XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society

Fast Taxi Run 18/05/1997

XM655's second taxi run in 1997 was carried out on the 18th of May. While there was a programme of events, the schedule could not be followed because an accident at Kemble airfield that morning caused a lot of delays for the support crew (who were leaving from Kemble) and caused the non-appearance of Delta Engineering's Hunter, which had been due to display (it too is based at Kemble). However, if there's one thing worth waiting for, it's a Vulcan! B.2 XM655 before the run on 18th May 1997
XM655 on 18th May 1997, before being started up.
Photo: Damien Burke
XM655 getting adopted on 18th May 1997
XM655 being adopted on 18th May 1997.
Photo: Damien Burke
Before she was started up, XM655 was officially adopted by the local ATC squadron (1368 squadron). 1368 provide a great deal of help - not least in crowd control and marshalling on the day!
Shortly after the adoption ceremony, the Houchin Ground Power Unit was started up and XM655 became 'live' once again - you wouldn't think a couple of red beacon lights could get you excited, but... Soon after that, the Palouste starter was fired up (and I do mean fired!) and the roar of that gave a hint of the noise to come! The four Olympus engines were started up in sequence and then run up to what certainly sounded like full power - we had wheelie bins and oil drums bouncing down the taxiway behind XM655... even some of the paint on the taxiway was being blasted off! The noise was incredible - not so much heard as felt! All this before she even moved... The Palouste gets fired up
Flames belch from the Palouste as it is started up Photo: Damien Burke
XM655 begins her run on 18th May 1997 XM655 begins her run on 18th May 1997. Photo: Damien Burke As XM655 rolled down the runway to position for the run, the wind brought the great aroma of jet fumes right into the crowd... as one of the XH558 boys there said - "If this is pollution, I'd like more of it!". Once at the runway end, '655 turned and briefly paused. The sight of a Vulcan lined up on the runway end had the traffic going past the end of the runway slowing down considerably, with two cars practically stationary - naughty people, but I don't blame them!
The run itself was oh-so-brief because of the limited runway length at Wellesbourne Mountford, but even so, a speed of 65 knots was reached before the brakes were applied. We even got a brief blast of that famous Vulcan roar (an elephantine roaring noise created by the airflow into the intakes). With all that action, it was hard to pay much attention to Air Atlantique's Dragon Rapide, a rare Aeronca C.3 displaying, followed by a Yak-52 and Denny Dobson's Pitts Special later in the day! XM655 ending her run 18th May 1997
hit the brakes! - XM655 ending her run on 18th May 1997.
Photo: Damien Burke

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