XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society

Wings and Wheels 2010 20/06/2010

Well, we got this one right! Since 2005, we have struggled to get all our ducks in a row for a good fast taxy demonstration. Finally for the first time in five we had unseasonably good summer weather for June, i.e. it was warm, dry and sunny, with light winds along the runway and not across it! Last year's H&S concerns had been professionally and competently dealt with. The aircraft was in fine fettle. The aircrew was confident. A video camera was fitted to the underside of the starboard wing. It was all systems go, and the result was a beautiful demonstration of an Avro Vulcan B2 doing what it does best: making a lot of noise and looking extremely graceful as it tantalisingly approaches the fine line where it becomes a flying thing of beauty... but not quite, as after 9 seconds of almost full power and 7 seconds of aerodynamic braking, XM655 once again becomes firmly anchored to the ground by her own weight (reduced, of course, by a couple of tons in the previous ten minutes).

Wings & Wheels 2010

If you weren't able to be there on 20th June then please have a look at the YouTube video made by Roger Bowen during the Fast Taxy demonstration - it's pretty impressive. The picture above will give you an idea of what to expect.

The only little hitch, which with perfect timing made itself known at the worst possible moment, was when a circuit breaker on the Houchin GPU decided to do what circuit breakers do, just as the main engines were being started for the fast taxy. This caused a 45 minute delay whilst the fault was traced to the circuit breaker which, once reset, gave no further problems!

Wings & Wheels 2010 was a resounding success. The day's proceedings were accompanied by our now regular and most enthusiastic commentator, Dave Rowland, he of Concorde and Royal Aeronautical Society fame - what would we do without you, Dave?

Wings & Wheels 2010

We also had a record-breaking number of Classic Vehicles attending the show - a huge thank you to our very own Richard Galazka for organising the Classic Vehicles for the third year running. Well done to the winner of the best vehicle in show, Richard Orford with his immaculate Austin Healey 100M, his prize was presented to him by David Thomas.

Attendance was up 25% on 2009, and although we had less flying in/ out/over the airfield than last year, Wings & Wheels seemed to be enjoyed by all who attended. We were delighted to be able to help the Royal Air Forces Association, Help For Heroes, the Royal British Legion Bikers Branch and finally, the Vulcan to the Sky Club, who all raised much needed funds for their own charitable needs.

We were also pleased to be part of the plot which allowed Pam Thomas to be able to see her husband at work in the cockpit of a Vulcan for the first time ever - see Pam's first-hand account elsewhere in this Newsletter.

Wings & Wheels 2010

We had fantastic support (and indeed would not be able to run Wings & Wheels without this support) from four Air Training Corps Squadrons from around the Midlands. Thank you to the Officers, NCOs and Cadets of 1460 Banbury, 1368 Warwick, 29(F) Rugby, and 1046 Fordhouses (Wolverhampton) Squadrons. We were able to give some of the Cadets an exclusive cockpit tour of 655 on the Saturday evening when they arrived to camp at the airfield - we hope they enjoyed the experience.

Charles Brimson (thanks to Clive Hanley for the photos)

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