final sortie was made on the 29th March
1994 by pilot Flt Lt Steve Reeves and
navigator Flt Lt Neil Devine.
Taking off from RAF Lossiemouth at 0935
hrs, '894' stayed low along the length
of the runway for a photograph (see
right) by photographer Andrew Brooks.
This was Flt Lt Reeves last ever flight
in a Buccaneer.
away into the blue skies over Scotland,
the two airmen, as they headed south,
prepared for their tactical sortie.
A simulated tank attack at RAF Spadeadam,
the massive electronics warfare range
in Cumbria, frequently used by NATO's
some miles out from Spadeadam, the Buccaneer,
gaining permission from the range controller,
turned inbound for its attack. The speed
rapidly increasing to 580 kts and dropping
down to very low-level, Flt Lt Reeves
at the controls changed course regularly,
violently throwing '894' to the left then
to the right in an attempt to evade the
extensive arsenal of Warsaw Pact radar
systems currently in use at Spadeadam.
Each one desperately trying to detect
the in-bound target. If locked-on, a SAM
(surface to air) missile would be released
(if this were for real!) from its launch
pad and there would be little or no chance
of escape. '894' screamed over the range
fast and low giving the SAM's little chance
to acquire the hostile inbound.
Then, sighting their target, a convoy
of Russian built T-62 tanks, the two crew
were guided straight in by an FAC (forward
air controller) on the ground. Hugging
the terrain, '894' blasted over the top
of the tanks. This would have clearly
been total destruction for any enemy,
if this were for real.