On this day in 2007

On August 16th 2007, after extensive system checks XH558 rolled out of the hangar and was towed down to the engine ground-running pan, where her engines were started for the first time and run up to idle speed. Full power runs of all four engines followed several days later. A further two months of testing on the ground followed to ensure that XH558 was 100% ready for flight. 


Ground Tests
Ground testing prior to starting engines

Dr Robert Pleming writes “Ground testing started in early summer of 2007 with the application of electrical power – initially the 24v DC vital supply, followed by the 200v 400Hz three-phase AC and subsidiary supplies. One by one, the various systems were put through documented procedures to ensure correct setup and operation. Possibly the most time-consuming and messy was the fuel system, with its 14 fuel tanks (holding about 39,000 litres of fuel in total), 29 fuel pumps and associated pipe work. On the Vulcan, fuel is used to maintain the fore-and-aft centre-of-gravity in the correct position, so it is vital that this system works correctly.

With recovery complete in August, it was time to light the fires! One by one, the four new Rolls-Royce Olympus 202 engines were started and, on test, performed perfectly – over 25 years since they were last tested. It would be wrong to imply that there were no problems found – there were – but that is what testing is all about. A couple of the faults were spectacular, both of these arising from component failures in the 3000psi hydraulics. But all of them were fixed, and by October, XH558 was ready to move for the first time since the start of the project under its own power.”

Hydraulic pipe failure
Hydraulic pipe failure - September 13th 2007

XH558 50th Anniversary book

You can read more about XH558's restoration, written by Dr. Robert Pleming, amongst others in -

50 Years of Vulcan XH558