First Flight of the First Production Vulcan B.1, XA889

On 4 February 1955, the first production Vulcan B.1, XA889, made its maiden flight, flying with the original Vulcan wing design.

In September 1955, Avro test pilot, Wing Commander ‘Roly’ Falk flew the second production Vulcan B.1, XA890, at the Farnborough Airshow. Falk amazed the crowds by performing a barrel roll, displaying the Vulcan’s fighter like handling.

During trials with the prototypes VX777 and VX770, handling problems were experienced as the aircraft approached the speed of sound at high altitude in tests at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down . Rearwards movement of the centre-of-lift as the aircraft went faster resulted in a tendency for the aircraft to enter an uncontrollable dive. This was clearly unacceptable in any aircraft.

Type 698 & Vulcan B.1

Comparison of Vulcan Planforms

The solution to the issue included a ‘Phase 2 wing’ that featured a kinked and drooped leading edge and vortex generators on the upper surface. These had originally been tested on the Avro 707A, the reduced-scale test aircraft. The “Auto Mach Trimmer” was added to help mitigaate the problem.

Vulcan XA889 was too advanced in its production to be fitted with the phase 2 wing, but in 1956 the aircraft returned to Avro for Mod.84 – kinked and drooped leading edge to wings.

In March 1956, XA889 underwent acceptance trials for the aircraft type’s Certificate of Airworthiness at A&AEE and the Vulcan was cleared for entry into RAF service on 29 May 1956.

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