4th August 2018

A busy day lay ahead for our volunteers this Saturday with a large number of pre-booked visits to look after together with ground equipment runs, being the first Saturday of the month.  The weather looked promising for the visits and who knew what surprises lay in store throughout the day….

Our volunteers wasted no time in getting on with the list of jobs.  An oil leak was noticed on the number 3 engine so first off the doors were opened to allow cleaning and investigation.  One of the risers also got attention early on with the pump and shaft being removed for maintenance.  Tyre pressures on the ground equipment were checked and topped up where required as part of our monthly runs and a systems demo was performed to run the Houchin and the aircraft AAPP, which performed perfectly.  Before the visits started to arrive we took the opportunity to run the Palouste which we ran with a load test, this giving us the opportunity to test the over-ride.

The elevon PFC covers were removed not only to allow level checks and top ups, but also to allow the starboard elevons facilitating better access for Derek and Fred in their painting and prep work.

As we had cadets present, they set to work on helping to clean up the oil leak, cleaning the underside of the port wing and assist with other jobs as needed including recommencing refurbishment of the bomb trolley.

Our first surprise of the day was a P-51 departing the airfield giving us a couple of flypasts, one with a “wing wave” then a high power climb out giving the characteristic “whistle”, a nice treat for the visitors and volunteers alike.

The Sentinel tug was started and exercised along the taxiway with the driver probably grateful of the breeze!  However, the Coleman, despite starting, cut out and refused to start again – a potential problem with the starter motor.  This will need to be looked at next weekend.

Our large Group visit, Royston and District Motorcycle Club, arrived for their afternoon visit and the bikes were arranged in front of XM655 for the group photo.  Following this they were treated to a systems demo which proved to be rather warm work for the P1 and AEO as the air conditioning unit that was blowing cool air into the cockpit cut out!  The group were then split into smaller groups for their talks and cockpit visits.  As the group were leaving and our volunteers were starting to pack up, we had a late walk-in visitor.  No-one could have expected what unfolded….  Former Vulcan QFI Flt Lt Nick Dennis RAF (Ret’d) was with us for the afternoon visit giving cockpit tours.  Nick and our visitor were introduced and a rather historical meeting then took place with smiles and handshakes and a lovely photo opportunity.  It transpired that our visitor was a retired Mig-23 pilot who could and would have been sent to intercept Vulcan bombers on mission should the Cold War had ever escalated.  Once adversaries, now friends…

Our special visitor was given a cockpit tour before leaving and it was a very special occasion for all those that were present.

This weekend’s pictures are courtesy of Isi, Helen, Matt, Len and James