XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society

Countdown to Wings and Wheels 2015

Avro Vulcan B.Mk2 XM655 News

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.

Ben Lovering formates on XH558
for a photo-shoot

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.

19/04/2015 Bugatti Owners Club Visit No.7

The Vulcan seems to be a magnet to all Bugatti Owners Club Members, with this Sunday seeing the 7th. time they have visited us.

Despite the previous day having been wonderfully warm and sunny, our twenty-four visitors arrived in a freezing cold NorthEasterly wind which didn't let up all day.

Charles welcomes
While Charles briefs our visitors, Roger and Alex are busy fitting new mainwheel tyres.
Copyright© Av Magill


“Mumbai” John photographs the visitors
Before entering the cockpit to host all the cockpit tours, John takes a group photograph for one of the group.
Copyright© Av Magill

John hosted all the cockpit tours whilst Edward, Len, Alex, and Damaris took each group in turn through their speciality, and Isi and Hayley manned the shop.

There were no Bugattis with us this time, but one visitor did arrive in his Caterham Super Seven which was duly arranged before XM655 for a photograph.

No Bugatti, but a Caterham Super Seven 7
The single Caterham Super Seven 7 gets to star with XM655.
Copyright© Av Magill

19/04/2015 Vulcan to the Sky Club

With both morning and afternoon visits from the VTTSC members, and lots of engineering work in preparation for a rapidly approaching Wings and Wheels, we were very grateful that our two regular pilots of Wg Cdr Mike Pollitt RAF (Retd.) and former Vulcan QFI Flt Lt Nick Dennis RAF(Retd), agreed to host all the cockpit tours between them, Nick taking the morning stint and Mike the afternoon 'shift'.

As usual, following a welcome from Charles, each group got to see a Systems Demonstration. This consists of running and exercising the Powered Flying Controls (PFCs), running exterior lighting, extending the airbrakes and opening the bomb doors.

The Systems Demo
Our visitors watch as the huge control surfaces are moved
Copyright©Clive Hanley

Following the systems demonstration, the visitors divided themselves into groups of four, this being the maximum number we can take into the cockpit.

Nick takes the sun before entering the cockpit
Nick takes a few moments in the sun before entering the cockpit
Copyright©Clive Hanley

Whilst each group in turn had their cockpit visits, other groups were told about the Vulcan during the Cold War by Len, the Black Buck Falklands raids by Dave, Vulcan history by Damaris, and Isi manned the Visitors' Centre.

Occasionally, some of our younger visitors get the opportunity to sit astride our 1,000 lb. (inert!) bomb.

One to make the classmates envious!
One to make the classmates envious!
Copyright©Clive Hanley

As always, it is a pleasure to talk about and show off our Vulcan to enthusiastic visitors, and they don't come much more enthusiastic than members of the VTTSC!

As it sometimes proves difficult to get everyone together at the end of a visit, we have started arranging for the group photo to be taken immediately after the systems demonstration.

The two groups
The morning and afternoon groups take their photo call.
Copyright©Clive Hanley

28/02/2015 Tewkesbury and Dowty ATC Squadrons Visit

Two ATC squadrons, 785 (Tewkesbury) and 2322 (Dowty) Sqns. joined forces this week to visit XM655. The 4 Dowty Sqn cadets were tasked by Charles to find Dowty plates on the aircraft.

As it was an ATC visit, our regular captain, Wg Cdr Mike Pollitt RAF (Retd.) joined us to give the cadets their cockpit tours, whilst one group were shown around a Cessna at the South Warwickshire Flying School and Len gave those not in the cockpit or at SWFS, a tour of the exterior and told them something of the Vulcan in service, its armaments and counter measures.

the briefing
Charles welcomes the 9 cadets and 2 instructors whilst Mike Pollitt (right) warms up with a coffee!
Copyright © Av Magill

As the cadets watched the operation of the air brakes during the systems demonstration, all their mobiles appeared as they took their photographs!

the systems demo
Photo Opportunity!
Copyright © Av Magill

Dowty Sqn Cadets
The 2322 (Dowty) Sqn cadets with Charles
Copyright © Av Magill

Tewkesbury Sqn Cadets
The 785 (Tewkesbury) Sqn cadets with their two instructors.
Copyright © Av Magill

The photo of the Tewkesbury cadets unusually also shows the upper-surface air brakes and the deployed ram air turbine (RAT).

All Cadets
Both Squadrons along with their two instructors.
Copyright © Av Magill

21/02/2015 Megapixles Visit

The 21st of February saw XM655 at the mercy of an invasion of cameras as the Megapixles photography group visited

Eric opted to host most of the cockpit tours on this occasion, (possibly because it was quite cold outside!) whilst 'Bovril' took the middle visit

Charles' Briefing
Eric waits for Charles to finish his briefing so he can get out of the wind!
Copyright © Av Magill

However, before Eric could install himself in the cockpit, he had the additional task of being crew chief for the systems demonstration. In addition to the usual routine of flying controls, exterior lights, air brakes and bomb doors, Isi also ran the Rover AAPP (Airborne Auxiliary Power Pack) whilst Charles looked on

Once the systems demonstration was complete, the group split themselves into smaller groups of four for the cockpit tours with Eric, whilst those not in the cockpit endeavoured to find a shot of the Vulcan that nobody else had!

Photographers Galore!
Photographers Galore!
Copyright © Av Magill

A rather less than formal group shot completed the visit with a little mutual snapping taking place!

Mutual Admiration!
Av both snaps and gets snapped!
Copyright © Av Magill

14/02/2015 Winter Spice

The mayhem of the 30-car crash on the M40, which closed the North-bound carriageway for several hours both delayed our first Spice visit of the year, and slightly reduced the number in the group. However, 12 of the expected 16 members eventually made it to Wellesbourne and the visit was only delayed by some 45 minutes.

Spice Group Visitors
The ones who made it!
Copyright © Av Magill

Damaris demonstrates the Bomb Bay
Damaris impresses the visitors with her knowledge of H.E.Bombs!
Copyright © Av Magill

With Eric and Charles both being absent, little engineering work was done during the day, and Isi was called on to be AEO for the systems demonstration, a role that she performed admirably...!.

Phil explains the Palouste
Phil explains the Palouste and engine starting.
Copyright © Av Magill

For Past News Items please see the Archives page

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