After a short illness, Les Phipps died peacefully on 3rd March.
During a full RAF career, and with a background as a fighter pilot, he served as Commander SOAF 1973-74 as the small force adapted to meet the challenges and pressures of sustained operations. Clearly a major focus for him over that period was mapping out the future shape and size of SOAF, to meet the evolving needs of the country. At the same time, however, he made sure that he knew what life was like at the sharp end, spending time at Salalah with the Strikemasters of 1 Sqn and also flying on task with the helis of 3 Sqn. He also took a special interest in the training and qualification of the first Omani pilots.
After returning to the RAF, he held successive appointments both in the Gulf and in UK; he retired in the rank of Air Vice-Marshal in 1983.
It was clear that his time in Oman remained very important to him. He left clear instructions that he wanted a private family funeral, but did ask that his other friends and colleagues should “raise a glass” and "not be gloomy".