Why did Vulcan XM655 run off the runway at Wellesbourne?

Following its runway excursion on Friday, the XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society provided an update…

It was reported on September 16, that Avro Vulcan B.2 XM655 had exited the runway at its Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield home while undertaking a fast taxi in preparation for an upcoming public event at the Warwickshire airfield.

With the event cancelled as a result, the team got to work recovering the jet. As such, on September 20, the XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society provided the following update via its social media: "Well, this is not quite the report we were expecting to write this weekend! As you will already be aware our Fast Taxi Event had to be cancelled as the aircraft ran off the end of the runway following our practice session on Friday. We haven’t really had much chance to pause for breath as we have all been full on with the aircraft recovery operation, but it’s certainly been an “interesting” experience and a departure from our normal maintenance activities.

Vulcan XM655
Photo: Twitter/mikey_9fingers

"It was all going to plan on Friday and the aircraft was towed to the inactive runway for crew training. The start went well and our only hiccup was the loss of power during the early checks. We think this was probably due to the ground power connector not being fully engaged in the ground power socket so a quick reseat resolved the issue and normal service resumed. The crew then went on to a series of turns and figure of eight manoeuvres within the confines of the inactive area before making their decision to carry out their practice fast taxi as part of their return journey to the pan.

"Unfortunately, the ASI normally used to ascertain the aircraft speed is the one fitted in the P2 position, so with P1 in the driving seat the P2 would call the speed. The ASI appears to have stuck, hence no feedback to P1. There isn’t much time to work things out once the Vulcan is rolling and by the time the P1 realised he wasn’t getting any info the close down of the throttles was a few seconds late. It doesn’t sound much but it was enough that the aircraft was carrying too much speed at the normal turn off point. She departed the runway and came to rest next to the hedge at the airfield perimeter and just before the Stratford road.

"It looks as if the soil conditions were perfect for slowing her down and although she plowed 3 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 2 days but with the help of our support crews it’s also been very rewarding now to get the aircraft back home. Never a dull moment! But not the weekend we planned for.

"We must end with our thanks to VTTS, Graham Smith Agricultural Contractors, Wixey Transport, Tech Trucks, Mayo's Roadside Assistance, CCG Commercials Ltd and RPM Aviation. Without their help and support we would still be digging."

More information, along with images of the recovery can be found here