In this section we will inform you about on-going projects - restaurations etc., affecting 55 Squadron
The following item has been moved from What's New to here. There will be some up to date information on the work coming soon.
XH 648 On ground display duty at Waddington
On the Towline - the last two-point Tanker at work
XH 648 at Duxford - sad but at last indoors after years outside
XH 648 - on the day of the Association visit in April 2016, renovation began. We hope she will once again wear 55 Squadron colours...
pic. courtesy Colin Griffiths
The following text and photo are from the Imperial War Museum site at Duxford
The only one of its type in the world, Handley Page Victor XH648 is an important object in IWM’s collection. It is being conserved so that future generations can experience the Victor and the story it tells about Cold War conflict.
Following the movement of the Victor into the Conservation in Action hangar, detailed conservation work has commenced on the aircraft.
Conservation work continues on the remaining outer wing leading edge section, the ailerons and the outer wings.
Victor XH648 was originally built as a B1 model. Its first flight was on 27 November 1959 and it was delivered to No.57 Squadron at Honington on 21 December that year.
In October 1960, it returned to Handley Page at Radlett, Hertfordshire for conversion to a B1A status. This involved equipping it with new electronic countermeasure equipment, improved radio and radar equipment and changing the engines to Sapphire Mark 20701s.
Following conversion and test flights, XH648 was delivered to RAF Cottesmore on 11 May 1961 to join No.15 Squadron. Flown as part of the Far East Air Force during the confrontation with Indonesia in 1962-63. On return from Indonesia, XH648 remained with 15 Squadron until it was delivered back to RAF Honington to join 55 Squadron on 3 April 1964.
Less than a year later, in 1965, it was converted by Handley Page into a two-point tanker, making it a B (K) IA model. This involved the fitting of Mark 20B refueling pods under each wing. It then returned to 55 Squadron, who shortly afterwards moved to RAF Marham, where XH648 resided for the next ten years.
On 23 June1975, Victor XH648 was transferred to 57 Squadron, also based at RAF Marham, where it supported the Squadron’s final year as a Mark I tanker squadron. It was retired to Duxford on 2 June 1976.
We need to raise £450,000 to conserve the Victor and protect it so it can be seen and enjoyed by future generations.
Nose Bomb-aimer position - used for stowing luggage in Tanker use...
XH 648 Cockpit, pilots' position - not an ideal view out for formation flying...