It has been a constant source of amusement for anyone involved with the Engineering Team over the years that the operating manual for the Vulcan tow bar states that it can be attached to the aircraft by two people. We have never done it with less than four, most usually with five or six! Not that it is difficult but it is heavy to move and attaching it to XL426 needs several pairs of hands to carry out a number of functions, some of them simultaneously. We still haven’t worked out how RAF ground crew did it.
The tow bar was delivered to Southend Airport along with XL426 in December 1986. It was rather old and stiff and a bit rusty and needed a bit more than simple TLC. Fortunately, we purchased another one some years ago which wasn’t so old or stiff but still needed renovation before we could use it.
It was sandblasted, painted NATO green and with a good dressing of grease, we took it out for a run (with Vulcan attached, of course) and it worked beautifully.