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Early photograph of the first production Avro Vulcan B1 XA889. In silver finish, 889 first flew in February 1955 with a straight leading edge to its wing, joining the the prototypes VX770 and 777 in the test programme. It already had become clear testing 777 that there was a handling problem at altitude as a buffet occurred whilst pulling 'G' and there was an unacceptable nose-down change of trim above M.86. The proposed fixes were the 'Phase 2' kinked wing and an auto-Mach trimmer. In March-April 1956, now fitted with the 'Phase 2' wing and an AMT, 889 was assessed by the A&AEE at Boscombe Down as having 'safe and adequate flying qualities.'

889 was initially fitted with four Bristol Olympus 101 engines though it was subsequently used for the flight clearance of the 102 and the 104 (the former being first flown in March 1957 and latter being first flown in July 1957 at Woodford). 889 was shown at the 1957 Farnborough Air Show. Other Vulcans to attend Farnborough that year were 770 (now the Rolls-Royce Conway FTB), 777 (now the aerodynamic B2 prototype), and XA904 and XA906 (both delivered July-August 1957 with Olympus 102 engines) of No 83 Squadron, RAF Waddington. After its career in flight testing, 889 was issued to A&EE Boscombe Down where it survived until being scrapped in 1971.

Copyright © unknown. Carmel J Attard collection.

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