Thunder & Lightnings

Avro Vulcan - Survivor XA903

B.1 XA903 - Stoneykirk Aviation Museum, Stoneykirk, Stranraer

Click for previous survivorSurvivor imageClick for next survivor

Vulcan B.1 XA903 at Wales Aircraft Museum , 1989; Francis Wallace

XA903 was the last B.1 to fly, being used as a flying testbed for the Olympus engines used on Concorde. Flown for a while with the underslung Olympus installation, that made her a five-Olympus aircraft!

After her last flight, XA903 survived for some time at Farnborough for ground training and became ever more decrepit until she was finally scrapped in 1984. Thankfully the cockpit section survived and was moved to the Wales Aircraft Museum until it moved on to mega Vulcan fan, Colin Mears who sat it in his back garden. When Colin was planning to leave the UK, XA903 was then bought by mega Vulcan fan Paul Hartley, which is when it left Colin's lawn to join the Wellesbourne Wartime Museum, not far from XM655. By 2011 she had changed hands again and was moved to a private location near Stranraer, which later turned into the Stoneykirk Aviation Museum, also known as 2av8. At this point, XA903 was in generally good nick inside but had suffered some exterior damage, particularly to the canopy, and had been estimated as needing 2,500 man-hours to restore her to complete condition. While at Wellesbourne she was therefore an ongoing restoration project - this was been continued by the then-new owner who managed to get her undercover, repainted, and began working on the interior.

Today, XA903 is still kept undercover where is has been raised on some metal framework back to the correct height - and only just fits inside the building. It is on public display along with a handful of other cockpit sections.

The old photo above shows XA903 at the Wales Aircraft Museum in 1989.

Information on this page current as of 09/05/2022, last updated by Jake

Find other photos of XA903 on the following sites:

Air-Britain - - - - - -