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Ground Test on the airfield

Just prior to the rebuild another 22R engine had suffered an LP turbine ejection. This had been in May and resulted from a loss of cooling air to the turbine disc, which then ruptured and failed. By monitoring the cooling gauges in the cockpit the crew could keep watch for potential problems; no doubt one of them had their eye on these gauges during all subsequent flights.Rebuild complete, the aircraft was demonstrated at Farnborough in September 1962 during the SBAC show. It did several low level passes with reheat on which were quite spectacular. BAC Warton's famous Chief Test Pilot, Wing Commander R P Beaumont, flew the aircraft on the 20th November. This turned out to be its last flight.On the 3rd December 1962, XA894 was positioned on the detuner at Filton for a ground run and full power check; the detuner was to the north of the main east/west runway. At around 3.30pm, power was increased to maximum reheat; the exhaust flame evident in the darkening winter evening. Seconds later there was a sudden burst of orange flame above and below the aircraft. The whole aircraft lurched visibly forward. Inside the cabin the four occupants clearly felt the shock as the engine abruptly failed. The bomb bay fire warning lights flashed and then abruptly went out as the firewire cabling was cut. The crew did not hang about. They began evacuating as fast ignoring the crew ladder. The last man out noted that the LP disk cooling air gauge still read within limits; so that had not been the cause

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This is page 1 of Vulcan - Olympus engine Test Bed - on Fire.
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XA894 with engine

XA894 with engine
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The fire quickly takes hold

The fire quickly takes hold
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The aircraft was soon an inferno

The aircraft was soon an inferno
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