A retired RAF Wing Commander has been named as the new chairman of the group which cares for Wellesbourne’s iconic Vulcan Bomber.
Wg Cdr Mike Pollitt takes over from Charles Brimson as chairman of XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society in an acting capacity until the appointment is formalised at the society’s AGM in May.
The group, made up entirely of volunteers, regularly meets at Wellesbourne Airfield to carry out maintenance on the Vulcan, whilst also organising the popular Wings and Wheels event at the site.
Mike said: “I’m very happy to take the job, at least until someone more appropriate wants to do it, perhaps from an engineering background. I’ve been doing the taxi runs in the Vulcan for around 20 years and I do come down to help with the volunteers a couple of Saturdays a month.
“This is a bit of a difficult transition period for the airfield and I would be very concerned if it ever came to the point where we had to move her, but I’ve got a good relationship with the airfield manager and we’ve had assurances from the Littler family that the Vulcan will be able to stay. It’s very important to me that we can maintain the Vulcan so that she can move under her own power as it’s one of only two that can still do that.
“The Vulcan is a very special aircraft, it was probably the most advanced of the V Bombers and it was very manoeuvrable, capable of flying as low as 80 feet. We trained and trained for that moment the balloon went up, but thankfully it never came to that.
“I would like to thank Charles for all his years of service to the society, he has been absolutely magnificent in the way he has led the group.”
Charles Brimson added: “I’m very proud that during my time as chairman I have seen membership grow from 200 to around 500, and the number of people attending Wings and Wheels swell from around 1,500 to 6,000 at our biggest event two years ago. Of course this has been down to the efforts of everyone involved in the society and I’m happy that I’ve done my small bit.
“I know the future of the airfield is not completely sorted yet but the situation seems to be a lot calmer now and I’m happy that I have helped steer the Vulcan through this period of uncertainty. I’m very positive about the future of the aircraft, with the last flying Vulcan grounded forever really XM655 is almost certainly the most exciting and most active Vulcan anywhere in the world. It is in a better condition now than it has ever been.
“I just felt it was time for a clean break and I wanted to move on to new things. I couldn’t wish to hand over to a better chap then Mike Pollitt, he was a Vulcan pilot himself and is a good friend.”