A RECORD number of visitors took a rare peek inside a historic warplane at Southend Airport.

More than 600 people attended an open day for XL426, the 52-year-old Vulcan bomber at Southend Airport, held by charity the Vulcan Restoration Trust.

It was the busiest open day the trust has held since it stopped taxiing the aircraft along the tarmac.

Trust member and former RAF pilot Joe Marsden, who flew the aircraft between 1973 and 1977, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant there are so many people who brought along their dads on Fathers’ Day to see the aircraft themselves.

“Last time we made about £2,000 so I expect it to be in excess of that.

“It was record attendance as far as we are concerned.”

Visitors were able to climb inside the cockpit to see where the pilots, navigators and air electronics officer worked and imagine what it would have been like on a long seven-hour flight.

The plane is one of only three Vulcans in the country that is still able to taxi, though it cannot fly.

The Vulcan took over from the wartime Lancaster as the Royal Air Force’s longrange bomber. During the Sixties they were armed with nuclear weapons.

The XL426, the Vulcan that the charity looks after, first took to the skies on August 23, 1962. It served with several squadrons until the early Eighties.