Yorkshire Air Museum’s Handley Page Victor Engine Run

The Handley Page Victor ' Lusty Lindy' - Photo via Yorkshire Air Museum.


On Saturday, November 25, to mark the 30th anniversary since its arrival at the Yorkshire Air Museum, the Handley Page Victor ‘ Lusty Lindy‘ fired up its engines. Hundreds of people attended the event and heard the iconic Cold War strategic bomber being run-up. ‘Lusty Lindy’ flew into the museum on November 25th, 1993 at 2.12 pm.  At that exact time on Saturday 25th November 2023, the aircraft, which saw action as a tanker in the Falklands conflict, carried out an engine run for the public. As reported on the Yorkshire Air Museum’s website, the Handley Page Victor K.2 tanker evolved from the original Victor B.2, ‘V’-bomber, which entered service with the Royal Air Force in October 1961. The first K.2 flew from Woodford on March 1, 1972. It had a crew of five and was powered by four Rolls-Royce Conway turbofans of 20,600 lb thrust each. It had a maximum speed of 640 mph (Mach 0.92) at 40,000 feet, a ceiling of 59,000 feet, and a range of 3,500 miles.

Victor K.2s made a substantial contribution to the Falklands War, flying over 3,000 hours and making over 600 air refueling sorties from Ascension Island, in support of the Vulcans, Nimrods, Hercules, and Harriers. They also flew in the Gulf War, refueling the Tornado and other allied aircraft. The Victor’s outstanding versatility and advanced design enabled it to have the longest service of all the ‘V-bomber’ generation.

XL231 joined 139 Squadron on February 1, 1962, returning to Handley Page for conversion to a B(S.R) Mk 2 in November 1963 and joining the Wittering Wing in July 1964. It was converted to become the prototype K.2 Tanker on January 23, 1972, and saw service in the Falklands War, in support of the air operations from Ascension Island, and later in the Gulf War. It was flown into retirement at Elvington in November 1993.

Victor K.2 XL231 at Yorkshire Air Museum, 12th July 2020; Shaun Connor via Thunder & Lightnings

The Yorkshire Air Museum sits on the former site of Bomber Command Station RAF Elvington. This station was typical of the many that were dotted around the whole of Britain during World War Two. Over 30 airfields were in operation within the York area alone. RAF Elvington was originally a grass airfield but in 1942 it was completely rebuilt with the addition of three hardened runways. It was re-opened in October of that year with the arrival of 77 Squadron and their new four-engine Handley Page Halifax heavy bombers.

In October 1945 the two French squadrons returned to France, where they became part of the post-war French Air Force. In 1952 RAF Elvington was handed over for use by the United States Air Force, Strategic Air Command. A major reconstruction began which included lengthening and strengthening the runways to accept jet bomber aircraft as part of the Western Powers’ nuclear deterrent. However, the base never became operational and was vacated in 1958.
RAF Elvington Aerial Shot, 1943 circa
In the early 1960s, the Blackburn Aircraft Company at Brough (now BAe Systems) used the runway for test flying the prototype Buccaneer aircraft. The RAF Flying Training Schools at Church Fenton and Linton-on-Ouse also used the airfield as a Relief Landing Ground to practice circuits and landings. RAF Elvington was officially closed in March 1992.

In 1983, the original WWII Control Towers and buildings had become derelict and a small team led by local resident Rachel Semlyen set about trying to save this special site. They negotiated a temporary lease and began the long process of clearing the land and restoring the buildings, to turn it into a Museum. In June 1985, the Yorkshire Air Museum and Allied Air Forces Memorial were born and granted charitable status. It began receiving donations and artifacts and purchased the wartime site which now extends to 20 acres. Since opening, the Memorial Museum has grown in strength and reputation.

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A beautiful aerial photo of the Yorkshire Air Museum. Notice the WWII era Quonset huts.
 

1 Comment

  1. I am delighted to see that at least one Victor can still be powered up, I’m also especially proud to have worked on HP80 design from January 1952 before it first flew and was made known publicly.
    Near the end of my working life I found myself helping to restore Vulcan XH558 to flight, although it operated under Aa Permit to Fly, a classification notmally used for home-built aircraft, not a strategic bomber.

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