XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society

Fast Taxi Run 2004 20/06/2004

We carried out an Engine Ground Run (EGR) on Saturday 19th and the aircraft passed with flying colours. All we had to do was put her to bed and catch up with the aircrew that evening for a pint or two. The DC-3 arrived and was also parked up ready for the events on Sunday.

All through the week local radio station Bear 102FM carried our event on their Bulletin Board broadcast. The Vulcan To The Sky Club also helped out by publicising the event.

Sunday morning was a 7am start. The road sweeper turned up on time, as did all the classic cars and traders. Shame the fresh donut man didn't make it! The aircrew convinced us that it would be good to taxi XM655 over to the market site under her own steam, so we agreed and at 11am 655 trundled over to say hello to those who got there early.

Over 100 out of 150 classic cars also arrived despite the unsociable weather conditions. Shortly before 14.00 the anti collision lights started to flash as pre-flight checks commenced on the aircraft. No 4 engine could be heard spinning, then fuel injected into it and 'lit'. Exhaust flux emerging from No. 4 engine, 655 came alive.

Once all engines were stable, ATC gave clearance for "X-Ray Mike 655" to enter the active runway. Turning on the runway to face the crowd for a photocall, against a back drop of the Fosse Way Hills, the aircraft look stunning. Moving along the runway the aircraft turned to face away from her supporters, turning out on high power caused a vortex of exhaust flux to hit the crowd, we hope you didn't mind! This is the closest you will ever get to an active Vulcan! Turning back on herself, XM655 headed south down the runway for a change. Turning on a sixpence, she turned to face us all, and the sun came out. Ready...
Ready... (photo: Michael Baldock)

Brakes on, all four engines coming up and with a cloud of smoke and water behind the aircraft creating a dramatic backdrop, ATC cleared her for the run, the aircrew unleashed the aircraft and a huge growl ripped through the air for 6 or more seconds.

Power Up
...steady... (photo: Carl Woodend)

Speeding past the intersection, the nose began to lift...

 Full Power
...GO!! (photo: Michael Baldock)

Nose Wheel Airbourne!
Photo: Gary Dee
Airbrakes Out!
Photo: Michael Baldock

At 80 knots the power was withdrawn and air brakes selected and 655 came to a smooth halt at the end of the runway. The crew bought back the aircraft to the market site, no second run this year as we have never fast taxied the aircraft with a very wet runway and the brakes were very warm! The crewchief, Mark, welcomed 655 back, bomb bay doors open and the aircraft was shut down.

Classic Cars A parade of classic cars ranging from 1964 to 1984 parked next to XM655 for a photo call. We were delighted that Quentin Wilson from BBC's Top Gear reviewed the cars on show and we do hope he will drop in again next year. Quentin Wilson

Lets see if we can do another 20 years at Wellesbourne, join us....! Many thanks to all who turned up to support 655, and particular thanks to all the photographers who sent in pictures for us to use on this report.

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