Handley Page Victor K.2 XH672/9242M
Photographed in the National Cold War Exhibition, Cosford on 23 May 2011. See also picture #997
Built in 1960 as one of 34 Victor B.2 aircraft by Handley Page Ltd at Radlett, Herts, the final part of the second Victor production batch.
6 April 1960 first flight, 55 minutes; pilot P.P. Baker.
7 April 1960 Production Test flight by Victor Project pilot John Allam.
26 May 1960 awaiting collection, but on loan to makers for autoland, autopilot development and engine surge trials, since engine surge was being experienced during deceleration, so high-altitude trials were required.
11 April 1961 to A&AEE Boscombe Down for handling trials for Victor B.2 Certificate of Airworthiness release.
7 June 1961 to Handley Page at Radlett for refit of auto pilot equipment and setting up instrumentation for Handley Page Auto-Pilot flight tests.
31 August 1961 loaned to Ministry of Aviation, with formal allotment from 2 Nov 61. At this time the aircraft was also involved in Red Neck Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) trials, the equipment being carried in long underwing pods, with a Red Neck pod under the port wing and a starboard underwing fuel tank beneath the starboard wing.
25 April 1962 from HP Radlett to A&AEE Boscombe Down for further auto pilot/autoland trials. Later for radio altimeter Mk.7 trials.
ILS trials at Bedford on 6 December 1963.
11 December 1963 to Handley Page at Radlett for automatic landing system trials; Victor test pilot John Allam was involved in demonstrating successful auto landing using more than one runway installation in head wind, cross wind and light tail wind conditions at Radlett before the planned move to Boscombe for the official capability appraisal; John Allam recalled in 2005 that the Ministry requested 200 successful auto landings without failure before the aircraft could be accepted by the A&AEE for appraisal. The company trials were completed without a single failure of auto pilot/auto land equipment in the aircraft; on completion the aircraft was again offered for its A&AEE appraisal only to be told that the auto land requirements for the V-bombers had been cancelled.
2 July 1964 allotted to Handley Page at Radlett for modification to B(SR)2 standard and Certificate of Airworthiness release.
Modified as one of 9 of the radar equipped Victor B.2(SR) variant for maritime reconnaissance and day/night photography. This variant replaced the Valiant as Bomber Command’s standard strategic reconnaissance aircraft. In 1970 the cameras were removed and the aircraft operated in the radar reconnaissance role.
10 July 1965 first flight following conversion; pilot J W Allam.
11 August 1965 Modifications to SR.2 standard completed and next day delivered to RAF Wyton, No. 543 Squadron.
Took part in Bomber Command and joint maritime exercises and survey of the oil spill from the Torrey Canyon, and in August 1967 an extensive photo survey of Denmark, in addition to high-level reconnaissance, survey and ocean surveillance.
13 Apr 1966 to Handley Page for modifications (wing strengthening).
23 Jun 66 Returned to No. 543 Squadron.
20 March 1974 to Hawker Siddeley Aviation at Woodford for modification to flight refueling standard as a tanker, one of 24 Victors so modified. XH672 was the only B.2(SR) to be converted, the others being the pure B.2 variant.
24 May 1974 No. 543 Squadron disbanded at Wyton to permit conversion of its Victors to refuelling tankers.
3 February 1978 as the last Victor K2 conversion, XH672 was ‘Set 24’; towed out of the ‘New’
Assembly Hall at British Aerospace Woodford.
14 April 1978 first flight following conversion 2.10hrs, pilot C Masefield.
23 May 1978 delivered to RAF Marham, Norfolk; 35 minute flight, pilot C Masefield.
24 May 1978 to No. 57 Squadron at RAF Marham. Carried standard matt dark green and medium sea grey camouflage, with white undersides and Day-Glo red stripes under the wing tips and on the underwing pods.
Apr/May 1982 Involved in Operation Corporate - the Falklands Conflict; at this time the Victors were the RAF’s only strategic tankers.
23 April 1982 deployed to the Victor detachment at Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island, flying non-stop from Marham.
30 April 1982 one of 11 Victors in a stream departure – one a minute - from Ascension Island to service that night’s ‘Black Buck 1’ bombing raid on Port Stanley Airfield, being the lead aircraft. Piloted by Sqn Ldr M.D. Todd.
3-4 May 1982 flown as a tanker on the Black Buck 2 mission, pilot Flt Lt A D Richardson.
11/12/13 May 1982 airborne for 11 h 50 m with three other Victors in support, as contingency cover for ready alert Sea Harrier on the Atlantic Conveyer as it proceeded from Ascension island with its cargo of Harriers and helicopters.
1 Jun 1982 covered the deployment of two No. 1 Sqn. Harrier GR.3’s from Ascension Island direct to flagship HMS Hermes in the Total Exclusion Zone around the Falklands. Flown by Flt Lt. Millikin, and airborne for 11 h 45 m.
12 June 1982 cover for final Black Buck Mission, a bombing raid on Stanley Airport.
15 June 1982 Returned to UK (Marham) via Dakar.
29 June 1982 to RAF St. Athan, Glam. for major overhaul.
12 August 1982 returned to No. 57 Squadron at RAF Marham.
13 January 1984 To MoD (PE) at A&AEE Boscombe Down for aileron up-rig trials.
23 February 1984 Returned to No. 57 Squadron.
24 February 1986 to RAF St. Athan for major overhaul.
26 June 1986 returned to No. 57 Squadron.
2 July 1986 No. 55 Squadron, RAF Marham, following the disbandment of No.57 Squadron.
29 February 1988 landing accident at USAF Offutt AFB; hydraulic failure resulted in the aircraft running off the runway, this resulted in ‘I Ran Offut’ artwork being applied to the crew door.
August 1990 With the build up of Iraqi aggression in the Gulf and the invasion of Kuwait on 2 August, No.55 Squadron operated from Marham over France and Sicily to help deploy fast jets to the Gulf, Operation Granby, moving to Muharraq, Bahrain in December 1990.
January 1991 Involved in Desert Storm operations against Iraq. Operated from Muharraq in standard hemp and light aircraft grey colour scheme. Named ‘Maid Marion’ with nose art of a brunette in black and yellow attire holding a blue spear, the emblem of No. 55 Squadron, applied by 55 Squadron ground crew member Cpl. Andy Price, aircraft being named after Crew Chief’s wives/girlfriends.
Black petrol pump symbols as seen here acted as mission tallies.
XH672 was the highest scoring refueller, with 52 missions. No. 55 Squadron was later involved in Operations ‘Warden’ and ‘Jural’ over northern and southern Iraq respectively, based at Akrotiri, Cyprus between 7 September 1991 and 3 February 1992 for ‘Warden’ and at Bahrain between 9 Dec 1992 and 8 September 1993 for ‘Jural’.
23 September 1993 took part in 3-aircraft farewell formation over the North Sea with XM717 (nose now at RAFM Hendon) and XL164.
15 October 1993 No. 55 Squadron stood down as a Victor unit and the Victor K.2 ceased to be an operational RAF type; XH672 and two other Victors made the disbandment parade FlyPast, ‘672 being flown by Captain Flt Lt T Hatcher as call sign ‘Spartan 1’.
16 October 1993 Transferred to Victor Disbandment Flight.
30 November 1993 flown from Marham to RAF Shawbury, Salop by the ‘Victor Disposal Flight’ - the last ever flight by a Victor. The 3,700 foot Cosford runway was too short, with no overruns available, to safely land a Mk.2 Victor. Pilots for the last flight, call sign again ‘Spartan 1’ were Sqn Ldr. Steve Jenkins and F/Lt. Tony Inglebrecht, who both kept their hands on the controls so that they could both claim to have made the last Victor landing. Also on board was former Handley Page test pilot Johnny Allam, who carried out test and development flights on most Victor variants-this was his first and only Victor passenger flight. Delivery flight made minus the underwing fuel tanks. Total flying hours 8196.
1994 dismantled and moved by road to RAF Cosford, Salop by February 1994 to join the Aerospace Museum there.
19 May 2006 Moved into the new National Cold War Exhibition building at Cosford, as seen here.
Picture added on 14 August 2011 at 10:18