At the controls

Taxi run 2010
Operating the Victor post RAF in a civil enviroment by Andre Tempest

To successfully and safely operate the Victor for public demonstrations the aircraft has to prepared as if for 'flight'.
Al Stephenson reading out the checks
Wing Commander Barry Neal insists the aircraft is operated as per The Standard Operating Procedures and only accepts the aircraft as serviceable once the Flight Refence Cards (checklists) have been satisfactorily gone through with the AEO Alan Stephenson reading the checks.
Therefore ALL four engines have to be running, all four generators have to be on-line and all hydraulic sytems correctly functioning and up to the correct operating pressures. All powered flying controls also have to be serviceable. On the rare occasion that we have had to complete a public event with an engine shut down for say a spurious fire warning then a lower safety speed is calculated and the aircraft demonstrated as per the conditions in order not to dissapoint the spectators. The wonderful thing about the Victor K2 is its massive amount of engine power and in fact at certain fuel loads was capable of being ferry-flighted on three engines! I personally wouldn't have fancied the idea, but the aircraft was capable of doing it. The electrical loads are easily taken over by the other generators in that situation on a manually parelled electrical system which is capable of producing enough power to light up a small town. This is due to the fact that the generation system (AC) was over-equipped in order to power massive cooling packs and Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) during the Cold War period. In fact ONE generator is capable of running a Victor in a 'worst case scenario'.
On the electrical and avionics sides, both pitot static systems are tested before each run to ensure serviceability and all flight instuments must work to safely ensure XL231 can be taken to around 130knots for a full public event.
Tyre inflation checks
All gaseous systems (less oxygen) are fully charged up to the correct levels and the emergency opening system (nitrogen) for the crew access door is charged for each run.
A 'see-off' crew ensures that XL231 departs the parking area safely and a Crew Chief ensures that there are no fuel, hydraulic or high pressure air leaks before a display. He stays plugged into the external intercom whilst the aircraft is moved forward for a brake and steering check. He only unplugs once the pre-taxy checks are completed and is cleared to do so by the Captain. The aircraft will not move any further until the Crew Chief signals by a 'thumbs up' that he is clear of the wingtip.
Barry Neal in the Captains seat
Once lined up on the runway the pre-takeoff checks are completed. The Captain as a final act ask the crew to please call out any concerns that they may have before the display run. If all are happy the aircraft is displayed as per the brief with a power and brake holding check at 88% power before the run which may be up to 130knots. Power is then applied to 100%. The acceleration is incredibly fast and the speed is called by the co-pilot in 10 knot intervals up to 100 knots and then 5 knot intervals up to the designated speed. Once the power is retarded the tail braking parachute is deployed, the flaps are dropped to 'land' and the airbrakes are selected fully out. With a full chute stream the decelaration is very noticeable and only moderate braking used. What you always have to keep in mind is the Victor weighs around 60tons unloaded and is operated at about 85tons at Elvington so you always have to be ahead of the game. It is capable of carrying 60tons of fuel so it gives some sort of impression that it is a very powerful machine and at medium fuel loads could outrun most fighters at altitude!

Jettisoned Chute
Once the speed has decayed the brake chute is jettisoned and the aircraft slowed in order to meet the turn around crew. They usually plug into the external intercom and a member of the team visually inspects the tyres, wheel and brakes before a back-track demo is carried out. If they are happy a gentle burst of power is used and a moderate brisk run carried out on the return run.
The see-off team now become the see-in team and they marshall us in , carrying out a visual check of tyres, wheel and brakes before closing the engines down. Two of the guys then drain off each engines fuel collector box before it dumps its contents all over the concrete. A bonus there is it is extra fuel for the aircraft's ground power unit. Recycling to the extreme!!

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