Vulcan bomber which just missed road after it overshot runway recovered

A historic and iconic aircraft which came off a local runway - and was just inches from crashing into cars on a busy road - has been recovered. The XM655 Vulcan bomber veered off the runway at Wellesbourne Airfield near Stratford-Upon Avon in Warwickshire at around 11am on Friday (September 16) after attempting a "high-speed taxi test". Photos from the scene showed the bomber's nose just feet away from Stratford Road in the face of oncoming traffic. Other images show plane tyre marks across the field after the plane steered away from the runway. Footage posted online showed the former Royal Air Force Vulcan grinding to a halt as dust plumes into the air and cars pass on the road.

The police closed Stratford Road following the incident. READ MORE: Pictures as Vulcan bomber just misses road with passing cars as it overshoots runway Now the aircraft has been recovered thanks to the efforts of a veritable army of volunteers.

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

Recovering Vulcan XM655 At Wellesbourne AirfieldRecovering Vulcan XM655 At Wellesbourne Airfield

The society has since mounted a huge recovery operation and posted video footage on YouTube detailing how it was done, which you can watch above. It also posted an update on its website entitled 'XM655 is back on the pan'. It said: "After a very long and very hard day today, we are delighted to report that XM655 is back on her pan at Wellesbourne."

It added: "We want to say a massive thanks to everyone who helped us with this huge task, including Bob Jackson and VTTS for the loan of their rear towing bridle, Wixey Transport, especially Matt and Richard, who have moved massive amounts of soil around to make it possible, and all the heavy recovery guys from Tech Trucks, Mayo's Roadside Assistance, CCG Commercials Ltd and RPM Aviation. Without them, we couldn't possibly have done it. "We must also thank all the XM655MaPS volunteers who worked tirelessly all day to get the old girl back onto solid ground.

They went home after a long day very tired, but they can be justifiably proud of what they have achieved."

The Vulcan came to a halt just before the roadThe Vulcan came to a halt just before the road

The Vulcan is a popular attraction at Wellesbourne Airfield. Avro Vulcan XM655 was the third from last of the Vulcan bombers produced for the Royal Air Force, being delivered in late 1964, and was part of the UK's nuclear deterrent force throughout the 1960s and 1970s. It is now owned by Wellesbourne Airfield, and is looked after by 655 Maintenance and Preservation Society (655MaPS) which is a volunteer organisation of Vulcan enthusiasts.

XM655 is one of the few Vulcans remaining in ground running condition, the only one with the most powerful of the engine variants (Bristol Olympus 301s) and 655MaPS aim to keep it running for as long as possible. The aircraft systems, which are powered up and exercised regularly, are available for demonstration to booked parties of visitors, engine ground runs are carried out several times every year, and "Fast Taxi" events are carried out most summers to show off the aircraft and raise funds to support its preservation. XM655 is maintained by a small team of skilled and dedicated volunteers, many of whom are ex-RAF, (some even ex-V-Force personnel and one of whom actually worked on XM655 in service), who give up their Saturdays to preserving XM655.

The Vulcan bomber plane narrowly missed traffic on the roadThe Vulcan bomber plane narrowly missed traffic on the road

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

Speaking last year, 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 cafe 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."

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