Thunder & Lightnings

Avro Vulcan - Survivor XL388

B.2 XL388 - South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum, AeroVenture Doncaster, South Yorkshire

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Vulcan B.2 XL388 at South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum, 22nd September 2023; Jake Wallace

Delivered to the RAF in June 1962, XL388 served with 9 Squadron at RAF Coningsby and later 44 Squadron at RAF Waddington. She was one of the Blue Steel capable aircraft, initially painted in anti-flash and ending her career in the uppersurface green & grey camouflage scheme.

XL388 was retired in April 1982, being flown into RAF Honington for fire practice duties. She was then sold as scrap in June 1985 to Swefeling Engineering Group and the nose section was saved by the Blyth Valley Aviation Collection, becoming their first Vulcan project until the owner passed away; his father kept it on though XL388 was on the back burner while XL445 received most of his attention, being in better overall condition to start with.

The visual bomb aiming blister was crushed and access to the cockpit wasn't possible. Put up for sale in 2002, she was moved to the Aeroventure museum (now SYAM) in Doncaster in April 2003. She remained in much the same condition until 2017, when an in-depth restoration was begun.

This included a full repaint into the 1963 'Mayflower III' scheme worn for a commemorative trip to Boston (Massachusetts) to celebrate RAF Coningsby being awarded the freedom of Boston (Lincs!) and full fit-out of the cockpit for all stations. The crushed bomb aimers blister was replaced completely, and the damage to the radome has been repaired.

Since the main restoration was completed in December 2018, work has been ongoing to restore electrical power to the cockpit and reintroduce some level of functionality to 388 to enhance the visitor experience. All will be done in keeping with the cockpit, so it will still look and feel like a Vulcan should.

Information on this page current as of 30/10/2023, last updated by Jake

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