Wellesbourne Airfield in Warwickshire was even busier than normal this weekend for the Wings and Wheels 2014 show. It can’t be a coincidence that the event is held on Father’s Day each year, as it was the perfect destination for petrolheads and plane spotters alike. The main draw of the event is without a doubt the chance to see Vulcan XM655 in action on the runway. She sits in the corner of the airfield all year round and is a prominent local landmark visible for miles around in some directions, but we don’t often get to see her moving around or hear the roar of her engines.
We have an aircraft based at Wellesbourne, so we were able to get some photographs from a different angle to everyone else. This was the amazing view from where our aeroplane is parked…
Can you spot the pilot?!
You can just about make out the photographers in the background, through the shimmering hot air.
The Vulcan begins her first high-speed taxi run of the day. Seen head-on like this, she really does look like one very lean mean flying machine.
This is, sadly, the furthest into take-off that this Vulcan is allowed to go. There’s only one remaining airworthy Vulcan (XH558), and all this one can do is lift her nose off the ground.
The Vulcan’s power is evident in this picture from the dust being blown up in her wake!
This shot gives you a clearer view of the spoilers – those things sticking out of the wings. These help slow her down, and they don’t look particularly substantial but they do make a difference!
We can only imagine that this chap is feeling the heat…
As well as the stunning Vulcan, a number of other interesting aircraft made their presence felt throughout the day. This large bi-plane is the de Havilland Dragon Rapide. Believe it or not, it’s an early (1930s) passenger airliner!
Have you ever seen a helicopter that looks like this? Neither had we! It’s an Aérospatiale Alouette II, a French helicopter introduced in the 1950s that was mainly used for military reconnaissance, rescue and training.
We did get to see one airborne Vulcan: this one’s a very impressive jet-powered model. It’s painted anti-flash white, the colour the full Vulcan fleet would originally have been painted during the Cold War. The reason for this is that, in the event of a nuclear explosion, the white colour would reflect away some of the thermal radiation.
This is what the model looks like on the ground, to give you a sense of scale:
The sound and bone-trembling sensation of jet power was also felt with a few low fly-bys by this Jet Provost, photographed a day or two before the event when the weather was a bit nicer.
Jet Provosts were used as RAF training aircraft until 1993.
We were also treated to the sight of a Douglas DC-3 flying past. These were first flown in 1935 and were used for transport before, during and after the Second World War. During the war, they were used to transport troops and cargo.
All in all, it was a cracking day out and we look forward to seeing the Vulcan in action again next year. If you’d like to fly at Wellesbourne Airfield yourself, buy a trial lesson voucher now!