Thunder & Lightnings

Avro Vulcan - Survivor XL319

B.2 XL319 - North East Land Sea & Air Museum, Sunderland Airport, Tyne & Wear

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Vulcan B.2 XL319 at North East Land Sea & Air Museum, 6th July 2019; Adam Poultney

XL319 was delivered to the RAF in October 1961 and served with 617, 44 and 83 Squadrons at Waddington and Scampton. Flown into retirement at the Museum in January 1983, and sadly it's had a bit of a rough beginning to her retirement days. The airframe has suffered some amount of vandalism during the 1990s which has resulted in two of her front window panels getting smashed. The British weather hasn't helped her either, with her paint fading really badly and no repaint plan in sight, and during the winter of 2009/10, heavy snowfall tipped the airframe onto her tail, damaging the ECM bay doors.

In August 2011, it was announced that a restoration and repaint project would commence. This has been a rather lengthy task with the repaint still not being completed 10 years later, but working with an aircraft of this size, in the British weather makes it quite a challenging project! Work did temporarily stop in 2016 while the museum had talks with the local council to secure a future for the museum, and thankfully this was soon sorted. After a lot of work and effort, engine No.4 was fully restored and was even run, 36 years after it last turned - XL319 was alive! Sadly, there has been no more engine runs since, and there are no plans to ever run again.

The paintwork has certainly made the airframe much more presentable. However, there are still areas where she is suffering, such as her port pitot tube which is just about hanging on! The cockpit is not in a hugely poor state but is due to get some TLC over the coming months, such as repainting some of the panels where the gauges sit.

Information on this page current as of 27/06/2022, last updated by Jake

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