Southend Vulcan Stretches Her Legs

Aircorps Art Dec 2019

On December 12th, the Vulcan Restoration Trust’s exercised their Avro Vulcan B.2 XL426 on the runway at London Southend Airport in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The locally-based organization maintains one of just three Vulcans which can still move under their own power on the ground. XL426 performed four, full-power taxi runs over the course of the day, providing two groups of visitors a rare treat to witness the raw power of the mighty Vulcan’s Rolls-Royce Olympus engines at ‘max chat’ as the Cold War bomber roared down the runway in a simulated take-off run.
The Centre of Aviation Photography (COAP)’s was involved with the event, and co-founder, Steven Comber, shared a few of his photos with us, which we thought our readers would like to see. As many will know, world-renowned, award-winning photographer and journalist Rich Cooper co-created COAP with Comber in 2015. A professionally run organization, COAP operates a year-round program of aviation-photography experiences for participants via a staggering portfolio of Aviation Photography Workshops, Photo-Shoots, Air-to-Air flights, Seminars and Exotic Wings photography visits around the world.
Regarding COAP’s trip to Southend to see the Vulcan, Comber related: “The four taxi runs in varied lighting and weather conditions between morning and afternoon sessions presented interesting and challenging shooting conditions, delivering some alternative images not previously seen on the internet. Early morning arrival allowed valuable time to scout out the best vantage points before heading in afterwards to shoot inside as well; an ace aviation-fueled day to end 2020 on!”

For those wanting to know a little more about XL426’s present situation, the Vulcan is maintained in full ground-running condition (i.e. non-airworthy, but taxiable, with systems, including engines, kept in operational status) as part of Britain’s aviation heritage and in tribute to the RAF personnel who flew and maintained the type during the Cold War. The Trust also serves an educational role for the general public regarding the Vulcan, and the important role these aircraft played in shaping Britain’s military history during the post-WWII era.

For those interested in witnessing this Vulcan’s roar, there is an event in the planning stages for May 2021 which you will not want to miss! If you are able, you should consider becoming a member of the Vulcan Restoration Trust to help volunteers maintain XL426’s bright future at Southend. For more information, please do visit
Below are some of Steven Comber’s images from the December 12th event. You can almost feel the earth rumbling to the sound of those four Olympus engines! Many thanks again to Steven for providing us with these images! 

To learn more about the Centre of Aviation Photography (COAP), please visit their website HERE. While the pandemic will have 2021 plans in flux for the moment, they are sure to have an amazing lineup of fabulous aviation photography adventures lined up for next year!


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