Thunder & Lightnings

Avro Vulcan - Survivor XM602

B.2 XM602 - Avro Heritage Museum, Woodford, Cheshire

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Vulcan B.2 XM602 at Avro Heritage Museum, 10th February 2024; Jake Wallace

Delivered to the RAF in late 1963, XM602 was retired in January 1982 to St Athan where she was used for spares recovery, before going to the Historic Aircraft Museum a few months later, wearing the maintenance number 8771M.

Unfortunately, in 1992, XM602 was scrapped and reduced down to a cockpit section. The cockpit was then transported to the Avro Heritage Society in 1993 where it was housed in a small building, being wheeled out for display at the annual airshow. The co-pilot's seat had been removed to ease access for visitors and lots of the rear crew's instruments were missing but otherwise, the interior was in good condition.

With the draw-down of operations at Woodford and the end of airshows there, she became a travelling exhibit and later was put on loan to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust at Bruntingthorpe who were restoring XH558 to flying conditions. Whilst under the care of VTTST, she was used as a crew escape and familiarisation trainer, and also as part of the educational facilities at Bruntingthorpe.

When the Trust moved away from Bruntingthorpe, XM602 was set to return up North to her birthplace - or near it - and be put on display at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. The cockpit went into storage at the museum whilst they waited for acceptance for a lottery-funded expansion of the Air & Space Gallery. Sadly, this was never accepted, leaving the cockpit in storage for several more years.

Happily, during 2013, XM602 emerged from storage at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry and was relocated to the Avro Heritage Museum at Woodford, where it could be reunited with her sister ship - XM603.

Thankfully, the cockpit of XM602 did manage to end up undercover within the museum's building where it can be seen in excellent condition. The volunteers give guided tours of the Vulcan cockpit throughout the day which you can book. The back of the cockpit has been cut through to make for a more 'walk-in' experience, making access and viewing slightly easier. However, the cockpit is so snug within the building, that viewing it externally or even snapping a photo of the section proves nearly impossible. The image above was taken during a recent night photography event, making XM602 much more viewable as the sun fell behind the horizon.

Information on this page current as of 10/02/2024, last updated by Jake

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