CHECKS are being carried out on the historic Vulcan bomber at Wellesbourne Airfield after it overshot the runway during a speed test and stopped just metres short of a busy road.
Fortunately no one was injured in the incident on Friday (September 16) and the 58-year-old Cold War bomber appears to have suffered no major damage.
The Avro Vulcan XM655 – which no longer actually flies – was taking part in a high-speed taxi run when an instrument which helps ascertain the aircraft’s speed failed – sending it careering off the runway for some 35 metres before coming to a halt just short of the B4086 road next to the hedge on the edge of the airfield.
Mike Pollitt, former RAF pilot and chair of the XM655 Preservation Society, was at the controls.
He said: “Unfortunately, one of the instruments failed which was critical to the run and being distracted by that I’ve gone off the runway.
“There was no way we could turn off, it was too fast and risky to do so, so it was more sensible to go off the end of the runway.”
The airfield has informed the Accident Investigation Branch of the incident.
The plane, which is looked after by the XM655 Preservation Society, was back in its usual place at the airfield the following day – after much hard work.
A society spokesperson said: “It looks as if the soil conditions were perfect for slowing her down and although she ploughed three furrows across the field she was brought to rest with no injuries to the crew or anyone else and they all departed the aircraft with no external assistance.
“It took a lot of digging and a lot of pulling on Saturday but early in the evening she was safely returned to the pan where we will begin a series of inspections to establish the condition of everything. Initial visual inspections look good but we will need to carry out a lot more checks yet before we can be certain.
“The team have had a busy and tiring two days, but with the help of our support crews, it’s also been very rewarding to get the aircraft back home.”
The society also thanked those who had helped them recover the plane – VTTS, Graham Smith Agricultural Contractors, Wixey Transport, Tech Trucks, Mayo’s Roadside Assistance, CCG Commercials Ltd and RPM Aviation.