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Happy 55th Birthday XH558

by Ian Homer. Posted to category: General

Maiden Flight - 25th May 1960

Happy 55th Birthday XH558 - Monday 25th May

One of the earliest known photographs of XH558 from 1960, parked outside Woodford where she was built. Note the lack of any squadron markings. BAE Systems.

This coming Monday 25th May will be the 55th anniversary of XH558’s documented maiden flight from the Avro factory at Woodford. We can safely say that she is indeed 55 years old that day and would consider the Bank Holiday weekend an ideal time to celebrate her birthday. Please celebrate that with us!

Although she was the twelfth allocated build number on the B Mk 2 production line, she would complete a series of test flights throughout June that year to be the first available for delivery in to service. The picture above was most likely taken in late June awaiting her delivery flight to the RAF and we will commemorate that event ahead of the anniversary on Wednesday 1st July.

No moving images have ever been found of this important event, so to give everyone  insight to how the aviation industry looked in Britain at that time, you need only look at this historic British Pathé film that covers the Farnborough Air Display in September of 1960.

Although other Vulcan aircraft are listed as either being on static display or flying at the show, XH558 did not participate in this event, 230 OCU instead taking her to display at RAF Finningley (her home base at Robin Hood Airport today) and she was recorded as being there on 17th September 1960.

This must have been XH558’s first fully-public display. Were you there?

Anyone with information, pictures or cine/film footage, then please email: 

Make sure you see XH558 in 2015 - this will be her last display season. 

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