Visit to Vulcan bomber XM655

16th Apr 2011
As a brief aside from a frantic period of astronomical activities , 16 CNAAG members took the balmy spring weather and assembled under blue skies to visit the preserved Vulcan bomber on Wellesbourne airfield , kept in working condition by the XM655 Preservation Society headed by our host Charles Brimson . Filing in from the South Warwickshire Flying Club clubhouse we were dwarfed by the huge delta winged behemoth basking in the sunshine . The elegant profile was lost as moving under the huge wing the sheer size was a jaw dropper . After a brief H&S talk Charles gave us a brief run down on the history of the aeroplane , its arrival at Wellesbourne and the work his team does to keep it in running condition . Splitting into 4 groups we were taken great care of by the 655 Preservation team with detailed explanations of the function of the many different systems and empennages . Being ushered to safe areas we were treated to a start up of the auxiliary power unit (APU) allowing the flying surfaces to be moved and the spoilers above and below the wings to be cycled – if only they could just have kicked the 4 massive engines into life .We basked equally in the warm sunshine and the occasion , the buzz of light aircraft heard in the background adding an appropriate soundtrack to the ambience. In groups of 4 we took turns to climb the yellow ladder attached to the inside of the front undercarriage door and disappeared up into the black environs of the small cramped crew compartment . Festooned with all manner of very old technical equipment wherever you looked , it felt like you were stepping back in time into a era long gone , like entering the wheelhouse of an old abandoned sailing ship . Wall to wall black panels flaking paint and jammed tightly together studded with switches , knobs and dials gave an instant feeling of claustrophobia and huge admiration for the crews that spent hours at a time encased in a very small area . We were expertly and patiently guided through the crew functions and positions , all the time breathing in that heady smell only ever associated with old aeroplanes . Our expertly guided tour done , the afternoon was complete with many pictures being taken in front of the magnificent Vulcan resplendent in grey and green camouflage , wings outstretched and brooding , like a huge slumbering moth A magnificent day out of the ordinary for all of us and after sensing the enthusiasm , commitment and pride the XM 655 people clearly possess , it underlines what can be done when a group of like minded people who share a common passion get together to make a project work – just like our superb CNAAG group.
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