13th March 2019
Captain Geoff Dyer’s presentation on March 13 drew one of the Society’s largest audiences; perhaps unsurprising given the local importance of the RAF. In fact, those present included other past crew members.
Given his 10,000 hours of pilot experience and his studies in aviation history, Captain Dyer was more than qualified to give a rounded and fascinating view of life behind the scenes in the RAF during the Cold War.
In 1946 it was understood that any future war would be nuclear and that the potential enemy would be Russia. Captain Dyer highlighted the enormous and rapid development during that crucial period; there were just seven years between the Lancaster and the Vulcan. The World War ll Lancaster carried around five tonnes of bombs whilst the Vulcan carried two million tonnes of TNT; and in the event that just one got through to Russia it could have wiped out Moscow.
Issues around the Vulcan’s design and its construction , as well as the responsibility of the captain for the rear crew who didn’t have the safety of ejection seats were also covered as were the experiences of being a test pilot and demonstration flying. But this presentation also had its lighter side; we heard about how the captain’s biggest responsibility was to stop the crew from misbehaving during stop-overs and how exercises over Canada provided opportunities to bring back large quantities of whisky – custom officers’ inspections were thwarted by hiding the bottles up the nose in the scanner bay.