Thunder & Lightnings

Avro Vulcan

Survivor XL445

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K.2 XL445 - RAF Scampton Heritage Centre, RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire

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Vulcan K.2 XL445 at Flixton, 2010; Garry O'Keefe

XL445 was delivered to 27 Squadron at RAF Scampton in November 1962. She was built with Olympus 201 series engines and Blue Steel capability, and later converted to free-fall weapons in November 1965. She joined the Waddington Wing in September 1966 and then the Cottesmore Wing in April 1968 before moving to RAF Akrotiri in January 1969. She returned to Scampton after that, joining 35 Squadron. After a period on loan to RAF Waddington in 1977 she was transferred to 232 OCU in October 1978, returning to 35 Squadron in July 1981. She moved again, this time to 44 Squadron at RAF Waddington, in November 1981.

With the loading put on the Victor tanker force due to the Falklands war, more tankers were needed so in May 1982 she was flown to Woodford conversion to K.2 status and then delivered to 50 Squadron, serving with them until March 1984.

After the end of her active service she was retired to the fire dump at RAF Lyneham for rescue training duties, and scrapped there in 1987. The nose was preserved and XL445 was for some years at the Blyth Valley Aviation Collection at Walpole and by 2005 was the last item there before moving to Flixton.

XL445 (service nickname - Fireball XL445 - of course!) is the only K.2 in existence (unless you count XH558 which was a K.2 before being converted back to near-B.2 status). Thanks to N&SAM's talented staff, a major programme began at Flixton in September 2009 which saw a quantum-leap in the external restoration of XL445, beginning with her having her rear boarded over to improve her appearance, with a multitude of filling, sealing and other repairs made to her exterior and canopy, and her cracked portholes replaced by perspex replacements. Flixton's 'chippies' comprising Ron Ward, Tony Roberts and David Hardisty, began work on XL445's rear, while David Dawson drove things on in general while looking at the sealing and repair of holes and rents etc, as he repaired her TFR fairing and fibreglass shroud before remounting them with appropriate sealer, prior to repainting. He also made a plug for her un-mounted refuelling probe.

The wash/paint team of Peter Nobbs and Gwen Jackson became involved after the rear-sealing, with a thorough wash as assisted by Alan Haynes. Much filling, sanding and rubbing down ensued, before proper BS paint ordered from Witham paints, was later brought to bear over a green primer, to give her the wraparound Dark Sea Grey/Dark Green camo scheme that she had last worn in RAF service. Some notable missing items (to any Vulcan spotter anyway) were the two pitot heads as angled on the lower sides of the XL445, and ahead of the radome area. Alan Haynes painted the roundels back on after skin repairs and some aluminium right-angled rain deflector strips were added along XL445's lower flanks to give long-term protection to the underside/hatch area from water runs.

Sadly 8 years of external display left her rather faded and grubby, but in 2018 she moved to the Heritage Centre at RAF Scampton, where a strip down and repaint is now underway.

Information on this page current as of 16/01/2021

Find other photos of XL445 on the following sites:

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