Thursday, 17 December 2009

Pre Christmas message from Robert Pleming

With just a week to go before Christmas, Robert Pleming has sent out a statement requesting help to meet the £200,000 target, that isn't that far away now, just £less than £50k needed for the end of December, but obviously it doesn;t stop there as a further £600k is needed by the end of March, if we are to see the Vulcan in the skies of the UK for 2010 - its birthday year...

The latest Appeal results show that the 50th Birthday Appeal has raised just over £150,000. At this time of year, in the current economic climate, this is a positively encouraging uptake. Everyone is most grateful for this on-going support.
Right now however, we are still well short of having enough cash to commit the essential engineering activities for 2010, with cash donations standing at just over £100,000. We really need to double this in less than a month!

After that, we still have a long way to go before the project is secure. We must keep driving the Appeal to realise well over £200,000 in cash by the first week in January, then £200,000 for each of the following 3 months.

Please take a few minutes to think of any friends, relatives or colleagues who might be persuaded to make a donation or a pledge!

The mathematics says that even a small direct donation but from a large number of people can make a huge difference! To this end, we have placed adverts in a number of regional publications, and are also looking into the cost implications of taking these adverts to a National level early in the New Year.

On pledges, the “Signup” page now allows you to specify a redemption month that suits you. If you have already pledged or donated, then please consider another pledge but timed in March towards the end of our Appeal.

Please continue to do all you can to promote XH558’s cause, as indeed every person – employee or volunteer - involved with the Trust is doing on XH558’s behalf. We have come too far not to try every possible means available to us.

Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, announced yesterday a savage reprioritisation in the RAF’s budgets, with amongst other cuts RAF Cottesmore – an old Vulcan base – to close. I now believe that XH558 has a third role, in addition to “Honouring the Past and Inspiring the Future”. With the inevitable cuts in the RAF’s air display commitments, XH558 is now one of the few ways that the public come to see the importance of Air Power in the defence of our country – a role that senior RAF officers fully endorse.

My next update will be just before Christmas and will be the last before the New Year – and decision time.

Kind Regards,

Robert Pleming
Chief Executive

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

£150,000 milestone reached on Vulcan target

As we all know, the Vulcan needs your money, whether it be via an immediate donation, or by a pledge to pay once the target is reached, and I'm delighted to see that the figure raised so far stands at over £150,000, which means that just less than £50,000 is needed before the end of the month to reach that first target.

The actual figure raised so far is £151,896, which consists of £108,720 worth of Donations, whilst there have been pledges of £40,600.

It's great to see that the actual Donations figure by far exceeds the Pledges, but this is where the public can now really make a difference and boost the Pledges figure up and help reach that £200k target, which is of course needed to get the winter service off the ground - no pun intended there!

Some may say what is all the fuss about, well you have to remember that it's the Vulcan's 50th birthday next year, and to fail to see that with the appearance of the the Vulcan in the skies of the UK would be simply tragic, and would possibly see the closure of the project.

Simply put, the Vulcan, is the nation's aircraft, a true piece of British history, and hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to see it at airshows all across the country, some even in Europe.

You can guarantee that people will say they "saw the Vulcan" whenever asked the question what was at the airshow they've just been to, the public simply love the aircraft, but more of that fan base needs to get behind the move to secure it's 50th year in the skies, this is it folks, it's down to us to keep her flying.

Please donate or pledge at the Vulcan to the Sky website, all you need to do is click the link on the top right of this page, and it will take you there!

Let's keep her flying!

For now, here's a great moment from this year's travels:

Monday, 7 December 2009

Statement from the Chairman, Vulcan to the Sky Trust

A new Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Vulcan To The Sky Trust has been appointed, and here is John Sharman's first message:

To all of our Supporters

I am delighted to have been elected to be Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Vulcan to the Sky Trust at the end of this spectacular year for XH558, and I am looking forward to at least as successful a year for the Trust as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of XH558’s first flight.

Coming as I do from a financial background, I am determined to put the Trust on a more permanent, strategic footing, so you will see some changes in coming months as the Board works with the executive team to achieve this.

To help us, I am also delighted to announce that Air Commodore Ed Jarron, currently Bursar of Wolfson College, Oxford University and latterly Chief Executive of the Royal Air Forces Association, has joined the Board as Vice Chairman.

In the meantime, it’s vital that the 50th Birthday Appeal is successful, as this is the enabling activity for XH558’s flying season in 2010.

For now, may I therefore ask you to help us in any way you can with our appeal?

I shall be writing again to all our supporters and in the meantime may I wish you a very Happy Christmas, a Prosperous New Year and I urge that you think of Vulcan Merchandise for those “stocking fillers”.

Kind Regards,

John Sharman

Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Vulcan to the Sky Trust

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Robert Plemings's Vulcan Update - Nov 30th

The latest update from Robert Pleming was released yesterday, and the call for funds is certainly out there, but the Vulcan needs a lot more money coming in before the end of the year - another £140,000 to be exact.

There is lots of bickering around forums about bad management, and why the public should be funding this project, but the fact is the money is needed, sponsorship is not coming in to cover the costs, and if we all want to see the Vulcan making fantastic noises like this...

...then we all need to chip in, and hope that she makes it, for her 50th Birthday, what a travesty if she doesn't make it into the skies next year. Thanks to scarey1989 from youtube for allowing me to use that one!

Anyway, here's the update:

XH558's 50th Birthday Appeal - Update Monday 30th November.

As I write, the 50th Birthday Appeal has made significant progress in the last week, with our total now standing at nearly £60,000 against the target of £200,000 needed by the end of December.

This figure allows us breathing space until the end of January, but at the moment still does not allow us the confidence to commit vital engineering works to the aircraft. In cash terms, we must have sight of £200,000 by the first week of January, and be confident of further on-going donations via the Appeal to ensure the project has a future.

We must all keep pushing XH558’s 50th Birthday Appeal in every way possible to as wide an audience as we can reach. As the result, we have decided that we should gain a significant return by investing a small proportion of the donations received so far in promoting the Appeal in regions where XH558 appeared this season.

Bear in mind that if we fail to reach our monthly targets, we will be unable to undertake the 2010 season, and so there would be little point in bearing the expense of keeping the team together.

Decisions would then start to get very tough, because the Trustees would almost certainly conclude that the Trust was in a position where it could not continue to trade. Whilst the primary goal of the Trust is to ensure that XH558 is conserved in perpetuity, an administrator would have different objectives; matters would rapidly be taken out of our hands.

This would be a tragedy for XH558, for and for the many thousands of dedicated supporters all involved in the day to day running of the project, all the employees, engineers, ground crew, aircrew.

Worse though would be the millions of people out there who will then miss seeing the aircraft because it will all be too late. I would like to quote you this recently posted statement by a Club Volunteer, Jane Thomas:
"The excitement of people waiting to see her at shows is palpable, the searching eyes for the first glimpse, the rise in excitement as she appears as a dot in the distance and the awe and respect with which people stand and watch as she steals the show! For a few more years we have something very special and I for one will do everything I can to make sure we have those years."

Like Jane, we can all play our own small part in making the dream continue. Let us all hope for more good news in the weeks ahead.

Kind Regards,

Robert Pleming
Chief Executive

Friday, 20 November 2009

Vulcan plan reshaped to include Pledges

Here's the latest update from Robert Pleming, as we look to get the Vulcan to her 50th Birthday...

50th Birthday Appeal - Update Friday 20th November.

50th Birthday Appeal - Pledge Your Donation

Since XH558’s 50th Birthday Appeal was launched just over a month ago, we have gratefully received just over £30,000 from just under 1,000 donors, against our target of £400,000 by Christmas.
This is after mailing out Appeal leaflets to 35,000 people, and featuring the Appeal strongly on our website and through targeted emails.

We have also asked for feedback from our supporters, and have been listening carefully to what they are saying. First, there is an overwhelmingly positive message that we should all try as hard as we can to keep XH558 flying. About 20% of our supporters have still not received their Appeal leaflets, because of the recent postal strikes. (If you want an Appeal leaflet, please call 0116 247 8145.)
But we also understand that, unfortunately, we appear to have overestimated the level of confidence our supporters have at the moment, and in the approach to Christmas of course, the state of their finances!
This has manifested itself in our supporters being unwilling to donate. The perception that any donation may be swallowed up by an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to keep XH558 flying is deterring the uncertain.

We acknowledge this issue, and as the result, we are changing the Appeal from purely a Cash appeal, to be for Pledges as well, similar to the incredibly successful Pledge Campaign appeal at the beginning of the year.
By asking for pledges which will only need to be honoured when we reach our funding targets, we are providing a much higher level of assurance that your money will achieve the goal for which it is being donated – XH558 in the air next year.
We also recognise that, with Christmas soon upon us, people may not be in a position to make a donation until January or February.

The reshaped 50th Birthday Pledge Appeal has four phases, the first aiming to raise £200,000 in donations and pledges in December, followed by monthly phases aiming to raise the same amount again in pledges and donations in January, February and March, resulting in us reaching our £800,000 target by Easter.
This phased approach will allow us to commence the Winter engineering programme in time for a successful return to displays next season.
However, I can’t stress strongly enough the need to reach these monthly targets to ensure that XH558 is flying again by May – the month of XH558’s first test flight, 50 years ago.

The downside of not making these targets is huge, because the nature of our venture does not permit fractional success – we are either successful or we fail completely.

If you wish to make a pledge, you can do so via the website, just click on this link:

The current running total of pledges is available here:

However, you can also make a pledge by returning the Appeal leaflet, filled in with your contacts details, the amount you wish to pledge, and the word “Pledge” and the month in which your pledge will be honoured alongside your name.

Our Appeal Results Page will shortly be active so you can monitor progress.

Once we have reached our monthly funding targets, we will ask those who have made pledges to honour them, allowing us to commit the necessary work.
I must also stress that it remains very important that we continue to receive immediate Donations from those who are in a position to give us cash now, since any delay in starting the engineering work not only eats into our funds because of our monthly overheads, but also threatens the start of the 50th Birthday season .
We hope that by acting swiftly and surely in response to the feedback we have been given, we now have the shape of Appeal that everyone can buy in to.
We have done it before, we can, and must, do it again!
Kind regards
Robert Pleming
Chief Executive

So, the plan is to pledging & donating - we need to see that money rolling in between now & Christmas, that's only 34 days away by the way!!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Vulcan Needs Your Support!

Disaster is on the cards for the Vulcan Project, unless £400,000 is found prior to Christmas, and with Robert Pleming's latest update confirming that only £30,000 has been raised since the 50th Birthday appeal was launched, which hasn't been helped with the postal strikes in the UK, it could spell the end of the great sight of the Vulcan flying through the skies, with that fantastic howl that we have got so accustomed to.

So, I urge anyone reading this blog, to donate to the cause to try to keep it in the air, otherwise the sound that you'll hear from the video below, could be lost forever:

The Vulcan to the Sky Team have put out a detailed newsletter this week, and all of it is listed below, but your support is desperately needed:

Appeal Funding Crisis - Urgent

Our 50th Birthday Appeal to our loyal supporters and the millions who saw us fly this summer was for cash for two key reasons:

· To bolster our depleted reserves, now down to critical levels, to cover daily costs such as rent, wages, insurance;

· To commission and begin work on the Winter Service and life extension modifications to ensure we can deliver the 2010 Birthday Season.

From the small size of the mailbags arriving at Bruntingthorpe, it appears that XH558’s 50th Birthday Appeal has been badly affected by the various postal delays – we are significantly behind where we need to be to reach our £400,000 target by Christmas.

So far, we have received less than £30,000 in donations from 800 donors, from a mailing that went out to 35,000 people. This is a far lower response rate than ever previously experienced.

The total so far amounts to less than 10% of what we need before Christmas! Not only will we not be able to begin the time-critical engineering work, we are looking at the serious prospect of having to shut down the operation. This is now a serious and imminent threat.

With the major proportion of our known and planned funding of £1.6million coming in during the air show season, we have to rely on the Appeal to survive through the winter months

With the desperately slow progress we are currently making, we are finding it more and more difficult to cover our monthly base costs, let alone commit to the work that we need to have done to make it to the 2009 season.

I have to admit that I am now much more nervous about XH558’s future; it seems that unless we can mobilise significantly more support, the day of reckoning may not be far away.

This would be devastating to all those who have fought long and hard over the years to realise the dream. Our goal is so small in comparison to other funding needs, so we must try every avenue in which to succeed.

Our strategy remains to reach out to all those who saw XH558 last year, especially the huge numbers – 1.5 million – that attended the “free” airshows, and ask for their help in supporting XH558, whilst also trying to attract fresh support from others yet to be touched by “The Vulcan Effect”!

We need your help with this effort – which is why we have chosen to call the 50th Birthday Appeal a “staged appeal”.

We need you to act as the secondary stage of our campaign! We have released the primary – the 50th Birthday Appeal itself. We now need you to multiply the effectiveness of the Appeal many-fold in a chain-reaction, by taking the Appeal out to everywhere and anywhere.

Contact your local newspapers and radio stations, put up the posters, post on your blogs, email your friends and colleagues, link back to us from Websites you run – all will be valuable in taking out our message.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments, if you run into problems or have new ideas, or if you need posters and leaflets: give the office a call on 0116 247 8145.

We continue to work on leads and contacts in the hope of getting some widespread National coverage soon that will make the difference – it is hoped we can achieve this before it is too late.

My wife Suzanne and I were in London last Sunday for the Remembrance Day commemorations at the Cenotaph. It was a truly emotional experience, and a huge reminder of how much we all owe those who have served, and are serving, in our Armed Services.

It was also a strong reminder of XH558’s role in “Honouring the Past”, in particular those thousands of service personnel who supported the RAF’s “V-Force” in its strategic deterrent capacity in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In John Milton’s words, “they also serve who only stand and wait”: never more true than in the case of the V-Force personnel who were on standby for so many years. We must keep XH558 flying to ensure that this message is not forgotten.

Winter Engineering Plan: Aircraft Life Extension Update 2 of 4 - 13th November 2009

Following recent planning work for the Winter Engineering programme, I thought that you would appreciate a glimpse of some of what is going to happen, and the timescale constraints that result.

Probably the most significant project is the embodiment of the wing fatigue life extension modification on the bottom of the front spar on each wing.

The Avro Vulcan is a “safe life” aircraft, where the airframe strength has been verified on a fatigue life specimen airframe, which in the case of the Vulcan went through 41,000 cycles – simulated flights – in the 1960s.

As the result of the fatigue test, the Vulcan was granted an ultimate life of 320 fatigue index units. However during the test, various weaknesses and defects were discovered over time that resulted in repairs – these repairs turned into fatigue life extension modifications for the Vulcan fleet.

A good example is the strengthening added to the rear spar during the restoration to flight in 2007 – Modification 2222.

We have always known that further fatigue life extension modifications will be required to ensure that XH558 can continue flying. However the next stages of life extension have to be added earlier than we had expected.

Whilst XH558 enjoyed an extremely successful summer season, we have consumed rather more fatigue life than planned, owing to the bumpy conditions experienced in transit at low level. (We are currently not permitted to transit through cloud to smooth air above.) We have now used up about 250 fatigue units, against a current clear limit of 252 units, giving us only 10-20 flying hours until the next modifications are due, including the strengthening of the bottom of the front spar.

We have therefore decided to bring these modifications forward from Winter 2010-11 to this winter.

A further important complication arises due to the fact that XH558 is now the “fleet leader” – no other Vulcan has flown for as many hours, or consumed as much fatigue life. The practical consequence of this is that the front spar strengthening modification, whilst embodied on the fatigue test specimen, was never added to a Vulcan from the RAF’s fleet.

The modification is simple in principle: the replacement of the set of plates at the front of the undercarriage bay, by a larger set of plates. Pictures will be on our web site soon showing examples of this type of work.

To achieve this, a set of drawings needs to be produced from the available data, and a process for removing the existing plates and adding the new ones must be created. This all takes time, and must be scheduled in to the already extremely busy design office at Marshal Aerospace. After that, the materials and fasteners have to be ordered – do we have a lead time problem? – and finally the modification added to XH558.

The uncertainties on timescale mean that if we are to deliver a full display season in 2010, we need to commit the design activity now, and that means paying over £100,000 up front.

If we don’t proceed now, it becomes more and more likely that we would be limited to the 10-20 flying hours currently available, which would give us precious few hours in front of the public after test, currency and display authorisation flights.

There are other, easier engineering activities which we must carry out this winter, but their additional costs all go towards the target that the 50th Birthday Appeal is planned to achieve.

We know we can fly XH558 safely on for quite some time, but as we enter unexplored territory, we have to do things properly, and there are costs that result.

This is why were urgently need your help with the 50th Birthday Appeal; the implications of not making our funding target of £400,000 by Christmas are very worrying.


50th Birthday Appeal – Feedback Request
So far, we have received less than £30,000 in donations from 800 donors, from a mailing that went out to 35,000 people.

At this stage in our financial year, our reliance on public donation support is far greater than in the spring, summer and autumn when we are flying, so it is vital to XH558’s future that we are successful with the 50th Birthday Appeal.
We need your feedback now to understand how the Appeal is going.
Please could you send an email to
We need to know:
· Have you received the 50th Birthday Appeal leaflet and poster etc?

· Have you, or will you, make a donation or standing order commitment?

· If you have decided not to make a donation, please could you indicate why?

· Do you have any ideas on what we should be doing better?

This email is going to about 5,000 people; please would you respond, since we need to know how we can improve.


If we need any reminder of what has been achieved with this globally unique restoration project, please watch this short trailer.

See the reaction of the youngsters in the closing sequence.
You can make the difference by visiting our Appeal pages here:

Thank you.

Robert Pleming (Chief Executive).

As mentioned, a very detailed newsletter this week, and understandably, so donate now, and help keep this magnificent flying machine in the air!

Monday, 9 November 2009

A Blast from Woodford's Past!

Well it's been a while since the last video was posted on here, and whilst the Vulcan starts to be worked on for its Winter service - and the fighting fund continues, so please donate using the link on the right - it's time to put another classic Vulcan video on the Blog!

This one comes courtesy of the YouTube channel belonging to 1tothirtysix, who has another cracker for historic aircraft fans, with a Vickers Vanguard arrival clip so check out their channel!

Anyway, to the Vulcan video, a cracker of a howl to begin with, and check out the steep climb from take off, you'd swear that it's not moving at one point, and just floating in the air!

This was filmed at Woodford Airshow in 1991, ahhh, remember rainy Woodford?

Well this wasn't one of those wet days!!


Saturday, 31 October 2009

Robert Plemings' Vulcan Update - Oct 31st

It is now two weeks since we launched our Appeal. Unfortunately, due to the current postal strikes, it appears that only a fraction of our list of supporters have received XH558’s 50th Birthday Appeal mailing, and so are not fully aware of the current situation. Hopefully, given another week or so, everyone on the database will have received the information pack.

As it will be a few more days before we have active income figures available on the Appeal website, I can tell you that so far we have received slightly less than £20,000 in direct donations, together with increases in monthly Standing Order commitments of £400.

Given our target is to raise a minimum of £400,000 before Christmas, we now need to average £50,000 per week; I’m sure you agree that we have some catching up to do over the next few weeks. We need to have these funds in place to ensure we can commit to the engineering work that needs to be done by outside companies in time to meet our Engineering Timetable for 2010. This is why it is so important we ask everyone to do whatever they can NOW.

Having said all that, we all realise that we can not keep asking the same staunch and loyal supporters to keep putting in more than they can afford. So it is vital that we reach out to new supporters and other audiences. I’ve previously mentioned that just a fraction of those touched by XH558 this year helped to finance her – it is exactly those people we must aim to bring on board.

For those who have received their Appeal mailing, especially those who live in the vicinity of one of the airshows visited by XH558 this year, why don’t you do what I did last week, and visit your local newsagent. My newsagent was more than happy to agree to my request to place the poster from the Appeal in his window for all to see – he is after all a Vulcan supporter!

Just this morning there was a good five minute feature on Vulcan and Vulcan Ventures on Radio Northamptonshire. This free yet wide coverage is exactly what will help us.

Next week, we have regional adverts in selected papers and magazines, while campaign leaflets will be distributed for us by other organisations friendly towards XH558, to reach their own audiences. If you are confident that you know an organisation who would be happy to distribute our campaign leaflets, please contact Ian Homer on 07791 617776.

We are also mounting a significant presence at the “MPH Top Gear Live” show at Earls Court next week 5th – 8th November. Please come and find us if you are in the area between Thursday and Sunday on Stand TS49. We are planning to capture a key member of the Top Gear Team to come over and talk to us!

If you are reading this on our website, let me remind you that you can subscribe to our email updates, which means that you will automatically receive these messages when they are published. Please visit:

Finally, please continue to do whatever you can to help promote our cause, and hopefully, we will see a marked improvement in income next week.

Kind Regards,

Robert Pleming

Chief Executive

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Robert Plemings's Vulcan Update

It’s now a week since we launched XH558’s 50th Birthday Appeal on our website, and we’ve had some pretty positive feedback, which is most heartening.

Annoyingly, the Postal Strike has interfered with our planned mailing to all of our supporters, so today only a few appear to have received the Appeal leaflets and supporting information. Hopefully, if you have ever given us your name and address, these should be arriving over the next few days.

It’s worth pointing out that if it wasn’t for the additional work we need to do this winter, our identified funding sources would nearly pay for the whole year’s costs, avoiding the need for a full-scale appeal. Even so, we have reduced our dependence on an Appeal from 50% of our funds to 33%, which I think is good progress in one year.

As mentioned in a previous update, we have to pay for most technical, engineering and support costs upfront, rather than when they have been completed. This really does put urgency behind our fund-raising – we must make the £400,000 target before Christmas if we to meet the deadlines for engineering work completion for the 2010 season.

Shortly, we will be targeting fresh audiences and databases with the aim of widening our reach with this 50th Birthday Appeal to all those who saw XH558 this year.

In the meantime, you can assist at very little cost, simply by considering who out of your relatives, friends and colleagues might be interested in themselves helping us. Below is a a suggested “script” for you to send; please “cut & paste” into an email or short letter and tailor it as necessary. I suggest it would be most effective if you only send it to people you know rather than as an untargeted missive.

Dear Friend / Relative / Name

I am a keen supporter of XH558, the restored Avro Vulcan that has become the star attraction at air shows around the UK during this summer, appearing in front of many millions of people. You may remember me talking about it!

With the continuing poor economic climate, the Charity that operates the aircraft has just launched an Appeal for public funding which can be seen here:

The project has two aims: Honouring the Past – including those who stood guard during the Cold War years of which the Vulcan is such an enduring symbol, and Inspiring The Future, enthusing the children of today in Aeronautics, Science, Design and Technology.

You only have to visit the Guest Book to see how much this icon of British design & engineering affects people:

Around 50,000 people donated last year to keep the project going. With your help, we can take our message out to many, many more.

We need to raise £400,000 before Christmas and the same again before Easter. Please do whatever you can to help. A one-off donation of any amount or a small monthly standing order will be hugely appreciated.

If money is tight, then just talking about our project or passing on this email to others in your address book will be of great help!

With many thanks,

Yours etc

If there are businesses that you think might be interested in supporting XH558, then please let us know: we have suitable packages from £500 upwards especially for businesses.

Some of you will also have noticed we have already made improvements to the Appeal Home Page, now including a direct link to our promotional video.

My next update will aim to give you the current total received to date, whilst it is our intention soon to give regular updates by way of the Results page.

Once again, I must stress how important it is we get a significant amount of our target in within the next few weeks. The future of XH558 depends on it!

With best wishes,

Robert Pleming
Chief Executive VTS Trust

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Mike Pollitt interview - Part 2

Today, it’s the second part of the interview with the Vulcan to the Sky Operations Director, Mike Pollitt, who agreed to do a brief interview on his involvement with XH558.

Yesterday’s blog featured part 1 of the interview where Mike said amongst his highlights were “getting through the season safely”, “loving the spiral climb at the end of the show”, was delighted by the British Public’s response towards the Vulcan, and also commented that they would like to fly into an airshow with the Red Arrows next year.

Hopefully that will come true next year in what we all hope will be a successful 50th birthday celebration season for the only remaining flying Vulcan in the world!

So, to Part 2 of the Mike Pollitt interview:

TVB: Just how much fun is it being part of the Vulcan team?

MP: They are all wonderful people to work with on the Team and although we suffer frustrations at times altogether the experience is remarkably rewarding and naturally fun with this lot!

TVB: What is the planned date for the Vulcan’s return to the air in 2010?

MP: Early May hopefully.

TVB: How long can the Vulcan go on for if the money continues to come in to keep XH558 in the air?

MP: The engines are our limiting factor if we can complete the required airframe modifications. Therefore, with possibly 8 engines with 1200 cycles on each at present we envisage we can display her for about another 8 years possibly slightly more with RR’s assistance and continuing support.

TVB: With the sad news that Woodford, the birthplace of XH558, will be closing in 2012, are there plans to say goodbye to the site, with a farewell display?

MP: I think that your suggestion is a nice idea and a fitting tribute – we should consider that very seriously. We overflew Woodford on our last display day this season, just in case it was to be our last flight. We might do the same next year too if we can display at Southport again. So I would like to add Woodford in 2012, it would be the 30th anniversary of the Falkland Conflict too.

So, with a bit of luck, Woodford will get to see a bit more of 558 before the site closes, along with a potential Falklands Conflicty anniversary too. Hopefully we can all look forward to Vulcan displays through to 2018, and maybe just maybe, it could be part of a special flypast for the World Cup at Wembley – now that would nice, imagine a spiral climb over the arch!!

Thanks once again to Mike for the interview, and don’t forget that if you want to see the Vulcan at displays in the future, then please, please, donate to the appeal, by clicking this link!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Mike Pollitt interview - Part 1

Today sees the first part in a brief two part interview with Mike Pollitt, Operations Director for the Vulcan to the Sky Trust...

TVB: It’s been a really successful season for the Vulcan to the Sky Team, what have been the highlights for you personally?

MP: Getting through the season safely was my greatest delight. I was pleased that we had spiced the display up a little this year and loved the spiral climb ending to the show too. I have been delighted with our serviceability throughout the season (thanks to Taff and the engineering team). I was also delighted by the response from the great British public ranging from a couple who we overflew on their 50th wedding anniversary who were simply overjoyed - to the rapturous reactions of the crowd at the big shows such as Lowestoft and Fairford.

TVB: 2009 saw a couple of fly bys with the Red Arrows and also Typhoons, are there any plans to vary the entrance to displays for next years schedule?

MP: We also flew with Hunters, F16s and VC10s. Nothing in the pipeline for next year yet but we would like to arrive at a show with the Reds certainly.

TVB: The plans for the funding appeals for next year’s 50th celebrations have just been released, can you underline just how important it is for the Vulcan to be flying during those celebrations?

MP: It’s just important to keep her flying for as long as we can. Actually, to me, anniversaries are not important occasions, ask my wife! Just keeping the aircraft going is my driving ambition.

Please click here to donate to the 50th Birthday appeal

Part Two of the brief interview will appear here tomorrow on the blog.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Mike Pollitt Interview coming up this week!

Coming up this week on the Vulcan Bomber Blog, I'm pleased to announce an interview with the Vulcan to the Sky Trust Operations Director, Mike Pollitt.

Mike joined the RAF back in 1974, and completed flying training on Jet Provosts, Hunters, before being posted to Phantoms, before moving on to the Vulcan Force in 1978.

Mike then completed his co-pilot tour in 1981, and qualified as Captain, followed by a 4 year spell at Cranfield, where he trained as an instructor on Jet Provosts.

Scampton was Mike's next destination as he was placed in command of the Squadron just after joining, where he had a heavy involvement in the introduction of the Tucano aircraft.

Following the retirement of XH558 in 1992, Mike returned to the Vulcan team in 1998, helping out with the taxi runs of 558 at Bruntingthorpe, and also XM655 at Wellesbourne, before then becoming the Operations Director of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust.

It's been a great season for Vulcan fans, and for the team itself, after a series of displays at venues up and down the UK, and even abroad too, although a difficult winter lies ahead, as Vulcan XH558's 50th Birthday Appeal has just been launched, where £800,000 is needed by spring - £400,000 of it by Christmas this year.

Mike has kindly agreed to answer just a few questions, giving his highlights of the season, his views on a potential farewell appearance for Woodford, and just how long he believes the Vulcan can remain in the sky.

The first of the two part interview starts tomorrow here on The Vulcan Bomber blog!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Vulcan's 50th Birthday Appeal launched

Vulcan XH558 – Update, Friday 16th October 2009

Dear Supporter,

Today, at 2.00pm, we launch XH558’s 50th Birthday Appeal.

Through the money pledged by the public at the start of this year, we have proudly delivered on our commitment to bring XH558 back to the public this summer, in a hugely spectacular and wide-spread set of displays around the country.

In the meantime, we have made significant progress at reshaping our business plan so as to be far less dependent on one revenue stream. We have also looked at our costs for the coming year, based on the experience of the last twelve months and in the knowledge of what we need to do to keep XH558 flying into the future.

We now know that we need £2.4million to keep XH558 flying in displays for another year, and crucially to ensure that she can fly on for as many years as possible. We also have confidence where £1.6million of that amount is coming from over the year, leaving £800,000 to raise from public donations. Full details of how these costs and funding streams are built up are available on our Appeal website.

Now that we are entering the winter maintenance period, inevitably our cash reserves are dwindling rapidly. We need to generate immediate income over the next few weeks and months, to fund the Winter Service and critical modification work - work for which we have to pay up-front.

With an initial funding target of £400,000 by Christmas, and a further £400,000 after that, we hope to build a steady increase of regular standing orders, bringing further stability to our finances. These core tasks form the basis of our fresh appeal, with the vital goal of celebrating the Golden Anniversary of XH558’s first flight on 25th May 1960.

This time we are asking directly for donations, since we believe that we have proved that we make good on our commitments. Full details of the 50th Birthday Appeal and our 2010 budgets have been laid out within a dedicated Appeal site that will be clearly visible and active from 2pm. Forecast Income and Expenditure Charts are included, with historical data from this year, together with an extensive Question and Answer section.

Next week, we will start to mail out details to over 35,000 Members and Friends who have helped us in the past. We will include an Appeal Poster that we hope you will be able to place in a prominent place.

Our primary goal is to take our story out to the wider world and new audiences, who will be key to securing the many, many small donations we need.

There will be a widespread publicity campaign and other initiatives aimed at taking the project out to the wider public and corporate bodies. If you have not seen our Sponsorship Video, it is available here:

Over 2.5million people were thrilled by XH558 this summer, but only a fraction of those have helped keep her flying. We – you and the VTST team – need to bring many, many more people on board!

We will continue to provide regular updates throughout this new 50th Birthday Appeal Campaign, and hope you will find the time to fully explore all the aspects built into our future funding proposals. In turn, your support of the Appeal will be central to our success!

On behalf of all those who appreciate what XH558 is and what she stands for, many thanks for your continued support.

Robert Pleming
VTST Chief Executive

Friday, 9 October 2009

Dr Robert Pleming's latest update

The latest update has been released from Robert Pleming:

Following what we expect to be XH558’s last sortie of 2009, we have been working hard to bottom out all the activities we need to carry out over the next few months, and crucially their costs, preparatory to explaining our plans for the next year to you all.

Very important decisions are being made concerning aircraft flying life management, with the objective of ensuring that we meet our commitments to fly the aircraft for as long as possible into the foreseeable future.

We have decided to bring forward work that we had intended to carry out during Winter 2010-11, and that of course brings forward the associated costs.

One of the big disappointments arising from our history of continually having to struggle for funds is that we are not given the usual commercial terms by our major suppliers: we have to pay for most technical, engineering and support costs at the start of the related activity, rather than at the end. Whilst providing comfort to our suppliers, this creates real timescale pressure on fund-raising, since we obviously then have to raise substantially all of the funds needed before the work can start.

Given our proven success at raising funds over time, what we could do with right now is a £500,000 line-of-credit or overdraft, but sadly, for us as a charity, this sort of facility is apparently not available from traditional banking sources.

As the result, we are now nearly ready to launch XH558’s 50th Birthday Appeal.

We are currently finalising the detailed explanation of our plans and the 50th Birthday Appeal that will be available from our web site, whilst also being sent out to all those for whom we have address information.

There will be an explanation of our situation, detailed income and expenditure analysis, whilst on the web site - a comprehensive set of Questions & Answers and regular updates of the Appeal progress, both by performance graphs and by weekly updates. If there are any queries, there will also be a facility to contact us and have those matters resolved.

Our official launch date is currently Friday 16th October. Once you have received this information, we hope you will understand the rationale behind our proposals and the 50th Birthday Appeal.

We estimate that only about 50,000 people have actually helped sustain XH558 over the past year, compared with over 2.5million who have enjoyed the sight and sound of her flying. We need your help to convert the remaining 2,450,000 from passive spectators to active supporters!

With best wishes,

Robert Pleming
Chief Executive VTS Trust

Monday, 5 October 2009

Vulcan's Bid for Sponsorship

The Vulcan to the Sky team have released the video that they will hope will bring in some much needed sponsorship in the future, and in particular, next year, so that the Vulcan XH558 can fly in it's 50th year.

If it were to fail on that account, it would be a crying shame, as the look and sound of the Vulcan bomber is second to none, and certainly deserves to celebrate its 50th in style.

Please send this video link on to anyone you know who may be in a position to sponsor the Vulcan next year, it's fair to say that it's life depends on it.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Dr Robert Pleming's latest update

The man behind the success in getting Vulcan XH558 back in to the skies of the UK and beyond has released his latest statement to members of the Vulcan to the Sky Club:

What a fantastic, spectacular summer XH558 has given us!

Last weekend saw the completion of a comprehensive and hugely successful season. Following an overflight of her birthplace at Woodford Aerodrome, XH558 flew an approach and overshoot at Manchester International Airport, before completing her last display of 2009 at Southport. If any further proof of the Vulcan Effect is needed, the official figures of the Southport audience were 32,000 on the Saturday – when XH558 did not display – compared to 70,000 on the Sunday when she did!

I’m sure you will all join me in sincerely thanking all those who have risen to the challenge of the last few months to ensure we have gained maximum exposure to the public, including our hard-working engineering and logistics team, the embedded Marshall Aerospace technicians, our air crew and of course, the numerous and totally dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers from the Vulcan to the Sky Club.
Special thanks must also go to all those who have contributed anything from a few pence upwards towards the on-going battle to finance this project.
Our audiences and the entirely positive feedback seen at shows, and exemplified in the Guest Book comments, are at the very heart of our new plans to build income streams that will see XH558 through another year of flying. My next update will be to announce the plans in some detail that we have put in place to raise the necessary finance for another year and then onwards into the future.
Central to our immediate funding will be recognition that May 2010 is the 50th anniversary of XH558’s first test flight following her roll-out from the manufacturing sheds at Woodford. Our 50th Birthday Appeal will be targeted at making sure we can cover the costs of the servicing and modifications that are needed over this winter period, to deliver us an airworthy XH558 in May. In short, we going after money for XH558’s BIG BIRTHDAY BASH!!!
This Appeal will include postal and electronic campaigns, dedicated pages on our web site and will be backed up by advertising features in newspapers and magazines. We have already touched over 2.5million people at the events we have visited in 2009. Only another 57.5 million to go! The more widespread we can make our story, the easier our task will be.
Meantime, let’s draw a little breath and thank one another for each playing our own vital part in this very exciting project. I hope the sight and sound of XH558 in the sky has made it all worthwhile for you this year.
We can, we should, we must do it all again.
With best wishes,
Robert Pleming
Chief Executive VTS Trust

So, with that, let's hope we can all celebrate the Vulcan's 50th birthday next year in style!!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Vulcan at Southport Airshow 2009

Another great video lined up here for the Vulcan Display at Southport Airshow on Sunday, which was the final airshow of the year that the Delta Lady would be appearing at.

It was another great viewing of the Vulcan, and one complete with the Vulcan howl at the end of the display, plus it was a much longer display that the 2008 show, which was always going to be a good thing for the fans!

Thanks to 06Paull on Youtube who shot a great video from the front at Southport, and for mobile phone footage, this is extremely good, and gets a good sound from the Vulcan, music, and commentator too.

Enjoy the video!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Vulcan at Manchester Airport

The Vulcan did of course provide a fly through at Manchester Airport at the weekend as part of it's final flight of the 2009 Airshow season, and here thanks to Gaj38 on Youtube is a clip which features the howl of the Vulcan on the pull up during the power climb...

Monday, 28 September 2009

Airshow season complete for XH558

Well that's it then, after the first display at Cosford, and 25 displays, and many fly pasts at various locations later, XH558's crew can now put their feet up and rest for a few months, as the engineers now prepare to get stuck in to their tasks involved with the winter service.

A busy day yesterday saw a few "last day of the season" flypasts at RAF Cottesmore & RAF Conningsby, as well as a flyover at Woodford on it's way to banking round to do a fly past and power climb at a crowded Manchester Airport where many had gathered to see the Delta Lady on her way to Southport.

So, off to Southport she went to complete the display season, and a cracker of a howl at the end of the display sent everyone home happy, and the crew made their way back to Lyneham.

So, now following a fantastic year of displays by the Vulcan Team, the questions now start to be asked about what funding plans are in place by the Vulcan to the Sky team, which are expected to be released very soon, and the much vaunted winter service, which all in all is expected to take in the requirements from the CAA, who insisted that certain tests were carried out on components on the Vulcan at Woodford before a new permit would be given.

Let's just hope that that's not XH558's final display ever, remember £2.5m is needed to see her through the winter and into 2010, so a lot of money raising needs to be done, let's keep all our fingers crossed that sponsors come forward.

Remember you can play your part too, by donating via the Vulcan to the Sky website - so let's keep her in the air for what will be her 50th anniversary!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

The Vulcan Howl

As the season nears its end for XH558, finally I've managed to get the video of the Vulcan Howl edited, with big thanks to Dave Beech of Northern Accent TV, who helped to edit it.

Unfortunately the footage isn't the best due to the camcorder being an old one, and losing focus when trying to zoom in, but hopefully the best thing is that the howl has been captured both on take off, and also towards the end of the display, as it produced the trademark power climb.

We were in a great position to view the Delta Lady's take off - the Brize Norton control tower balcony!

Enjoy the howl!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Vulcan ready for Southport & Manchester

It's the final weekend of the airshow season for Vulcan XH558, and all is ready and on plan for her final appearances of the season tomorrow.

You will be able to see the Vulcan at Southport, but before that, and en route to Southport you should be able to catch a glimpse of the Vulcan at Manchester Airport.

The timings for tomorrow?

Well nothing official has been released as yet, but it is expected to be along the lines of 3.45pm at Manchester Airport, whilst a 4pm slot at Southport could be on the cards.

Let's hope for a fitting finale to the Delta Lady's season tomorrow, and that as many people as possible get to see her final display of 2009!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

An Unbelievable Vulcan Experience!

Well where do I start with this post???

About a month ago, I got in touch with Dr Robert Pleming to see if he could be Jim'll Fix It, and give my mother the pleasure of seeing Avro Vulcan XH558 taking off with the famous howl.

The reason was simple, a few years ago, my mother had a serious heart operation, which was a triple bypass which got complicated and ended up a 7-way bypass, and thanks to the efforts of the hospital staff, she pulled through.

It was at that point that I wanted to do something special for her at some point during the rest of her life, and to cut the story short, it was my mum who introduced me to the Vulcan at a very young age, and that moment was decisive in my life as the day I got hooked on what's well known as "The Vulcan Effect".

So, it was that I got in touch with Dr Pleming, and to my delight, he responded, and offered his help in making this special treat come true for my mum.

It was after that, that I received contact from Mike Pollitt, who invited us, and in particular my mother, to come down to RAF Brize Norton on Saturday just gone, and to be their guests to meet the aircrew, view the aircraft, and watch the Vulcan not only take off, but actually display in front of us, as the charity day at Brize took place.

Well without any further ado, I made sure my mum had nothing planned for that day, and if she had, I would have cancelled it for her anyway!!!

So, we made the journey down from Chester to Brize Norton early Saturday morning, and arrived at lunchtime to be met by Mike Pollitt, and little did we know what was in store for us the rest of the day!

Mike then took us through as guests of the Station Commander, who had kindly authorised access to the base for us, something we'll be forever thankful for.

It was then, that we were taken to where the Vulcan was sitting, where we took some photos, and were given a tour around the outside of 558, catching sight of the "Gibbon" in the window of the bubble underneath the cockpit!

To my utter amazement, Mike then asked if we'd like to have a look inside the cock pit, so we climbed the ladder, and up we went, thank god my mum had put her size 4 trainers on!!!

I couldn't believe we were actually sitting in the cock pit of the world's only flying Vulcan, to say we were privilidged would be the biggest understatement of the century!

Mike was great, giving us a history of 558, and also pointing out various aspects of the instruments, but what struck us most was the cramped conditions the crew must have had in that tiny cock pit, with it's extremely small windows. I dread to think how they coped on their way to and from the Falklands in '82!

Following the tour, our amazement continued, when we were taken up to the Flight Planning room, where we met Martin Withers, Bill Perrin, and Barry Masefield, yep, we were actually now talking with the Vulcan air crew, and listening to their pre flight brief.

Soon, they would disappear to head for XH558, to start their pre flight checks, and it was at this point that Mike then said he would take us over to the other side of the airfield, we thought to just head to where the rest of the people who were in for "Party in the Park" were situated, but how wrong could I be...

Before we got on the transport to take us to our new destination, we looked over and saw soldiers disembarking what seemed a passenger jet, it was in fact soldiers in their desert gear, arriving back from Afghanistan, how they were going to enjoy themselves as soon as they got back to their loved ones.

Anyway, we climbed aboard the minibus which stopped en-route, to pick up none other than Dr Pleming, who greeted my mother, another great moment to meet the number one man behind the Vulcan to the Sky team.

We continued our journey, and were "gobsmacked" when we arrived at the Brize Norton Control Tower, to which we were taken inside, and met the air traffic controllers doing their Saturday shifts, this was completely unexpected to say the least.

Whilst there we saw another lot of soldiers this time leave for Afghanistan on one of the base's Tristars, a round of "Good Luck Lads" was said when it lifted off from the runway, I hope they all return safely.

Next, we heard the instructions for the Vulcan to taxi, and subsequently made it's way to the end of the runway to get ready for take off - it was just at this point that we moved outside to the balcony of the control tower, as the moment I'd hoped my mother would see, was finally arriving.

A teasing couple of minutes sat there, and then the power went up, we could see the Vulcan move, and then the howl made its way up the runway - possibly one of the best howls I can ever recall - and it lifted off just in front of us on it's usual steep climb, and then headed off for the Goodwood Revival.

In between we were treated to a couple of VC10's taking off for Cyprus, and also the departure of a C17 Globemaster, who was limbering up for a flypast, which would take place along with a VC10 following the Vulcan display, once it had returned from it's display sequence.

Return it did, having flown at RAF Kemble, which was hastily arranged thanks to the bonus of the CAA representative being present at Kemble that day, which allowed Martin Withers to display the aircraft and obtain a Display Authorisation for 2010.

So, the Vulcan came flying round in front of us, and whilst it did, we noticed that soldiers were beginning to come off a VC10 that had just parked up by the control tower, they weren't rushing to get to the coach that was waiting for them though, instead they were all looking up to the skies where they were being treated to a "welcome home" from the Vulcan, great timing!

We were treated to a display in what felt like a private airshow for my mum, obviously we knew it wasn't as the Party in the Park was taking place, but up there on the control tower balcony, it was such a fantastic place to be watching the Delta Lady blast through the skies!

One final howl on the power climb out, and then she drifted off (that's 558, not my mum!) to take part in a photoshoot before heading back to base.

Even then, the flying didn't stop as the Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight roared across the airfield, and over our heads whilst doing his display.

It was prior to landing that Mike Pollitt then took us back over to the terminal, where we were taken to the roof to get a great view of the landing - could this get any better? The answer to that was a resounding yes.

We were taken over back the apron to see the Vulcan taxi in to her final resting position for the day, with the piercing sound of those engines making sweet music in our ears!!

Just for good measure whilst the checks were being completed, the C17 & VC10 flew past as part of the day's celebrations.

Eventually all the post flight checks were complete, and we managed to get photos of the crew, who were of course, the crew who completed the Black Buck mission, so great to catch them all together on the same day!

It was after this point that we made our farewells, on what was possible one of the greatest days of my mum's life - a magical day that she would never ever forget.

Never did I believe when I tried to get in contact with Dr Pleming did I realise that one month later, my mum would not only get to see the Vulcan take off again, but also meet the aircrew, see the pre flight briefing, go inside the cock pit, end up in the tower control, and have pride of place on the balcony with a full view of the runway, see the take off, display, and landing, before then having the opportunity to greet the crew again, and get a picture of them.

It was simply a wonderful day, and as my mother said, "that was a magical experience, one that will never be bettered".

My sincere thanks go to Mike Pollitt for his brilliant hosting, to the aircrew for allowing us the opportunity to get close & inside XH558, and of course to Dr Robert Pleming for making the whole thing possible, I think it's fair to say we were all overwhelmed with what happened on our day, and it made the 3 hour journey back home a lot quicker thanks to those memories we took back with us.

Once I get the footage of that famous howl on the take off, onto the pc, I will post it both here and on Youtube, it's certainly a howl not to be missed!

Vulcan at Manchester Airport!

Yes, that's right, the latest news is that the Vulcan will appear at Manchester Airport this coming Sunday, as it travels from RAF Lyneham up to Southport.

Fans of the Vulcan who can't make the trip to Sunny Southport will I'm sure head instead to Manchester to see XH558 do a missed approach, followed by a power climb, which will be a treat for spectators at the airport.

This will be the Vulcan's final trip of the year, and will land at as yet an unknown, but secure location complete with hangar to keep her warm (and dry) in the winter!

Roll on Sunday!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Vulcan at Southport Airshow confirmed

The news has just filtered through that 558 fans will be able to see the Vulcan bomber at Southport Airshow next Sunday, in what will be the final appearance of the year for XH558.

We had been waiting, and hoping that a sponsor would come forward to get the Vulcan up to the North West, and weather and serviceability permitting, that's exactly what's going to happn.

It looks doubtful that it will appear at Southport on the Saturday, but Vulcan fans will be made up to see that it's going to appear on at least one of the days.

So, the North West will look forward to the final appearance of the year from the Vulcan crew!

Support the Vulcan by clicking this link

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Busy weekend complete for Vulcan

Looking at the timetable it looked a busy weekend for 558 and so it proved, as several appearances were the order of the day both on Saturday & Sunday.

Saturday saw the first of the sequence, as the Delta Lady departed RAF Brize Norton at 3.15pm, and many who may have been waiting to see the Vulcan take off over them, saw the opposite, which was down to the fact the Vulcan crew wanted to remain on time for their commitments, and hurriedly got going to a trademark loud take off, but would return to Brize for a display later in the afternoon.

So, it made its way over to Goodwood for the Revival, and a great display was given, before making their way to Kemble for a display sequence, before the crew made their way back to Brize Norton to complete their third and final display of the day at the "Party in the Park" charity day, and prior to landing had a photoshoot take place, looking forward to seeing those images soon, after which Martin Withers, Bill Perrins, and Barry Masefield guided her back down safely and parked up at Brize.

On Sunday, another testing schedule, as firstly, Belgium was the destination for the first display, and despite doubts over the weather on Saturday, things turned out for the better, and the crew made their way Sanicole.

An hour later, and it was back to Goodwood once again for their final Revival day, and again their display was faultless, and for good measure flypasts at Cambridge, Turweston & Silverstone were carried out before the Vulcan landed at RAF Lyneham.

So, a hectic weekend for the Vulcan, and is it the last of the airshow season for the crew, well hopefully not, as the Southport Airshow takes place this coming weekend, but as yet, the Vulcan's appearance remains unconfirmed, although hopes are high for at least one performance over the weekend, if not both days, but whichever way possible it would be great to see the Vulcan at Southport once again.

Well I can promise a cracking Vulcan howl from a video that I took at Brize Norton the other day, once that is edited, I'll get it onto hear, a perfect howl with silence surrounding the base.

Support the Vulcan by clicking this link

Friday, 18 September 2009

Vulcan all set for busy weekend

Well the crew will be arriving at RAF Brize Norton tomorrow knowing they have a busy time ahead, with the displays at Goodwood, Kemble, and Brize to complete, before moving on to Sanicole in Belgium on Sunday, and Goodwood before returning to do flypasts at Cambridge, and a late addition, at Turweston for the Vintage Aircraft Meet.

Timings for Sunday released:

2.00pm - Sanicole, Belgium (BST) (Display)
3.10pm - Goodwood (Display)
3.50pm - Cambridge (Flypast)
4.00pm - Turweston (Flypast)

I'm off down to Brize Norton tomorrow for a special day which I will report on once I'm back!

Support the Vulcan by clicking this link

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Timings for Saturday released

It's potentially the final weekend for the Vulcan air show season this weekend, depending of course on what happens up at Southport regarding funding for the airshow that is due to take place on the 26th & 27th September.

The timings have been released for this Saturday, which sees an extra display at RAF Brize Norton, where they are holding their Party in the Park charity show.


19th Sept - Take Off from Brize @ 3.15pm
19th Sept - Display at Goodwood @ 3.35pm
19th Sept - Display at Kemble @ 4.00pm
19th Sept - Display at Brize @ 4.15pm

Then of course it's finish off on Sunday @ Sanicole in Belgium as the Vulcan mini tour of Europe comes to an end, before completing the day at Goodwood, not quite sure whether Cambridge is still on the plan, as no confirmation has been released on that, but based on it being a private event, it may still be on.

Support the Vulcan by clicking this link

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Vulcan take off at Leuchars

Thanks to Murkocdx from Youtube who filmed this classic Vulcan take off at the RAF Leuchars Airshow on Saturday...

You can view Murkocdx's Youtube channel by clicking on the link below:

Remember, you can help keep XH558 in the skies, by donating via the Vulcan to the Sky website, which can be found via this link

Monday, 14 September 2009

Vulcan at Leuchars

With thanks to the poster "Nelsdir" on Youtube, here's some footage of the Vulcan at Leuchars, against the backdrop of clear blue skies...

Another great weekend for the Vulcan!

Sunny skies together with another great display form the Vulcan crew ensured RAF Leuchars were treated to a full display, which included take off and landing at the base.

Thousands of people lined up along the crowd line to witness XH558 against the blue skies of Fife, and what a sight it must have been for the Scottish fans.

Last year, the skies were full of rain clouds which denied the locals the chance to the Vulcan at Leuchars, but this year, completely the opposite, with perfect weather supplementing the show.

It's been another great weekend for the Vulcan pliots and fans, as the nation continue to enjoy the cold war bomber in different areas of the UK & Europe.

This weekend coming is 'currently' scheduled to be the last weekend of it's Airshow season, as it has three appearances to make both in the UK & Europe.

On Saturday, it is due to attend the Goodwood Revival, and hopefully the weather will stay fine for that display, and the same can be hoped for Sunday, as the Delta Lady takes off once again for a tour of three displays, Sanicole in Belgium first, before returning to the UK for displays at Goodwood Revival, before finishing off with a private display in Cambridge, believed to be at Marshalls Aerospace.

So, another busy weekend, as I said, it could very well be the final weekend of the Vulcan season, but Southport still remains a very slight possibility, depending on funding.

I'll hopefully get a video of the RAF Leuchars Vulcan display posted later today.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Timings for Leuchars weekend

A bit late, so apologies to anyone reading this who was wanting to know, but here are the timings released by the Vulcan crew via their Twitter feed:

1.27pm - Take off & Display, Land

1.05pm - Take off & leave RAF Leuchars
1.30pm - Flypast @ Elvington & Sywell
1.35pm - Land @ RAF Brize Norton

Friday, 11 September 2009

Vulcan off to bonnie Scotland!

Today is the latest leg of the Vulcan tour, as it flies up to Scotland for the RAF Leuchars Air Show, and visitors to the base today will be the lucky ones as they will see XH558 arrive towards midday, complete with a display, which following last year's washout will be a boost to the locals.

The Vulcan crew are set to leave Brize Norton at 10.20am this morning, and head on a tour of flypasts on the way up North, with the list as follows:

Leave Brize @ 10.20am

Flypast @ Sywell

Flypast @ Elvington

Flypast @ Carlisle (approx 11.30am)

Display on Arrival @ Leuchars (11.55am)

Then of course it's the Vulcan at RAF Leuchars display tomorrow, so Scotland will I'm sure be in for a treat, especially if the weather is good, and the forecasts show it to be sunny all day tomorrow, so it looks all set for a great day for Vulcan fans in Scotland!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The Vulcan Effect

Well I think it's clear to see that The Vulcan Effect has been well and truly in full steam this summer, with the exception of Waddington where we had the controversy over the Permit To Fly, and the cancellations at Biggin Hill & Yeovilton, this season has been a great one for Vulcan fans.

Following last year's technical and weather difficulties, 2009 has been a pleasure to see the Delta Lady in the air as much as possible, with cracking displays at RAF Cosford, the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, Lake Windermere, which resulted in some oh so special Vulcan photos, at the Blackpool Airshow, where we had a brilliant howl.

The display at Dawlish where the Red Arrows teamed up with the Vulcan was also one to savour, as was the 3 day event on the Bournemouth Seafront, where the Vulcan displayed each day for the hundreds of thousands of fans watching.

Plus most recently the Vulcan at Broughton, for the Airbus 40th birthday celebrations, where we were treated to a simulated take off producing a massive howl, which was captured on YouTube by many!

In fact the Vulcan on YouTube is probably one of the most popular searches, with many great displays this Summer, and it's not over yet, as RAF Leuchars in Scotland will be hoping for better weather than last year, so everyone can see a full Vulcan display, which will include take off and landing - how lucky are they!

Finally, the Vulcan crew potentially round off a great season, with three events on the same day, travelling abroad for the second time this season, as they head to Sanicole, Belgium, before returning to the UK to display at both the Goodwood Revival and also a private event in Cambridge.

Still there is hope that we'll see the Vulcan at Southport, as the Southport Airshow takes place on the final weekend of September, it's pencilled in right now, but as yet unconfirmed, hopefully that status will change over the next couple of weeks, to confirmed, and the people of Southport, and the surrounding areas, will again see the arrival of the Vulcan!

Monday, 7 September 2009

More of the Vulcan 'howling'

Another great video here too, showing the Vulcan's display and the Vulcan's howl at the Airbus celebrations

Click on the link to see it!

Vulcan howling in Broughton

Much to my own disappointment, I was situated in a position where I didn't hear the howl, but fortunately many caught it on video - this being one of them from my friend, who was situated in the Business Park field right by the end of the runway.

A great howl!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Cosby bombed & Broughton delighted!

It was another great day for the Vulcan yesterday as it treated two different air displays to completely different shows of it's fantastic-ness, is that a word? probably not, but I have just added it to the Dictionary if it's not already in there!

Cosby were left bombed out after the Delta Lady had full pyros going off during a simulated bombing run, whilst at Broughton, it gave us all a treat with a different kind of display due to the restrictions in force at the airfield.

The restriction being that factories were on both sides of the runway, it was not able to do the usual bomb bay doors open routine, but instead we were treated to a display which included a wheels down, ready to land sequence, only then to pull up and rip into the sky on the final pass.

On it's other fly bys, a few powerful climbs were the order of the day, and ensured plenty of thunder was in the air surrounding Broughton & Hawarden!

Even the crowd at Chester City FC started clapping when the Vulcan made it's turn close to the ground, see it gets everyone involved!

Everyone at the Airbus celebration was delighted to see 558 rip through the skies in her usual brilliant way, and the excitement was there for all to see as the Vulcan To The Sky tent became very very busy after the tin triangle had departed!

Overall a great display then, and next up for the Vulcan, is a trip to RAF Leuchars for the Scotland Airshow, departing on the 11th, displaying on the 12th.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

The day has arrived!

Today, Airbus Broughton celebrates its 40th year, and to celebrate they are having a Family day, with tours of the plant in the morning & lunchtime.

The real action though starts at 1pm when the three hour flying display takes off, if you'll forgive the pun there!

The flying display has not yet been released, but is expected to contain a Spitfire, Team Guinot, BBMF, Vampire, Venom, Red Arrows (flypast), Beluga, A380 (flypast), and the Vulcan bomber of course!

The skies are currently okay over Broughton, with high cloud, and partially blue sky, and the BBC forecast has changed yet again, and shows Sunny Intervals, exactly what we want to see!

The Vulcan is expected at Broughton at 3.20pm today, and that follows another display at Cosby, where a special display will be seen today, as they are going to simulate a bombing run, with full pyros on the ground, so they will certainly be in for a treat there!

The forecast for Cosby is just as good with maybe a bit more cloud, but it's certainly forecast to be dry, so all is ready for a great day for Vulcan fans, providing all is well with 558 herself of course!

So, fingers crossed once more as we await to see the Vulcan for the first time in 20 years over Chester!