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Vulcan Flies! Answered

The last air-worthy Avro Vulcan Bomber is flying again!

After seven million GBP, and countless hours of work, XH558 is again in the air, and has completed weeks of tests and trials, and her crew are anxiously waiting for the permit to fly.

This is wonderful news, and genuinely emotional. Vulcan is an absolutely beautiful aircraft, and I was privileged to be present at almost her last flight near Manchester well over a decade ago.

I have no idea what preceded Vulcan in the airshow, because all the time the preceding act was show, Vulcan was flying in a holding pattern over the Pennine hills. Whatever was flying in front of me, all I and many of the crowd had eyes for was this shark-like presence circling on the horizon, like a predator haunting a reef.

When she came closer for her actual show, it was one of the few times I have gotten genuinely emotional over a machine. Her grace, power, lines...

I'm even getting a lump in my throat as I type.

It is one of the highlights of my life to have been there when the Vulcan crew, believing she was about to be pensioned off forever, broke air-show rules and flew over the crowd, at low altitude, with full afterburners on.

It was the loudest sound I have ever heard, explosions included. My ears actually shut down. As she went over, I screamed and shouted with sheer joy, and I could not hear a noise I made!

After she passed, as hearing slowly returned, I realised that it was still noisy - every single car alarm was sounding, triggered by the noise of Vulcan's passing. There were a lot of cars.

It's been years since then, and it still stands clear in an otherwise patchy memory.

I am literally bouncing at the idea that I might get to see her in the air again.


But there's a hitch. They've spent millions already, but they need more. Simple day-to-day maintenance costs, plus the rising price of fuel, mean that it will cost upwards of 50,000GBP per month to keep XH558 in the air. That's a lot.

I don't normally do things like this, it's close to genuine spam, but I'm asking you all a favour. As Makers, lovers of the art of machinery, I'm asking you to contribute.

Donations should be sent to VTST, Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 5QS, United Kingdom, or by ‘phone to (44)116 247 8145, or online at http://www.vulcantothesky.com .

If you don't fancy sending cash, you could buy something from their shop.

Donation web page

That's it, folks - begging over.


XH558 just flew over my house!!

It's the Lowestoft Air Festival today and tomorrow - we're going tomorrow, sit on the beach, watch the planes.

Excellent weather forecast, about five hours of flying planned, the only downside is fuel - the festival organisers have to meet the fuel costs of the displays, so a couple of expensive (jet) items have been dropped in favour of less fuel-hungry shows.

Microlights, apparently...

Pah, it was flying over my school intermittently as well, as well as Apache Longbows etc. I never did get to the Waddington Air Show, for one I was in Center Parcs and for another it chucked it down.

Oh, yes, it was flooded out, like Duxford. >gloats


10 years ago

Yeesssss! 'tis awesome!


Reply 10 years ago

Curse you!

Go, get photos, get videos and post them here!

(The show's website is broken!)

Photos will be taken. The worst part is, it's smack in the middle of exams week. But I can live with that ;-)

I must say, I have seen this fly over my school before and it makes a magnificent sound. That, along with the Apache Longbow and Chinook that disturbed my german speaking exam :-P

Oh, I forgot you lived around there!

Looks like I was wrong, doesn't it? There is something interesting in Lincolnshire after all!

Plus I get to see it at the Waddington Air show soon :D