XL426 carried out two successful taxi-runs at London Southend Airport on the afternoon of Saturday 8 December 2018.
The runs were part of an engineering exercise and the event was not open to the public, although some lucky enthusiasts in the airport car parks got a good view of XL426 as she taxied towards the runway after starting up on the airport's main apron.
We were keen to taxi XL426 as part of our maintenance programme before the end of 2018 as we will not be able to access the airport's runway during the first few months of 2019 due to works being carried out in preparation for Ryanair beginning flights from Southend later in the year.
At the controls were pilot Group Captain Bill Burnett and our Chief Engineer, Matt Lawrence. After a bright, but breezy, morning, the clouds darkened just after lunch time with the forecast rain arriving literally seconds after XL426's four Olympus engines were started just at 2.30 pm.
After moving off the airport apron, XL426 was taxied to the threshold of Runway 24 before starting the first of two runs down Southend's runway. The second run was visibly faster than the first, with a good deal of spray being kicked-up from the wet runway and the familar Olympus howl being hear across the airport.
Following completion of the second run, XL426 was taxied back to her current home outside Hangar 5 where her engines were shut down.
Photo: Jason Gore