In 1953, I was thrilled to see for the first time the beautiful gleaming white, near-delta prototype high against a clear blue sky, whilst on leave from National Service.

After returning to the aerodynamics department in Manchester in which I had completed my apprenticeship with Avro, I went on to the aerodynamics research office at Woodford, overlooking the airfield, and the common sight and sound of Vulcan test flights.

As well as one Vulcan flight as observer, I remember flying in the two-seat Avro 707C one-third scale research aircraft. Invited to take over and try a gentle turn, I almost rolled the 707 through 360 degrees before the pilot took back control. With only limited glider tuition, I had no feel for that aircraft’s responsiveness, though familiar enough in theory. Also, following Roly Falk’s unauthorised barrel roll at Farnborough in 1955, out of interest I calculated a trajectory showing the possibility of a Vulcan loop within the maximum g limit.

There were no takers.