PICTURE: Record-breaking Nimrod flown to Coventry air museum

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A record-breaking ex-Royal Air Force British Aerospace Nimrod MR2 has been flown to Coventry airport, where it will serve as the newest attraction with the Air Atlantique Classic Flight.

A veteran of the Falklands War, XV232 in 1982 set a distance record for a reconnaissance flight that has yet to be beaten. Supported by in-flight refuelling assets, the aircraft covered 8,453 miles (13,609km) in 18h and 50min while monitoring the South Atlantic for Argentinian naval activity.

 
© Andrew Kitney

The recently retired Nimrod landed at Coventry airport on 11 May following a delivery flight from RAF Kinloss in Scotland. It joins Air Atlantique's collection of classic aircraft, which also includes an Avro Shackleton, English Electric Canberras and a Gloster Meteor night fighter.

"It seems fitting that we should add a descendent of the de Havilland Comet - the world's first jet airliner - to the Classic Flight's eclectic fleet," says commercial operations director Steve Bridgewater.

The aircraft will be assigned to a new visitor attraction dubbed Airbase, which will open its doors to the public for the first time on 29 May. Air Atlantique says this is "Britain's largest collection of flyable vintage jets", with more than 30 aircraft to be on show.

XV232 is the third Nimrod MR2 to have been delivered to museums so far, following the transfer of aircraft XV250 and XV226 to Elvington and Bruntingthorpe, respectively.

All three aircraft will be maintained in ground running condition, enabling them to participate in taxi demonstrations for the public. Air Atlantique says its example will be "exercised" on a regular basis.

"The aeroplane is now being decommissioned by a team from RAF Kinloss, after which it will assume a new position within the Airbase visitor centre and will be opened to members of the public for interior tours," it says.

The RAF withdrew its last Nimrod MR2s from operational service on 31 March.