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Photograph Geoff Gaukrodger
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Vulcan B2 Blue Steel XM576 of No 27 Squadron at RAF Scampton circa 1964. 576 is fitted with a live Blue Steel W105 missile and is on QRA. Contrary to popular belief, aircraft were only moved up to the ORP during exercises or periods of increased tension. Very few photographs of 576 exist. 576 was delivered in June 1963 to No 27 Squadron and was subsequently pooled into the Scampton Wing. In January 1965, 576 returned to Woodford reentering service in March. In May 1965, 576 crash-landed at Scampton after an assymetric approach and was written-off.

Geoff Gaukrodger remembers:

"It veered off the runway on landing and was heading straight for the Blue Steel hangar when luckily it caught the corner of ATC and ended up on top of some parked cars which was better than getting mixed up with all that HTP. It took the owners a long time to get their claims sorted out.

"When I arrived at Scampton in June 1960 having done the first six months of my Crew Chief course, 617 was firmly established in 2 hangar and E dispersal just accross the peri track with their Mk1s, then 83 came from Waddington and took over 1 hangar and F dispersal which was the next best option. As ASF was in 3 hangar that only left No4 for us when we formed 27 Squadron, we used B dispersal over the other side of the airfield, which didn't make life easy.

"When we were all settled down - A dispersal was selected as the QRA base and we only used the ORP for heightened readiness, demonstrations or dispersal excercises when we also went off to Boscombe Down, Burtonwood, Middleton St George, Lossiemouth or Kinloss. The good old days!"

© Geoff Gaukrodger

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