Cold War bomber plane comes off runway ending up inches from road

·2 min read
The scene at Wellesbourne Airfield where a Vulcan bomber plane slipped off the runway. (swns)
The scene at Wellesbourne Airfield where a Vulcan bomber plane slipped off the runway. (swns)

A Cold War bomber plane has narrowly avoided a busy road after overshooting a runway.

The XM655 Vulcan bomber careered off the landing strip as it attempted a “high-speed taxi test” at Wellesbourne Airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon on Friday.

Pictures taken at the scene show the bomber’s nose just feet away from Stratford Road.

No one was injured in the incident which happened at around 11am.

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The XM655 Vulcan bomber careered off the runway as it attempted a “high-speed taxi test”. (swns)
The XM655 Vulcan bomber careered off the runway as it attempted a “high-speed taxi test”. (swns)

The aircraft, which draws crowds of visitors, is looked after by the XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society.

It confirmed it had cancelled a scheduled event for Sunday and ticketholders had been refunded.

The society explained the incident on Facebook, saying: “After satisfactorily completing low speed steering and braking tests on runway 05/23, the aircraft was taken onto runway 18/36 for a trial high speed run.

“Due to a malfunction of a piece of equipment in the cockpit, the aircraft remained at full power for approximately two seconds longer than intended.

“This resulted in excessive speed and less distance in which to stop, and the aircraft passed beyond the end of the runway on to the agricultural area, stopping just before the airfield perimeter.

“The failed equipment was an air speed indicator which had been tested and found satisfactory six days ago, and which started working normally before the end of the run.

“The aircraft brakes worked properly but were unable to bring things to a halt within the reduced space available.”

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The plane was close to ending up on the road. (swns)
The plane was close to ending up on the road. (swns)

The Vulcan only occasionally makes high-speed taxi runs and prior to last year, had not done one for five years.

Speaking in 2021, wing commander Mike Politt said: “The aircraft performed fantastically, she’s in great shape, it went flawlessly.

“It’s been five years since the last high-speed taxi, and there were certainly a few people in the café and on the airfield pleased to see her running.

“She may have been brilliant, but operating on a 2,000ft runway might not have been great for my blood pressure!”

Vulcan, Valiant and Victor bombers were part of Britain's Cold War "V-force".