When the first of 3 'special build' S2s for RAE was delivered, the crews did a lot of airways flying to familiarise themselves with it. As it cruised at 550 kt(T) where most airliners (apart from Tridents) never exceeded 500, it wasn't liked by the LATCC controllers as it tended to overtake everything else in the airway!
During GW1, the Bucc was brought in initially to 'illuminate' targets and proved what a great chariot it was.
We had XV344 at Farnborough amongst others.
A test pilot (name withheld - TA) just returned to RAE for his second tour was following an autobahn in Germany when he saw a German police helicopter coming the other way. Pulling 10g to avoid it, the tail of the Bucc became detached, but both crew landed safely via Martin Baker.
I seem to recall the grounding resulting from the Red Flag tragedy didn't include the three 'special build' S2s of RAE as their airframe hours were much lower than the average Bucc. I attended morning briefing (as Duty Controller) the day after the accident and recall the COEF reading out a signal giving brief details.
Last edited by chevvron; 14th May 2012 at 20:00.