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Shocking video shows Avro Vulcan VX770 disintegrating during fast pass at RAF Syerston in 1958

The tragic loss of Avro Vulcan VX770 at Syerston in September 1958 was caused by a simple case of over-exuberance, flying the aircraft beyond its designation limitations.

The shocking video in this post shows the tragic loss of Avro Vulcan VX770 at RAF Syerston in September 1958.

Noteworthy the Vulcan had proved to be a very reliable aircraft, enjoying an excellent safety record, probably as a direct result of Avro’s adherence to design simplicity and reliability.

Nevertheless some doubt had certainly been cast over the Vulcan’s safety when the prototype 698 (VX770) was destroyed at Syerston near Nottingham on Sep. 20, 1958. As explained by Tim McLelland in his book The Avro Vulcan Revised Edition, the airframe broke up during a fast pass over the airfield during a Battle of Britain display in front of a crowd of horrified spectators.

Investigation revealed that structural failure of the wing had been the cause of the accident, but more detailed analysis confirmed that the aircraft had been flying outside the safe speed and ‘g’ flight envelope, so the aircraft’s design was clearly not at fault and the accident was a classic case of over-exuberance on the part of the pilot. Although the Vulcan was an astonishingly manoeuvrable machine it was often all too easy to forget that it was also a very big and bulky four-engined bomber, not a fighter, and like any other aircraft it could only be operated safely within clearly defined limits.

The Avro Vulcan Revised Edition is published by Crecy and is available to order here.

Photo credit: Pinterest

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