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Handley Page Victor - Survivor XL164

K.2 XL164 - Bournemouth Aviation Museum, Hurn, Dorset

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Victor K.2 XL164 at Bournemouth Aviation Museum, 6th June 2022; Damien Burke

Built as a B.2 and first flown from Radlett in May 1961, XL164 had her first taste of fame with a display at that year's Farnborough Airshow. She was retained by HP for trials work, mostly on autopilots, operating from Boscombe Down in 1964/1964.

Slated to enter service with the RAF, she was modified for Blue Steel carriage but then entered storage and was never to enter service as a bomber. In 1972 she was selected for conversion to a tanker and after HP went bankrupt, flown to Woodford for the conversion to K.2 standard. She then entered service with 57 Squadron at RAF Marham in 1977. She switched back and forth between 57 and 55 Squadron throughout her career.

In 1982 she saw action as one of the tankers used during the Falklands War, supporting the Black Buck raids (numbers 2 and 6) and also carrying out maritime recce sorties from Ascension Island. She later saw service in the 1991 Gulf War, and gained nose art on her port nose as a result - "Saucy Sal".

Ending her days with 55 Squadron, she was retired in 1993 and was flown to RAF Brize Norton for ground instructional use. However, she was scrapped in August 1995. The nose section was quite badly damaged during the scrapping process, but was saved by Peter Vallance of the Gatwick Aviation Museum regardless, and transported to Gatwick where she remained in open storage.

With the Museum's successful efforts to stay in existence despite threats from the local council, part of the compromise agreement was a reduction in size of the collection there, and so she was put up for sale in 2011. She moved on in 2013 - this time to the Bournemouth Aviation Museum. Whilst there, she's had some skin damaged patched and the lower nose section reattached, but clearly there is much work still left to do.

Information on this page current as of 16/06/2022, last updated by Damien

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