Aircraft

Vulcan Bomber overshoots runway during 'high speed taxi' test

The Cold War-era aircraft almost collided with a busy road.

A Cold War-era Bomber has overshot a runway and almost collided with a busy road.

The incident, which may have to be investigated by Britain's Air Accident Investigation Branch, occurred on Friday afternoon at Wellesbourne Airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon.

At the time, the 58-year-old Avro Vulcan, flown by the Royal Air Force during the Cold War, was taking part in a 'high speed taxi' exercise.

Speaking to Forces News, Mike Pollitt, who was at the controls of the aircraft at the time of the incident, explained how he needed to take avoiding action to ensure the aircraft did not hit the busy road. 

The aircraft came to a halt just metres away from the B4086 which runs next to the airfield perimeter (picture: BFBS).
The aircraft came to a halt just metres away from the B4086 which runs next to the airfield perimeter (picture: BFBS).

The former RAF pilot said: "Unfortunately, one of the instruments failed, which was critical to the run, and while being distracted by that, I've gone off the runway.

"You're always conscious of the traffic on that road, and the buses that come down." 

Mike Pollitt at Vulcan site 16092022 JW
Former RAF pilot Mike Pollitt was at the controls of the Vulcan for the 'high speed taxi' exercise at Wellesbourne Airfield (picture: BFBS).

Mr. Pollitt, who is now the Chairman of the preservation society responsible for the aircraft, added: "The airfield has informed the Accident Investigation Branch, so if they are going to take an interest, I can't say much more. 

"The good news is that nobody is injured. No one inside the aircraft or outside, and the aircraft looks as though she's undamaged."

XM655 is one of the few remaining Vulcans still permitted to complete 'high-speed taxi' runs (picture: BFBS).
XM655 is one of the few remaining Vulcans still permitted to complete 'high-speed taxi' runs (picture: BFBS).

The Vulcan, tail numbered XM655, is one of the few remaining examples still permitted to complete 'high-speed taxi' runs and is maintained by the XM655 Preservation Society at Wellesbourne. 

Forces News has been unable to contact the Air Accidents Investigation Branch for comment.