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Avro Vulcan B2 XH557 of the Waddington Wing landing and streaming circa 1973. 557 was one of the first Vulcans to receive the toned-down matt camouflage scheme (first seen in 1972 and originally retaining the black radome) though in this picture the underside of the rear of the radome is painted white as on the previous colour scheme. It is likely that radome had been robbed from another aircraft with the earlier camouflage scheme. 557 was delivered with Olympus 201 engines in 1960 and subsequently used by Bristol Siddeley for Olympus 301 trials. Initially, one engine was fitted in the port inner engine bay. Then another was fitted in the port outer to check the common intake. Finally, it was fitted with 301s on the starboard side.

Vulcan B2s fitted with Olympus 301s
XH557 Trials' aircraft. Converted from 201s at Patchway/Filton.
XJ784 Second trials' aircraft. Converted from at 201s Woodford.
XL391 First Vulcan new-built with 301s
(XL392, 425-427, 443-446, XM569-573 had 201s).
XM574 onwards 301s from new.
XL384-390 Built with 201s. Retrofitted with 301s.

557's delivery to Filton for its original 301 fitting made headline news. Approaching from the west in poor weather, it touched down a long way down the runway. The brake parachute was deployed which (unlike in the picture above) promptly failed. Left with no option but to go to full power and get airborne again, the pilot successfully began to climb away but hit a concrete lamp post on the A38. The four Olympus 201s at takeoff thrust half-demolished a petrol station. After transferring to the RAF in 1965, 557 had a couple of months on the Cottesmore Wing before being transferred to the Waddington Wing in 1966. In 1974, 557 transferred to the Akrotiri Wing returning to Waddington in the following year with IX Squadron until in 1981 it was allocated to No 50 Squadron. It was scrapped the following year.

Paul O'Gorman collection. Thought to be © Crown Copyright >>

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