Sir Michael Beavis gained worldwide fame when in 1960 he flew a Vulcan bomber non-stop from Lincolnshire to Sydney in Australia in a time of 20 hours 8 minutes. He made three rendezvous’ over Cyprus, Karachi and Singapore with Valiant tanker aircraft when fuel was transferred in flight to his Vulcan. This was a potent demonstration of the strategic value of air-to-air refuelling so graphically illustrated 21 years later during the Falkland’s War. A former fighter pilot, Beavis later commanded the first RAF VC 10 strategic transport squadron before embarking on a series of senior appointments in MoD, the RAF Staff College and later as C-in-C RAF Support Command. His final appointment was as Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces Central Europe. He retired to Cyprus where he died on June 7.
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