View Full Version : Vulcan. Scampton.

9th Aug 2002, 16:58
Vulcan, Engine Failure on Departure.

RAF Scampton, sometime in 1969 I was close to a Vulcan, as it rotated, it blew an engine (or two?) Departing on the south- westerly runway I think saved the crew.

Any more info ?

Mr G.:)

Stan Evil
12th Aug 2002, 19:34
Maybe you are referring to the Vulcan that burnt at Scampton on the end of the runway in about 1974. Drung the run-up for take-off it hadn't even moved when one of the turbine discs detached and chain-sawed its way through the aircraft. Everyone got out OK. I was shown round a Vulcan a year or so later by the co-pilot Dick Fenn. A couple of notable features:

There was an air cadet on board and, when the crew evacuated he forgot to undo his 'elephant's trunk' and so his parachute opened automatically as he left the aircraft - it didn't seem to slow him down much though.

The turbine disc whizzed across the airfield and went straight through the back of an RAF Police Landrover, killing the unfortunate dog. The dog handler should have been in the back with his hound but was taking a ciggy break in the front with the driver. He was subsequently charged with being absent from his post of duty but was let off due to 'exterminating circumstances'.

There's a good photo of the wreckage in a Vulcan book I have but it's packed away in a box in the loft somewhere.

13th Aug 2002, 12:57
Stan Evil.

No, this was definitely 1969.

I spent the year working as an agricultural labourer at RAF Scampton waiting to join ATC as a student ATCO.

Great days watching Vulcans.

Here are my initial thoughts from what one day might become an autobiography.

I was upwind of the active runway. No mobile phones or personal radios to keep in touch with Air Traffic Control. Just an eagle eye on the tower, looking for a red light. It was quite common to be beside the runway as a Vulcan took off. Usually the noise of the Olympus was enough to warn you that a departure was imminent. This morning was no exception. I could see and hear the Vulcan as it left the dispersal. I paused and turned the Mountfield Grass Cutter off so I could watch. I could see the beast as it snaked its way along the perimeter track towards the holding point of the active runway. Smoke gathered as the throttles were advanced. It lumbered down the runway towards me. I was not in a position of danger. Air Traffic would never have allowed that. As the aircraft passed abeam me it rotated. Just as the P2 would be calling Vr there was an enormous explosion. I hit the deck and saw flames and debris coming from the rear of the two port engines. The landing gear retracted and the aircraft continued on the runway heading but not climbing. Scampton is built on an escarpment of the Lincolnshire Wolds. The southwesterly runway gives an immediate altitude advantage on departure of several hundreds of feet. This saved the Vulcan. It disappeared from view as it sank towards the ground. I stood waiting for what I thought would be the inevitable thud as it impacted. After what seemed an eternity, in the distance I saw the aircraft in a slow right turn clawing for height. By this time Fire and Rescue Services were on the scene. The Vulcan continued downwind very slowly. Smoke continued to pour from the engines. It touched down normally, coming to a halt almost where the explosion had occurred on departure. As it slowed the entry/exit hatch just aft of the nose wheel opened and a pair of legs appeared. Barely had the aircraft stopped when the first crewmembers were sprinting across the tarmac.


Mr G.


15th Aug 2002, 08:03
I saw both. The story about the one that burned out at the end of the runway is essentially correct, except the date was 1966 - I flew over Scampton in a JP during my BFTS training and saw the blaze. Also I query that Dick fenn was the co-pilot, I thought he joined the V Force after that.

I was duty pilot in the tower when the aircraft (Captain - Val Ventham) suffered an engine fire on rotate. Flying off the ridge without doubt saved their lives, because they completely disappeared from view. The controller hit the crash button and it seemed an agonising amount of time before the aircraft came into view again trailing black smoke. The weather was fine, so he flew a visual circuit and landed without further incident.

The peculiarity about the Vulcan engines was that a catastophic disintegration often caused the airflow through the engine to reverse, spitting debris forward into the intake, where it was promptly sucked into the adjacent good engine, causing that to fail as well. Hence we always practiced for a double engine failure.

15th Aug 2002, 19:19

Thanks for the reply. Amazing you were in the tower !.

Now can you answer the following :-
What were the runway directions then in 1969 ? (not necessarily the same today of course)

Any recollections of a Victor and three F101 Voodoos nightstopping in 1969 ? I think they may have been en-route to an air show in Canada.

What was the VHF Frq. used for SRAs. (Same as Sturgate ?)

Do you remember 3 Vulcans being held up as they taxied for departure by a grass cutting tractor crawling along the taxiway.
The driver was deaf and had his hearing aid turned off so was not aware of any noise.


Mr G.:confused:

17th Aug 2002, 07:20

Runway 23/05. I don't remember the other details/incidents to which you refer.

Stan Evil
17th Aug 2002, 20:10

You're right - I realise now that I'm 10 years older than I thought I was! I was a teenager when Dick Fenn showed me round. He came back to the V-force again later and, by a strange coincidence, I bumped into him on GV in 1978 when we were both doing the same job!!

18th Aug 2002, 15:26

Thanks for the reply.

Hope not to be a pain but can remember dates, A/C ident, Sqd. etc. of Val Venthams Vulcan ?


Mr G.

24th Aug 2002, 07:53
Mr G - Sorry, I can't remember any detail - I didn't take any notes or notice of that sort of info. I can say, though, that he wasn't on 27 Sqn - might have been on 83?