AVM Sir Erik Bennett was an experienced fighter pilot, having served in the Middle East and the UK, before he served on a loan posting to the Royal Jordanian Air Force where he helped establish the fledgling air force and became a special advisor to King Hussein. After two years in Singapore and commanding an RAF early warning radar station, in 1974 he became the Commander of the Sultan of Oman’s Air Force (later Royal Air Force of Oman), a post he held for 16 years. He masterminded the development of the small force he inherited into one of the most effective air forces in the region. He became a close confidant and adviser to Sultan Qaboos and after relinquishing his post as commander, he remained in the Oman and ran the Sultan’s office in London, which provided a special link with politics, government and Buckingham Palace. One correspondent described him as “one of Oman’s (and Britain’s) best-kept secrets: a key figure in a group of elderly former military and intelligence officers who help the Sultan to run his rich, strategically vital country at the mouth of the Gulf.”

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