…... not inconsiderable pilot skills. Who said being a pilot was difficult! Finally, on 31 July (26) the Buccaneer was back. It wasn’t long before we set out again across the Atlantic, with Victor tankers in support. We headed for Cold Lake (27), 100 mile north of Edmonton in Canada, to take part in ‘Maple

Flag’, an exercise similar to Red Flag but not quite so sophisticated.  This was another opportunity for the squadron to excel and attract widespread praise from the Canadian and US top brass (28)  & (29)] - and a mild ‘well done’ from Strike Command – and we all found it tremendously fulfilling. During 1981, 208 was chosen to be the first RAF squadron to be equipped with the Paveway laser guided bomb.  We carried out a lot of trials on Garvie Island and at West Freugh dropping 1,000lb bombs before sending four aircraft and crews back to Cold Lake (30) for Trial Tropical. With a couple of crews from the Germany squadrons helping with the Pavespike marking, over 80 LGBs were dropped during the four-week (31) detachment culminating in a spectacular drop of four, tossed from 2.5 miles, all of which hit the small target. In the meantime, four crews spent a week at Lossiemouth taking part in the (32) Tactical Bombing Competition.  En-route, the flight commander, who shall remain nameless (he is the Association’s President!), managed to drop the CO’s bag, which contained all his kit and the officer’s confidential reports, from his aircraft’s bomb-bay on Cowden range.  He missed the target!  With a suitably modest claim on the insurance company, it was rumoured that I was the best dressed CO in the RAF and all the ground equipment which had gone ‘missing’ over the previous few months was replaced. The USAF’s F-16s and F-111s and RAFG Jaguars also participated and we were all opposed by Lightnings, Phantoms and Rapier SAMs.  All who took part were agreed that it was probably the most stimulating flying of our careers, not least the QWI whose nav forgot to switch on the wing tanks resulting in a double flame out as they pulled off the target at Otterburn. Sadly for me, all good things had to come to an end and after 2 ½ years in command, and almost 5 years on 208 Squadron, it was time to depart. The flight commander arranged for an 8-ship to overnight

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