Happy Anniversary 19th November 1993

Happy 25th Anniversary.

On 19th November 1993 Squadron Leader Steve Jenkins, former 55 Squadron Flight Commander, flew our Victor XM715 from RAF Marham to Bruntingthorpe and handed over the aircraft maintenance log, the Form 700, completing the purchase by the Walton family and adding to the Cold War Jets Museum.

XM715 is unique. Over the thirty year operational life it served in all roles assigned to the Victor Mk2 – bomber, missile carrier, reconnaissance and air to air tanker. It equipped Nos 100, 139(Jamaica), 543, 55 and 57 Squadrons and No 232 Operational Conversion Unit. 715 took part in two wars, Operation Corporate flying from Ascension and Operation Granby based in Bahrain, providing vital aerial refuelling support.

John Allam flew it on its maiden flight from Radlett on 31st December 1962 and delivered the Victor BMk2 to No 100 Squadron, RAF Wittering early the following year. The first operational role was as a high level, high speed free fall nuclear bomber in anti radiation white livery – part of the UK deterrent, termed Mutually Assured Destruction – aptly MAD.

On delivery to No 100 Squadron, RAF Wittering

 

 

 

 
In 1963 XM715 was modified to carry the Blue Steel stand off missile with a megaton nuclear warhead, to be launched from high level beyond the range early warning Soviet radars thus increasing mission survivability.

Carrying a Blue Steel missile for high level launch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further modifications and a paint job – to increase the chances of success, in early 1964 the tactic switched to low level penetration of air defences and a Blue Steel release from low level.

Carrying a Blue Steel missile at low level – to launch

 

 

 

 

 

Take off with Blue Steel for a low level training sortie

 

 

 

 

 

In 1968 a further modification to the payload in the bomb bay saw a change in role to strategic reconnaissance- both photographic and radar.

A mix of additional fuel tanks and/or cameras in the bomb bay

In sniffing fit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After an exhaustive refurbishment by HSA, 715 returned to RAF service in April 1975 at RAF Marham as an air to air tanker, until retirement from operational service in November 1993.

No 55 Squadron disbandment marking the end of operational service

 

 

 

 

 

 

XM715, with the nose art Teasin’ Tina gained during the 38 war missions during Operation Granby, now regularly struts her stuff at the Cold War Jets Open Days. But all flight was not over as Bob Prothero flew a very short demo in May 2009.

Oops!!

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you 715 for your service and the pleasure you give your enthusiastic support team and your aviation admirers – many more demos to come.

A Very Wet Open Day 26 August 2018

It was an extremely wet Open Day for the Cold War Jets.  Thank you to the photographers and friends who stayed to the end to capture the Victor aborted take off demo – you were heroes and produced some excellent photography.  Many thanks for sharing them with us.

The two jets had a few faults when starting up on Saturday to position down to the start line for Sunday.  No 3 on the Victor got too hot on start and was closed down.  We tugged it directly into wind, it did the trick, just, and 3 and 4 started just within EGT limits.  The Nimrod has not been moved for two years, so problems were anticipated.  The brakes seemed to be sticking on after applications.  A novel solution found after shut down involving a bungee cord to assist the the release of the pedals, assumed as the culprit, worked.

Sunday weather deteriorated around 1030 and set wet for the rest of the day.  However, both the Victor and Nimrod engines and systems behaved perfectly – testament to the work of our ground crew.   The Nimrod fix was excellent and learning from the previous days ticklish engine starts, the Victor was aligned to make best use of any headwind.  After the display they are both now put to bed for the winter.  We do hope to see you in late May.

Amanda delivering a shower and spruce up.

Angry skies during the positioning. © Craig Sluman

Waiting patiently. © Graham Green

Friends positioned for the Open Day. © Richard Wellings

Vortex from starboard engines on power up. © Adam Makewell

Full power, brakes off and rolling!! © Michelle Middleton

Into the run. © Antony Flack

Nimrod rolling. © Bradley Rogers

Damp but satisfied – flight deck happy faces.

Getting ready for Open Day 26 August

Preparations are well in hand for the Open Day and taxy demos on Sunday 26th May.  Tina has had the nose art refreshed and is looking good in the blue sky backdrop.  As usual we will have a host of goodies on sale from our tent- surplus parts, logo’d merchandise and book signings by Bob plus our friends with their excellent book series Out of the Blue, the proceeds from these go to the service charities.   At the last Open Day we were available to the public right up to the time we crewed in on the marshaling apron.  So why not come on over to meet us and ask away, we are always delighted to talk about Victors.  See you there.

Tina gets a face lift and comes up looking good. c Ray Ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking good in the sunshine- preparing for Open Day. c Ray Ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Successful Cold War Jets Day Sunday 27th May 2018

The weather was mostly kind on the day after a tremendous thunderstorm during the night.  All display and static aircraft were positioned at the Gilden end of the runway on Saturday, the Victor in position by 6.30.  A lot of hard work had gone into rectification of the AAPP thanks to Terry and Frank.  The team prepped the aircraft beautifully and all set for Sunday.  715 was the final runner bringing a successful show to its end.  The crowds were treated to a figure of eight followed by a full power run.  During the figure of 8, Bob succeeded in rearranging a series of runway bollards into the trees- sorry Dave.  Due to the move to the other end of the runway, power had to come off earlier than we all would have liked but hopefully the earth moved for the crowd.  The move to the other end of the runway provided the camera enthusiasts with a different backdrop of trees and we include some shots from a first timer, Louise Manson.  Well done Louise and thanks for letting us use them.  It was good to return to have the crowd around the aircraft all day as Bruntingthorpe is unique in this closeness with the aircraft, crews and hot exhausts.  Now roll on August 26th – see you there.

Ready

 

 

 

Steady

 

 

 

Go

Tina Comes In For the Night

Tina was carefully towed in to the Manheim Car Auction hangar at Bruntingthorpe by Dave Walton and our engineering team wing walkers on Friday 23rd March.  She had a roof over her head for one night only to form the back drop for the Vulcan to the Sky Trust’s event on the Saturday to  commemorate the last RAF flight of Vulcan XH558.  Then back out in the cold!!!  Obliging lady – anything to help with Roy as guardian!!  Lots of hard prep work and an exhausting day – but the favourable comments from the Vulcan brethren were well received.

Nicely done Dave

Snugged in and enjoying the atmosphere

Cold War Jets Open Day Sunday 27th May

Work is well in hand preparing Tina for the Open Day on 27th March.  Roy and Bill are washing down after the hard winter and the engineering team are well into the maintenance schedule.  The event will be centred on the south western end of the runway due to the car storage so the backdrop will be different for photographs.  Gates open at 9am and we will be with the aircraft to meet you before the fast runs start at 11am.  Our Victor memorabilia will be on sale from our tent in the concessionary area.  Hope to see you there.

Wash down starts

Update on our First Day Covers

The project is still alive.  Unfortunately, the deterioration of the Ascension Island runway leading to the cessation of the Voyager staging through to Mount Pleasant has affected our timescales.  We are still awaiting the opportunity to fly the covers on the airbridge through Ascension to the Falklands and will let everyone know when achieved.  We will then be able to offer for sale first day covers signed by Martin Withers and the White 2 crew of Victor XL189 to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Black Buck 1 mission.

XL189 Filler

Hot News – Jet Thunder Event Sunday 27th August

Contrary to earlier postings – and with Mr David Walton’s kind permission – there will be a Cold War Jet Thunder Day on Sunday 27th August 2017 at Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Bath Lane, Bruntingthorpe LE17 5QS.  

Some of the jewels of British aviation heritage will be on display and giving fast taxi demonstrations along the 2 mile runway.  The participants expected: Victor K2 XM715, 2 x Blackburn Buccaneers, English Electric Canberra WT333, Vickers VC-10K ZD241, Jet Provost, plus the Delphin.

Gates open from 9am. Tickets £15 pp at the Gatehouse on the day. Children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult bearing a valid ticket.