Accident Avro Vulcan B.2 XM610, Friday 8 January 1971
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Date:Friday 8 January 1971
Time:10:45 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic VULC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Avro Vulcan B.2
Owner/operator:44 (Rhodesia) Sqn RAF
Registration: XM610
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Wingate, County Durham, 14 NM N Teesside, EGNV -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
On the 7th January 1971 a 44 squadron crew were tasked to fly a Hi-Lo-Hi mission over the border counties of England. Their aircraft was to be Vulcan B2 XM610 of the Waddington wing. The crew was captained by Flt. Lt. Garth Robert Alcock and consisted of F.O. Peter Hoskins as co-pilot, Flt. Lt. Jim Power as A.E.O., Flt.Lt Jim Vinale as Nav plotter and F.O. Roger Barker as Nav radar.

The mission went well and the Vulcan descended from high level off the Northumberland coast and entered the North of England low flying zone, taking it through the Northern Pennines and Cheviot hills. Half way through the low level mission XM610 was cruising at 300 knots on 75% power at 500 ft over the hills near Kelso. Ahead Bob Alcock could see that the weather was deteriorating rapidly so he decided to abandon the mission and climb back to a safe altitude.

Informing the rest of the crew what he was about to do Alcock increased the power to 85%, raised the nose and started to climb away. A few seconds later their was a loud explosion and the aircraft slewed to the left. Scanning his instruments Alcock noticed the RPM on No.1 engine running down and the jet pipe temperature rising rapidly to its limit then the fire warning light for No.1 engine illuminated. Informing the crew Alcock shut the HP cock and closed the throttle, the fire button was pressed then the engine air switch was closed. While he was doing this Jim Power confirmed that he had alternator failure on No.1 engine and then switched off and isolated the alternator. Scanning the aircraft with the rear facing periscope he informed the captain that he could see damage to the airframe in the area of the rear of No.1 engine.

The fire warning light went out as the captain continued his climb on three engines, and the fire warning system was checked to ensure it was still operating. Running his eyes over the instruments again, Alcock noticed the J.P.T. on No.2 engine now rising too followed by its fire warning light also illuminating. Again he shouted a warning to the crew, he grabbed the Ram Air Turbine release handle to let the turbine swing down into the slipstream, in doing this all none essential electrical loads were shed from the aircraft's electrical bus bars. The cockpit lit up like a Christmas tree as warning lights blinked on all over the instrument panels. No.2 engine was shut down in the same manner as No.1 causing the pilot to use a lot of left boot to keep the aircraft straight. The fire button for No.2 engine was pressed and after a few seconds the light went out.

Taking stock of what had happened the captain asked the A.E.O. to read out the emergency procedures from the flight reference cards, at the same time the A.E.O. gain scanned the under surface but every thing still looked the same. Alcock reached over to the centre console and pushed the rudder trim switch to take the pressure off his left foot. It was now time to declare an emergency so a Mayday call was transmitted.

The co-pilot was playing tunes on the fuel console as he opened the cross feed cocks and transferred fuel from the port to keep the aircraft C of G within limits. Jim Vinale passed an accurate plot of their position to the pilot to be transmitted with the Mayday call. The A.E.O. had used the cartridge start system to fire up the A.A.P.U. to provide more electrical power, and was in the process of gradually restoring selected aircraft systems back to life. Half the Power Flying Controls had been shed in the emergency and these were restarted apart from the auxiliary rudder P.F.C. Jim Power was very busy running through the reference cards and doing his switching when he noticed a glow in the eye piece of the periscope. A very nasty shock was received when he saw a fire raging in the area of No.1 engine, as he shouted a warning the fire warning light for No.2 engine re-illuminated and remained on for two minutes. The Mayday was call retransmitted and the captain ordered "Put on parachutes and prepare to bail out".


1. Flight International, 2 May 1981
2. Air Britain: RAF Aircraft XA100 - XZ999, published 2001


Revision history:

28-Dec-2008 11:02 harro Updated
22-Aug-2011 22:24 Uli Elch Updated [Operator, Location, Phase, Source]
12-Mar-2012 04:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Mar-2012 04:42 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Source]
10-Apr-2013 14:11 Nepa Updated [Operator, Narrative]
03-Jun-2013 08:00 Nepa Updated [Operator]
03-Aug-2015 22:43 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]

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