco Airport Montevideo. On 28th following a display trip around Uruguay in XH481, Nick and crew departed Carrasco for Brasilia in XH476. Following a short diversion to Santa Cruz, a final display was carried out at Carrasco airport. On the high speed run and climb out there were problems! To maintain wings level, the stick had to be progressively turned right: I believe until about 45. Most nav instruments failed and an emergency downwind landing was carried out. Fortunately, the surface wind was no more than five knots at the time. During taxiing all aileron control was lost and a strong smell of burning detected. On shut down, the fire crews took over. The cause? The heating ducting for the weapons' bay had fractured and hot air (several hundred degrees) had been directed onto athe aileron control rod which gradually expanded. We counted ourselves fortunate and continued the rest of the tour as passengers courtesy of Transport Command."

Graham Petterson Collection © Crown Copyright >>

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