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Saturday 3rd June 2023 Southend, Essex, SS2 6YU

A Cold War Avro Vulcan shoot with B2 XL426 at Southend Airport

A fantastic opportunity to support XL426 in her time of need, an evening & sunset photo shoot with her at former RAF Rochford, Southend Airport with re-enactors.


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About this event

We are pleased to announce a return to Southend for what is becoming an annual event with former RAF Icon Vulcan XL426.  This shoot being the 6th time that we will have the opportunity to shoot her at Southend Airport. As ever we will make good use of our time with this iconic aircraft during our evening and sunset shoot. We will start with XL426 inside the hanger so you can capture her inside and being pushed outside for the remainder of the shoot.  We will also do an engine run using the aux power unit. With re-enactors, ground handling equipment, period vehicles and lighting effects you are assured of a fantastic evening of photography.

This exclusive TimeLine event will begin at 18:30 (arrive for check in at 17:30) and end at 22:00. 

Our first event here was in 2017 and it was an out and out success so we have made it a regular event in our diary. With re-enactors playing the part of RAF personnel and mechanics, plus assorted pieces of RAF equipment available, we believe this will be a very unique evening at the former RAF Rochford.

XL426 is a Vulcan B2 and was the 44th out of 88 Vulcan B2s built.  Her maiden flight was 23rd August 1962; she entered service with 83 squadron at RAF Scampton in September 1962.  When delivered, she wore an anti-flash white colour scheme and was armed with a Blue Steel stand-off missile.  XL426 was the personal aircraft of the then CO 83 Squadron, Wing Commander John Slessors from 1962 to 1965.  On 10th September 1963, whilst returning from training at Goose Bay in Canada, John Slessor flew XL426 to RAF Scampton in 4 hours 5 minutes - then an unofficial North Atlantic record crossing.  From 1962 till 1986 she flew with 27, 83, 50 and 617 squadrons.  In 1981 she was the last Vulcan to undergo a major service at RAF St Athan.  On 12th October 1982 she lead three Vulcans in the Falklands Victory Parade flypast over London, even though XL426 was not deployed to war.  She was the founder aircraft of the RAF's Vulcan Display Flight from 1984-1986, which XH558 continued till 1993.  Finally, she landed at Southend Airport for the last time on 19th December 1986, having clocked up 6236 flying hours.  The Vulcan Restoration Trust was formed on 28th July 1993 to keep XL426 in live taxing condition.  The aircraft is looked after by a dedicated team of Vulcan enthusiasts and the VRT has a membership of over 550 people.  She is now in a 1980's wrap-around camouflage colour scheme and wears the crest of 617 squadrons on one side of her tail and 50 squadrons on the other. 

This is an exclusive event and you will be required to bring a valid photo driving license or valid passport on the day (no other ID is valid). There will be no access airside without one of these forms of identification and no exceptions can be made.  You must provide your own ORANGE high visibility vest, (this is mandatory). You will also be required to arrive at 17:30 this is to allow for security checkin and a safety briefing in order that we can get the event started on time.

There will be hot and cold refreshments available (at an extra cost).  Also, the Vulcan Restoration Trust mechanise stand will be open to purchase a souvenir from the event.

It should also be noted that due to a change in security requirements at Southend Airport we will be operating the event from a defined area that will have a 1 meter high barrier on the perimeter, we can assure you that this will not detract from our photography.

Event requirements


  • Spare batteries
  • Camera
  • Lense cloths
  • Filters
  • Lenses
  • Monopod
  • Camera protection - rain covers etc
  • Tripod


  • All levels welcome


  • Low

Other essentials

  • High vis jacket
  • Sturdy outdoor shoes
  • Warm clothing
  • Wet weather gear

Event location

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