XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society

Wings and Wheels 2006 18/06/2006

Wings & Wheels 2006
Per Ardua... (photo: Jeff Williams)

Preparing XM655
Photo: Jeff Williams
Talking to many people after the event was over, it was generally agreed that this was the best show yet at Wellesbourne with XM655 being displayed to perfection by David Thomas. Full power and nosewheel well raised was just what the crowd of over 2,000 had come to see and hear on a warm and dry afternoon. Earlier in the day, a slow speed run with plenty of stops had set the cameras clicking and given everyone a chance to watch the aircraft. But the event also had a second role to play. As well as our usual crew of David Thomas, Mike Pollitt and Barry Masefield, we had on board Martin Withers and Martin Andrews who were receiving refresher training for the the time when XH558 is returned to flying status. XM655 is already playing an important part in the efforts to put a Vulcan back into the air.
Although 655 is really the star of the day, there were plenty of other attractions for the crowd to see. Gary Lewis had assembled a remarkable display of over 200 Classic Cars and Military Vehicles ranging from bubble cars to an enormous self propelled Abbott 105mm Gun. Try putting that in your garage! Also on display among the vehicles was Corporal Jones' Dads Army Van from the television programme Dads Army. Many thanks to all the owners, some of whom had travelled long distances to be at the show.

This year Richard Dick had arranged for a number of aircraft to be on Static Display including a Beaver from the Army Air Corps Classic Flight, a Stearman 17 from Tony Poulson, an L4 Piper Cub flown in by Dave Puleston and an Auster flown by Martin Slater. Members of the Army Air Corps Blue Eagles display team arrived in the Gazelle with their usual dust cloud. Their Lynx which should have accompanied it had unfortunately gone U/S at Middle Wallop. Air Atlantique who have been staunch supporters of our event brought along the DC-3 Dakota for static while giving pleasure flights in their Dove and Rapide. A pair of Bulldogs from Shawbury and the South Warwickshire Flying School completed the line-up. Big disappointment was the P-40 Kittyhawk which was flown in by Peter Teichman but was prevented from joining the display due to a mix-up with Air Traffic Control.
Self propelled Abbott 105mm Gun
Photo: Jeff Williams

Visiting Aircraft
Selection of visiting aircraft (all photos: Jeff Williams)

Throughout the whole of the day an excellent and very informative commentary was given by Captain Dave Rowland who as a former Concorde Captain and a classic car owner could hardy have better credentials for the job. Many thanks Dave. Thanks are also due to the aircrew and groundcrew who made sure that 655 gave of her best and to all the people behind the scenes of 655MaPS who worked so hard to plan and organise the event.

In the Pink
Photo: Jeff Williams
Once again we are greatly indebted to the Officers and Cadets of the Air Training Corps whose tireless work in parking 1,000 cars, controlling the pay points and ensuring an orderly departure of the crowd after the show, received the highest praise from MaPS and from members of the public. A cadet who collapsed was airlifted by Air Ambulance to a local hospital and made a rapid recovery from an asthma attack. Prompt attention by the on-site St Johns Ambulance team was greatly appreciated.
A.T.C. Squadrons in attendance were: 163 (Coventry), 1046 (Wolverhampton), 1289 (Stratford on Avon) and 1368 (Warwick). All in all a very good weekend which seemed to please the members of the public who came along to see 655 strut her stuff and in doing so, brought in much needed funds which will enable the engineers to continue the work on the aircraft. This work goes on throughout the year by the volunteer engineers who put so much time and effort into Avro Vulcan XM655. A dedicated Photographer
Photo: Jeff Williams

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