Losses and Aviation Safety

That time a WWII Spitfire helped a Cold War Era Vulcan with Nose Gear Emergency

After it became clear he was having a nose wheel gear issue, a Spitfire of the BBMF called up the tower and asked if there was anyway he could help by giving the Vulcan a visual inspection from underneath the aircraft…

Taken on Sep. 5, 2015 by Jonathan Winton the unique video in this post shows a WWII Spitfire helping a Cold War Era Avro Vulcan with nose gear emergency.

As Winton explained “On the 5th of September I drove across to Prestwick to watch the Scottish Airshow 2015. Primarily I wanted to see the Vulcan one last time before she’s retired in the next month or so.

“Having arrived at the airport we waited for the Vulcan XH558 with great anticipation. Once we saw him over Ayr my excitement grew even more. He called up Prestwick tower to do a flyover the airfield , then make a right hand turn to then land on runway 30.

“However after he made that turn things seemed to go wrong. Rather than report final he then did a second flyover , and started entering orbits to the north of the airfield.

“After it became clear he was having a nose wheel gear issue, a Spitfire of the BBMF called up the tower and asked if there was anyway he could help by giving the Vulcan a visual inspection from underneath the aircraft to asses the situation.

“Once they had determined the Vulcan’s speed the Spitfire confirmed that his nosewheel was not extended fully and that there was nothing blocking it from locking into place.

“Following this the Vulcan entered into some very aggressive yawing, both left and right in an attempt to free whatever was holding the nosewheel back from extending and locking.

“After some time they were successful and initiated a landing.

“We were all waiting with bated breath, not knowing whether or not it had indeed fully locked into place.

“Thankfully the landing went well, and as you can hear at the end of the video was great relief that everything had gone so well.

“Praise must go to the Spitfire pilot for taking the initiative in helping the crew of the Vulcan resolve the issue.”

Avro Vulcan XH558 “The Spirit Of Great Britain” was the last remaining airworthy example of the 134 Avro Vulcan jet powered delta winged strategic nuclear bomber aircraft operated by the RAF during the Cold War. It was the last Vulcan in military service, and the last to fly at all after 1986. It last flew on Oct. 28, 2015.

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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