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This sequence of photographs from Will Parker's collection shows some of the history of a very unique Vulcan B2: XL391.

Being the first Vulcan built from new with Olympus 301 engines, 391's production was delayed by many months and it was completed with features typical of the B2 free fall production batch XM597 onwards. 391 was originally handed over to the Ministry of Aviation and was flown from A&AEE Boscombe Down. From June 1965 until January 1966, 391 served with the Bomber Command Development Unit at RAF Finningley before being returned to the MoA.

391 reentered RAF service with the Cottesmore Wing in August 1968. The photograph above is uneeringly similar to photographs of other Cottesmore Wing aircraft taken at Finningley in September 1968. However, the lack of a TFR pod and a Grimes (anticollision) light on the fuselage spine possibly suggest a 1965 date (when 391 was with the BCDU).

© Unknown. Will Parker Collection.

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