Waddington and beyond. 2013

Sunday – show day 2

The Red's. Always a highlight of any airshow and very popular with the crowds.

The Red’s. Always a highlight of any airshow and very popular with the crowds.

The 'Dambusters' enjoying the show

The ‘Dambusters’ enjoying the show

An earlier display slot for the aircraft on the second day. The aircrew tried to get the show director to move her back to a later time so that people who might be caught up in traffic queues would be less likely to miss the one display that so many have come to see. She is ‘The Peoples Aircraft’ so we want the people to see her. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful in their attempts so she was towed out so that the engineers could ready her for flight.

There had been a change in wind direction from the previous day but it was still hot with the forcasters warning that it would be the hottest day of the year. On Saturday the aircrew had sweated buckets in the cockpit so on Sunday morning our AEO, Barry Masefield, asked if we had a thermometer in the motorhome so that they could see just how warm it really was. I carry a small electronic temp sensor so was pleased to loan it to Barry who tucked it safely into his helmet bag so that he didn’t lose it.

Barry and Jonathan boarded first to start the pre-flight checks with the days captain, Kev Rumens and co-pilot Bill Ramsey joining them soon after. The cockpit was already hot as the aircraft had been standing in the sun but it was to become pretty unbearable a short time after when the ground air starter refused to start. We were using a starter supplied by Waddington rather than our own so a replacement had to be found somewhere in the bowels of Waddington’s engineering department. By this time the two pilots have been strapped into their ejection seats and the seats armed getting them back out is difficult but the AEO’s down the back don’t have the luxury of ‘bang seats’ so they were able to unstrap easily and get out and stretch their legs in the relative cool under the aircraft.The only ventilation in the cockpit is from the two small windows to the side of the windscreen, keeping the crew warm was more important at operational altitude in her RAF days. The temperature on my gauge, now up front with the pilots, was showing over 93º. By the time a replacement starter had been towed to the aircraft she had lost her time slot as, even after the engines are running, there is a long list of checks to carry out.

Finally, after a long delay, she taxied down to the other end of the airfield ready for take-off.

With Kev at the controls we were expecting a dynamic display and we were not disappointed. A huge howl as she tore down the runway, a steep climb and a typical Kev wing-over at the top as she re-positioned to start the display proper. The wingover that was to come though was one that had the crowd stunned as the aircraft looked as though he was going to roll her. The photographs show that she appeared completely inverted for some time, the crowd loved it.

A 'Kev" wingover. No, the picture has not been posted upside down.

A ‘Kev” wingover.
No, the picture has not been posted upside down.

They landed and taxied in to a huge round of applause and crowds of fans clamouring for autographs and photos. When Kev handed my temp gauge back to Barry the temperature had gone right off the scale, which stops at 99.9º. Barry estimated that it had been 10-15º above what was indicated.

The Vulcan Village was immediately besieged by people wanting to get a little something ‘Vulcan’ to remind them of their day and once the aircraft had been towed back to her place beside the Village they were queuing for under wing tours.

XH558 gleams in the sun.

XH558 gleams in the sun as her public get up close and personal.

We closed at six once again and started packing up and loading the van. By just after eight we were done and saying our goodbyes. For some of the volunteers it meant a long drive home but for us it was a short trundle a mile back to Barn Farm for the night.

Our weekend home beside the Vulcan Village.

Our weekend home beside the Vulcan Village.

The next day we had plans to head north.

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