Thunder & Lightnings

Avro Vulcan - Survivor XM655

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 (formed 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 until 2016.

Sadly from 2016, XM655 had a period of not running for a few years due to the airfield owners (who also own the airframe) seeing pound signs at the prospect of flogging off the land for homes and despite permission to build houses being refused, they 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' plans and forced an agreement that aviation would continue at the site.

During 2020 and between lockdowns, work picked up on the project with the vision of getting her back to taxiing once more. Over a year later, on September the 5th 2021, XM655 made her first fast taxi in nearly 5 years. Unfortunately 2022's event was cancelled as on a practice run she overshot the runway end, ending up just short of the public road. This was due to holding full power for too long due to a faulty airspeed indicator - lessons have been learned! Thankfully the aircraft appears to have escaped any damage, and will hopefully be returning to her fast taxi duties in 2023.

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 02/10/2022, last updated by Damien

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