The last flying Vulcan XH558 took to the air on first day of the Cotwold Airshow on 18 and 19 June at Kemble airfield near Swindon and will appear at Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford on 16 and 17 July.
You could win the lavishly illustrated book detailing XH558’s fifty years in the air.
We have three copies to give away, personally signed by 1982 Falklands hero Black Buck 1, squadron leader Martin Withers who won the Distinguished Flying Cross for his marathon flight in Vulcan XM607 and successful bombing of the runway at Port Stanley. Martin is now chief pilot with Vulcan to the Sky Trust.
The winners will be the entrants who submit the most dramatic image of the Vulcan flying at Kemble or at Fairford.
The last all-British designed and built military aircraft was on around-the-clock standby to drop the atomic bomb on the Soviet Union during the east-west stand-off in the 1960s and 70s.
XH558, built in 1960 and restored between 2005 and 2007, was maintained over the winter by experts at RAF Lyneham. However the charity that keeps the aircraft in the air needs to raise millions of pounds annually to cover running costs.
Other highlights at the show will include a Hawker Hunter formation flypast. The event celebrates the 75th anniversary of the first flight of the Supermarine Spitfire and at least three Spitfires will be present to celebrate this achievement.
Kemble was once home base for the RAF Red Arrows and they will be putting on their spectacular display over the crowds. Tickets are priced at £19.50 for adults, £25 on the day, £5 for children aged six to 16, while under fives will be admitted free. Grandstand tickets are an extra £18.
Tickets are available from www.cotswoldairshow.com and from Swindon information centre in Regent Street.
Wonderfully-illustrated new book celebrates 50 years of XH558, the last flying Vulcan
All profits go to support XH558 in her biggest flying season ever.
The history of one of the world’s most popular aircraft, XH558 the last flying Vulcan, is celebrated in a lavishly-illustrated new book published to celebrate her 50th year.
Researched and written by the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, 50 Years of Vulcan XH558 uncovers her history from construction, through all her many roles, her retirement from RAF service and eventual restoration to flight.
Printed on art-quality paper, it is packed with rare photographs and fascinating facts, culminating in the nail-biting story of her restoration and an insight into the challenges of returning one of Britain’s greatest aircraft to the skies.
There are anecdotes from the pilots who fly her and the engineers who care for her, with first-hand accounts of some of the most dramatic periods in history and the critical role of the Vulcan type.
Squadron Leader Martin Withers DFC delivers one of the most dramatic stories, documenting the bombing of the Port Stanley airstrip during the Falklands conflict complete with an insight into the incredible logistics and planning that made it possible.
XH558 spent last winter at RAF Lyneham undergoing its annual maintenance programme and airworthiness checks for the 2011 flying season, subject to funding being raised to keep the aircraft in the air.
“From the first designs through to flying her today, it’s a story of British endeavour that we hope will inspire future generations of engineers and aviators,” says Vulcan to the Sky Trust chief executive officer Dr Robert Pleming. “Carefully-researched content, gorgeous photography and outstanding design make this a really lovely item and a wonderful addition to any library.”
The book is available for £24 (including post and packing) from the Vulcan To The Sky Trust website and all proceeds will go towards helping the last flying Vulcan reach the 2011 display season with stable finances.
£350,000 is needed by the end of May, of which just £120,000 has so far been raised.Operating the last flying Vulcan, to aviation safety standards that are amongst the highest in the world, costs around £2million a year, almost all of which is generously donated by the public or earned from the Trust’s growing commercial activities.
To purchase the 50th Anniversary Book, please click here: http://www.vulcantotheskystore.co.uk/product/XH558_50th_ANNIVERSARY_BOOK_50thBOOK.
The online store recently acquired an intriguing new line: magnetic bookmarks. Each one is printed with the same beautiful picture of XH558 featured on the cover of the 50th Anniversary book so would make a stylish complement to your personal copy . Vulcan magnetic bookmarks can be purchased here: http://www.vulcantotheskystore.co.uk/product/Magnetic_Bookmark_Set_MagBookSet-3 at just £3.00 for a set of three.
Fly your name with the Vulcan
Until the end of May, you can add your name to the Summer Season Plaque which will be mounted on the last flying Vulcan’s historic bomb-bay doors and seen by everyone taking a tour at her home or on the ground at airshows, and staying with her for the rest of her public life. You can sign-up here: http://www.vulcantothesky.org/how-to-help/appeal-poster.html
Join the Vulcan community
You can sign-up for the weekly eNewsletter at: http://www.vulcantothesky.org/register.html
Join the Vulcan Facebook community at: www.facebook.com/pages/Vulcan-xh558/170427449654925
To find-out how to help XH558 remain The Last Flying Vulcan, visit www.vulcantothesky.org
To find out where to see the last flying Vulcan, visit http://www.vulcantothesky.org/appearances.html
Why is the Vulcan Important?
The Avro Vulcan is an iconic example of British aerospace engineering at its world-beating best. The design brief was issued by the MoD in 1947 and the aircraft flew for the first time in 1952, just eleven years after the first flight of its predecessor, the Avro Lancaster. Its impressive list of technical achievements includes being the first successful large delta wing aircraft (leading directly to Concorde), innovations such as electrically-powered flying controls, one of the first applications of anti-lock brakes, and an agility that was so close to a jet fighter’s that it was given a fighter-style control column in place of the traditional bomber pilot’s yoke.
Success as a Cold War peacekeeper meant that the Vulcan might have flown its entire service life without ever entering combat if it hadn’t been for the Falklands Conflict in 1982. During a marathon 8,000 mile flight supported by eleven Victor tankers, Squadron Leader Martin Withers and his crew released the bombs over Port Stanley Airport that prevented Argentina operating its Mirage III fighters from the island and initiated the campaign that recaptured the Falklands. Two years later, the last Vulcans were withdrawn from service.
Today, only one Vulcan is left flying: XH558, owned by the Vulcan To The Sky Trust, a Registered Charity. Returned to the air in 2007, she has become an airshow phenomenon. “People forget that airshows attract seven million people annually. That’s second only to football,” says Dr Pleming. “An appearance by the Vulcan builds even on this remarkable level, typically increasing attendance by 20-40 percent. Airshow organisers talk about ‘the Vulcan Effect’ and have described the aircraft as a national treasure.”
Squadron Leader Martin Withers DFC (he won the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroic Vulcan mission to Port Stanley) is a passionate supporter of the educational role of the plane. “Part of our mission is to ensure that young people learn about the knife-edge fear of the Cold War,” he explains. “If I had been ordered to press the button that release the nuclear payload over our enemy, there would almost certainly have been no Britain left to fly home to.The Vulcan is the most powerful symbol of a remarkable period in British history that we must never forget”
Withers is also passionate about the aircraft’s growing role in technical education. “This is one of the most iconic pieces of aerospace technology ever, and it is thoroughly British. The Vulcan fires young people with a passion to develop and build world-beating technologies. And we can help give them those skills through training modules that call upon the extraordinary knowledge, rigour and precision needed to restore and maintain the UK’s only flying ‘complex’ heritage aircraft.”
The Trust hopes to fly the aircraft for at least two more display seasons, including the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, which is also the 60th anniversary of the first flight of the Vulcan and the 30th anniversary of its heroic role in the Falklands conflict. “The airframe has limited time before it will no longer be possible to renew its Permit to Fly,” explains Dr Pleming. “After that, we hope to develop a museum and educational centre around the plane, funded by conference, leisure and other commercial activities.”