XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society

Avro Vulcan B.Mk2 XM655 News

XM655 Closed to Visitors on November 1st, 15th, and 22nd

We have private events scheduled for three Saturdays in the next few weeks - 1 November, 15 November and 22 November - we regret that owing to the nature of these visits we will be closed to all other visitors on these three Saturdays. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

XM655 Under Threat!

Wellesbourne Matters

Wellesbourne Airfield is under the very real threat of being closed to make way for a very large housing development. You can help to prevent that from happening.
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Avro Vulcan B.Mk2 XM655 Night Shoot at Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, 15th November 2014

Night shoot

As part of our 50th Anniversary Celebrations we are having a late afternoon/twilight photo shoot which has been organised by 655 MaPS in collaboration with Time Line Events. Time Line Events specialise in organising one-off events, they have re-enactors who will be dressed in the correct clothing for the period the event is covering.

At our event there will be a series of scenarios with the re-enactors posing for each one. The event will be on 15th November 2014 and is due to start at 3pm until 8pm.

This event is priced at £50.00 for non-members or £40.00 for 655 MaPS members.

Members who are interested can contact me by email - membership@xm655.com or mobile - 07804686222 (evenings only) for a one time use code.

You will need to register on the Time Line Events web page by 31st October 2014.

Ben Lovering formates on XH558
for a photo-shoot

558 with Christen Eagle

See here for the full story and stunning photographs!

About Avro Vulcan B.Mk2 XM655

Avro Vulcan XM655 was third from last of the Vulcan bombers produced for the Royal Air Force, being delivered in late 1964, and was part of the UK's nuclear deterrent force throughout the 1960s and 1970s. It is now owned by Wellesbourne Airfield, and is looked after by 655 Maintenance and Preservation Society (655MaPS) which is a volunteer organisation of Vulcan enthusiasts.

XM655 is one of the few Vulcans remaining in ground running condition, the only one with the most powerful of the engine variants (Bristol Olympus 301s) and 655MaPS aim to keep it running for as long as possible. The aircraft systems are powered up and exercised regularly, engine ground runs are carried out several times every year, and a "Fast Taxi" event is carried out every summer to show off the aircraft and raise funds to support its preservation.

XM655 is maintained by a small team of skilled and dedicated volunteers, many of whom are ex-RAF, (some even ex-V-Force personnel and one of whom actually worked on XM655 in service), who give up their Saturdays to preserving XM655.

26/10/2014 The Bugatti Owners Club

For a change we had a Sunday visit. Frank Ashley returned for the sixth time with a group from the Bugatti Owners Club

As a recognition of Frank's support over the years, he has now been made an honorary member of 655MaPS and presented with a certificate of recognition

Following the presentation to Frank, the visit followed our normal format of systems demonstration followed by splitting the group into fours, each with its own volunteer to stay with them for the cockpit tour, aircraft exterior, and video.

The bomb doors opening

The group watch the bomb doors opening
Copyright © Av Magill


Bob's Group

Bob's group by our 1000lb. bomb
Copyright © Av Magill

There were 24 members of the group visiting us this time, and although none had arrived with a Bugatti on this occasion, they had brought along a 1929 MG 'M' Type and a 1928 Austin 7

Group photo

Frank with his certificate and the rest of our visitors
Copyright © Av Magill

18/10/2014 Jaguar Land Rover Group

A group of 14 enthusiast from JLR arrived on the morning of the 18th. but not in a convoy of either Land Rovers or Jaguars!

Of course, as they were from JLR, we had to run the Rover Airborne Auxiliary Power pack (AAPP) as part of the systems demonstration.

Eric checks the landing lamps

Eric checks the landing lamps
Copyright © Av Magill


After the visitors had had their cockpit tours in groups of four, Eric as our Chief Engineer gave the group details on the Olympus engines.

Eric talks to the group about the engines

Eric talks to the group about the engines
Copyright © Av Magill


Group photo

The group photograph with XM655
Copyright © Av Magill


27/09/2014 Vale of Evesham Round Table

Saturday saw the Vale of Evesham Round Table members visiting XM655 and after Charles had welcomed them, we had a change from the usual crew for the systems demonstration, which found Len on the long lead performing the crew chief duties whilst Isi was in the AEO's seat and Kay as P1, with Charles in the cockpit with them lending a hand where required as neither had done a systems demonstration previously.

Charles welcomes the visitors
Charles welcomes our visitors.
Copyright©Av Magill


Without an aircrew volunteer to do the cockpit tours, we reverted to our more usual system of the volunteers taking their group of 4 through all the areas of interest.

Len talks about the nuclear capabilities
Len talks about the nuclear capabilities.
Copyright©Av Magill


Kay points out the equipment
Kay points out the equipment in the nose-wheel bay
Copyright©Av Magill

 

20/08/2014 Vulcan Explorer Scouts Visit

With plenty of volunteers on hand now the airshow season has come to an end, we can manage some engineering work and show visitors round XM655. Today it was a group of Explorer Scouts from Brackley, Northamptonshire who joined us.

scout briefing
Charles briefs the visitors and introduces them to Our regular pilot, Wg Cdr Mike Pollitt RAF (Retd.)
Copyright©Av Magill


This group came along to this years Wings and Wheels day and being a Vulcan group (complete with a Vulcan on the back of their neckerchiefs!) they obviously feel some affection for 655.

Mike had once again volunteered to do all the cockpit tours for us whilst Len, Jon, Kay, Bob and Isi each told the individual groups of four about specific areas of the Vulcan, with the groups moving on to the next volunteer every 15 minutes.

scout inspection
The scouts line up for inspection to the amusement of Kay and Jon
Copyright©Av Magill


Mike is invested
Showing appreciation of his cockpit tours, Mike is invested into the Explorer Scouts and presented with his neckerchief
Copyright©Av Magill


photo call
Visitors and volunteers line up for the photo-call.
Copyright©Av Magill


Meanwhile, Nick, Haley and Edward continued with corrosion prevention measures and Bry with the re-manufacture of the trailing edge of No.3 elevon and Roger and Ben with fitting new tyres to the towing arm.

 

23/08/2014 The International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians Visit

The International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians flew into Wellesbourne from all over the UK to visit XM655.

Nick Dennis, an ex-Vulcan Pilot and regular member of our aircrew, came along for the day to help out and kindly agreed to do the cockpit tours.

We started by giving a systems demonstration, which had a sketchy start as the Houchin Ground Power Unit had some problems, however Top Gun (Ben) managed to get things sorted and the Vulcan was able to give everyone a little wave.

The Volunteers took various positions around the aircraft and spent time with our guests showing off their specialist knowledge (or just proving to the general public that we are all just a bunch of Vulcan geeks!)

flying Rotarians
Nick shows his group the bomb-bay.
Copyright©Av Magill


Then came the photo call before the group had to make their way back to their own aircraft to make their journey home.

our visitors
Our visitors line up for the Photo Call.
Copyright©Av Magill


09/08/2014 Triumph Sports Six Club (Herts and Beds Area)

We were visited on Saturday by 22 members of the Herts and Beds Area Triumph Sports Six Club, who arrived in 10 cars (not all of them Triumphs!).

Our regular pilot, Wg Cdr Mike Pollitt RAF (Retd.) had manfully volunteered to do all 6 cockpit tours, so to ensure he didn't suffer heat exhaustion, we got the cockpit cooler running by 09.00 hrs.
Charles welcomed our visitors, and as we were intending to run the Rover Auxiliary Airborne Power Pack (AAPP) ear defenders were issued to all who requested them

Mike points out the AAPP exhaust
Mike points out the AAPP exhaust.
Copyright©Av Magill


Following the Systems Demonstration, Mike established himself in the cockpit with just a bottle of water for sustenance and the first group of four visitors joined him for their cockpit tour. Meanwhile Len, Ben, Jon, Bry and Kay established themselves at various points around the aircraft to talk about their "specialists subjects", whilst the groups of four moved from one volunteer to the next

Len points out the location of the nose leg
Len explains why it was impossible for the rear crew to successfully escape from
the Vulcan if the nose undercarriage leg was extended.

Copyright©Av Magill


Once all groups had completed the full tour, the vehicles were driven round and parked up in front of XM655 for the photo call

The photo call
The Photo Call.
Copyright©Av Magill


26/07/2014 Briskoda Skoda Owners forum

Even by 08:00 we knew it was going to be a 'roaster' of a day and so by 08:30 we had the cooler blowing into the cockpit and the D/V windows removed so we could get a little airflow through the aircraft, ready for our visitors who were due to arrive at 10:30.

As Charles was back with us, he welcomed our visitors and managed to control his natural urge to repeat very old Skoda jokes!

Charles welcomes the visitors
Charles welcomes the visitors.
Copyright©Av Magill


When we came to carry out the systems demonstration, we discovered the intercom was playing up, and so we had to revert to a system of hand and voice signals relayed from cockpit to crew chief via Roger standing at the bottom of the cockpit steps.

Roger acts as relay
Roger relays messages between cockpit and pan whilst Ben watches the bomb doors opening.
Copyright©Av Magill


Following the systems run, each of our visitors (in groups of four) received a cockpit tour. Even with the cooler blowing at full blast, the temperature in the cockpit soon became a little uncomfortable

Once everyone had had a cockpit tour, our visitors brought their vehicles onto the pan for the usual photo-call.

The photocall
The vehicles lined up before XM655.
Copyright©Av Magill


After lunch, Ben and Len checked all the intercom fuses, and then tested the intercom which was then working fine, except for the Nav Radar's station. When Tim arrived, Len and Tim replaced the Nav Radar's station box without improvement, and so further diagnostics will be required.

19/07/2014 Triumph Owners Motorbikes Club (South East)

Well, it started out reasonably dry for the 24 hardy souls from the Triumph Owners Motorbikes Club who visited XM655 on Saturday - unfortunately the dry weather wasn't to last!

Len welcomes members of the Triumph Owners Motorbikes Club
Len welcomes members of the Triumph Owners Motorbikes Club
Copyright© Av Magill

The volunteers were joined by Nick Dennis, an ex-Vulcan Pilot, who we had “press-ganged” into doing all the cockpit tours. Many thanks for your valuable assistance, Nick. Despite the lack of sunshine, the humidity had made it quite uncomfortably warm in the cockpit, so we brought out the cooler to give some temperature control and airflow around the area.

The remainder of the volunteers took up various positions around the aircraft, each talking about their “Vulcan specialist subject” to groups of 4 visitors, who would then move on to the next volunteer.

Once the tours were completed, our visitors brought their machines over to the aircraft for the photo-call. This was the signal for the heavens to open and the start of a mega thunderstorm!

Av braves the downpour
Av valiantly braves the downpour to take the photo!
Copyright© Av Magill

Within minutes of the storm starting, the aircraft pan was becoming flooded, and one lightning strike briefly put out the power to the airfield.

A very wet pan
A very wet pan!
Copyright© Av Magill

Once all the bikes were neatly lined up under '655's port wing, Av again ventured out into the downpour to take a photo.

A posse of Triumphs
A posse of Triumphs!
Copyright© Av Magill

28/06/2014 Chipping Camden Mens Keep Fit Group Visit

Saturday morning saw our female volunteers getting quite excited at the thoughts of a visit by the Chipping Camden Mens Keep Fit Group and there did appear to be a little extra make-up in evidence! We think they were expecting a group of young body-builders!

Still without our Chairman and Chief Engineer, it once again fell to Len to welcome our visitors and give them a little history of XM655.

Len welcomes the visitors
Len welcomes the Chipping Camden Mens Keep Fit Group
Copyright© Av Magill

Once the Systems Demonstration of the powered flying controls, air brakes, bomb doors, navigation and landing lights was completed, our visitors split up into groups of 3 or 4, each with a volunteer, to be shown around the aircraft and given a cockpit tour.

Jon shows off the ECM bay
Jon tells our visitors about the Vulcan's Electronic Counter Measures
Copyright© Av Magill

As the weather was very mixed, with a series of heavy, but fortunately short, downpours, we were lucky to get a dry spell for the group to have their photo-call.

The group photo-call
The Chipping Camden Mens Keep Fit Group and friends
Copyright© Bry Hull

21/06/2014 1st Whitnash Scout Group Visit

17 scouts and leaders from the 1st Whitnash Scout Group came along to Wellesbourne on Saturday and brought perfect weather with them.

We were a little short of volunteers on the day, which meant that Len welcomed our visitors in lieu of Charles and for the usual systems demonstration, a slightly nervous Bry took the AEO seat for the first time, with Roger 'Bovril' Bowen on the long lead and Len in his usual position as P1.

Bry needn't have been nervous as he did a fine job as AEO!

Len explains how the elevons work
Len explains how the elevons work when the aircraft banks to his group of four.
Image Copyright© Av Magill.


The scouts line up in front of XM655
The scouts line up in front of XM655 for their photo-call.
Image Copyright© Av Magill.


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