Thunder & Lightnings

Avro Vulcan

Survivor XM655

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B.2 XM655 - John Littler/655 MaPS (taxiable), Wellesbourne Mountford Aerodrome, Warwickshire

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Vulcan B.2 XM655 at Wellesbourne, 7th May 2021; Jake Wallace

XM655 was the third to last produced and delivered to 9 Squadron at RAF Cottesmore in November 1964. She was transferred to the Waddington Wing in January 1968 and served with 101, 44, and finally 50 Squadron.

She was retired in 1983 and bought by Roy Jacobsen, who had her flown into Wellesbourne Mountford airfield on 11th February 1984, with the intention of flying her on the airshow circuit. Registered as G-VULC, the magnitude of the task of getting her flying under civilian rules was hugely underestimated, and thoughts turned to take her over to America - so she was re-registered as N655AV. Those plans also came to naught and Roy pushed the aircraft aside and buying XL426 instead.

Left to rot at Wellesbourne for many years, eventually, she was transferred to the ownership of the airfield to pay for the accumulated parking fees and was brought back into running condition with help from Delta Engineering (former for this task - the forerunners of Delta Jets). By the end of 1996, she moved under her own power for the first time since 1984. XM655 has come along very well since then, she is substantially complete (she even has a bomb bay full of fibreglass bombs) and was regularly fast-taxied.

From 2016, XM655 had a period of not running for a few years due to the airfield owners (who also own the airframe) saw pound signs at the prospect of flogging off the land for homes and despite permission to build houses being refused, they've pushed hard to destroy the airfield and its resident businesses. With the unknown future of the airport at the time, taxing and events stopped, however, the dedicated volunteers still maintained and exercised her as regularly as they could. Thankfully the local council put a stop to the airport owners from demolishing the aerodrome and forced an agreement that to continue aviation at the site in the face of a threat of a compulsory purchase order.

During 2020 and between pandemics, work picked up on the project with the vision of getting her back taxiing once more. Over a year later, on September the 5th 2021, XM655 made its first fast taxi in nearly 5 years, this was a great success which many were pleased to hear about!

XM655's future was unknown at points in her history at Wellesbourne, but the volunteers are working with the airport owners to keep her safe for the future so many more generations can experience a running Vulcan.

You can keep up to date with this project on the Avro Vulcan XM655 Official Site Facebook Page.

Information on this page current as of 14/09/2021, last updated by Jake

Find other photos of XM655 on the following sites:

Air-Britain - Airliners.net - Airplane-Pictures.net - flickr.com - WorldAirPics.com - JetPhotos.net - PlanePictures.net