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XH558's first post-restoration flight

by Ian Homer. Posted to category: General

18th October 2007

A photographic record of the day ...   (All images courtesy and © of Charles Toop).

Thursday 18th October 2007 dawned, a perfect day for flying, and destined to be an unforgettable one.

Anticipation was keen as the media and invited guests gathered at Bruntingthorpe.

No less keenly felt by the VTST team either, as the culmination of all their efforts drew nearer. Colin Marshall, Vulcan Control on the day: “You could feel the tension in the hangar as we prepared to move XH558 out, similar to the ‘Rollout’ in 2006, only this time the stakes were higher, now it was up to XH558 to show us what she was made of.”

Chief Engineer ‘Taff’ Stone was: “Just looking forward to it now, after all that hard work, proving the doubters wrong and getting her flying again.”

The hangar doors opened, and XH558 was towed to the engine running pan for pilots Sqn Ldr Al McDicken, Sqn Ldr David Thomas and AEO Sqn Ldr Barry Masefield to crew-in and begin pre-flight checks. A FOD check was carried out on the runway, and the fire tenders and ambulance crews ran through their Emergency Response Plan - all was clear, so XH558 was instructed to taxi to the threshold and hold. “Marshall 15, runway is clear, take off at your own discretion.” The response came back from test pilot Al McDicken, “Marshall 15 affirm, take off at our own discretion.” At the end of the runway XH558’s Olympus engines increased power, and as she began to roll, the unmistakable Vulcan howl announced her intent. Al McDicken: “558 accelerated rapidly. In no time at all, David called ‘80 knots’, then ‘Rotate’."

The moment thousands had been waiting for. XH558 returns to the skies.

The final approach and landing.....very smooth. Watch the video below to see just how smooth!

Crowds gather to welcome the aircraft and crew.

The flight crew. L-R: David Thomas, Barry Masefield & Al McDicken.

Watch the video of 'that day to remember' here:


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