Thursday, 25 February 2010

The Vulcan is Saved!

Today is a great day to be a Vulcan fan!!!

At the beginning of the month, it was reported that the Vulcan to the Sky team had been put on a month's notice, with the project set for a heart breaking failure, as the total of £800,000 needed to fund the 2010 season, with £500,000 of that required by the end of February.

The call for pledges was stepped up, along with donations of course, and today, the combined fund stood at £415,000, but then the unthinkable happened - the donation to end all donations!

A massive donation of £458,000 was revealed by the Vulcan team, from a donatee who wishes to remain anonymous - and it's no surprise they don't want their names revealing as they would surely be receiving several thousand letters of thanks through their door & e-mail inboxes!!

The donation now means that the project is safe for at least another year - in this it's 50th brithday year, and celebrations can now start, although the pledges will still need to be realised to ensure the £800,000 target is met.

From there, the Vulcan project need to continue raising money, and this year's airshow scene will be the ideal opportunity to build for next year's requirements.

What it will do however, is lift the spirits of all involved, and will hopefully guarantee that at some point in 2010, the Vulcan Bomber will grace the skies of the UK again.

It's time for everyone who has donated or pledged to keep the Vulcan alive, to raise a glass to themselves tonight, as they have saved the whole future of the project - but to that one anonymous donation....


Friday, 5 February 2010

Vulcan Pledge fund now over £100,000

Last week, the Vulcan Survival Appeal was launched, with the target of £600,000 needed by the end of March, and £300,000 of that needed by the end of February.

Failure to reach this would undoubtedly see the Vulcan grounded forever, and the sound of the Delta Lady lost for good, which would be a sad end to the great story of the aircraft, which is celebrating it's 50th Birthday this year.

The public have been asked to play another key part in keeping the tin triangle up in the air, and have responded well already, with over £100,000 raised in pledges so far, and that is only in the first week, giving everyone hope that the project can be saved.

In fact the actual sum of pledges received so far is £109,775 and that means £190,000 is needed by the end of this month, to get to the first milestone, before the Vulcan team can continue working on the aircraft, and get it prepared for a potential, and vitally important airshow season ahead.

If you haven't pledged yet, then please do so, if you wanted to see just why we should keep this magical aircraft in the air then please view the videos listed on this blog, and you'll soon see why it's like no other, with an unbelievable sound, and shape in the air.

Believe me, if you haven't seen it in the flesh, it's a display that sets your stomach trembling, such is the power from those engines!

Please, pledge today here, and whilst you're there, sign the birthday card and help try and create a world record:

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Deadline set for XH558 Appeal

The bad news continues to filter through, and just now, Robert Pleming has sent through a Survival Appeal update which advises that the deadline of keeping the Vulcan in the air is February 28th, and all employees of Vulcan to the Sky Trust have been put on month's notice - is this the end?


XH558 Survival Appeal Update

Dear Supporter.

XH558: the deadline has been set – the end of February.
Sadness and grim determination are the main emotions today: the Trust’s funds are such that the decision has now been taken to place all its employees on one month’s notice, as of 1st February.
We have so much to fight for, but with less than one month to avoid shutdown, the pressure is now really on.
On the few occasions when we have been in a similar position before, all XH558’s most loyal supporters have rallied to the cause, and somehow she has been saved. We are not assuming that the same will happen this time, which is why we are enlisting so many more people to help.
In 1941, Sir Winston Churchill said: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never, in nothing, great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” We are not giving in.
Mindful that we should not solicit donations whilst we are uncertain about XH558’s future, we are putting 100% of our efforts into the Survival Appeal Pledge Scheme.
We need to raise over £300,000 in new pledges by the end of February to justify a stay of execution, followed by a further £300,000 in March to reach our target of £800,000.

We are therefore launching a number of new activities to secure the immediate future:

· An attempt to set a WORLD RECORD for the number of signatures on a single birthday card for XH558.

· Re-design of the Appeal website to ensure visitors understand our urgent message, with a countdown timer to our deadline of 28th February..

· A sixty-second no-punches-pulled promotional VIDEO, spread via emails, with the goal of going “viral” with our message.

· A written notice and Pledge reply slip to all those on our databases.

· A SURVIVAL RAFFLE, launched by the Vulcan to the Sky Club, to create instant availability of working capital, once we are secured. (Prizes will be honoured by the Club if the worst happens).

· A PROMOTION PACK, distributed with the Club’s Winter magazine, to all club members.

· Targeted ADVERTISING in regional newspapers where affordable.

· Contact with national media and PR agencies to get XH558’s story in front of as many people as possible.

· And of course networking with all existing supporters, sponsors and industry leaders.

If we gather sufficient momentum over the next four weeks, we may well be able to start work on XH558 once again, but we will only do this if we are confident that the target will be met.

In the meantime, work continues at Marshall Aerospace on the detailed planning for the Winter Engineering Programme, whilst our own team are helping with the Appeal.

Assuming we are successful, with the new experienced gained over the past year, we will be building funds throughout the year in all ways possible to avoid the desperate measures we have had to take each winter to keep the dream alive.

Remember our ultimate goal: to be flying down the Mall on 4th June 2012 in celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s – and the Vulcan’s – Diamond Jubilee.

As we count down the days of February, all the thousands of our loyal supporters know full well what they will be missing if the worst comes to the worst for XH558. What is most galling, is that there are millions of people who really don’t know what they will have missed. But if they did, they could well decide to help save her.

XH558 is the “People’s Aircraft”. Can the people save her again?

Robert Pleming


Good Luck all, and please donate or pledge TODAY!!!

This is the last chance!!!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Future looking grim for the Vulcan

As the title of this particular blog suggests, it's not looking great for the Vulcan's 50th birthday season, with funds not coming through as hoped, meaning that the chances of seeing XH558 in the skies at airshows this season are reducing fast.

It is expected that Robert Pleming will have to recommend to the Board of Trustees that all VTST employees are given one month's notice from today, 1st February, due to the lack of funds available.

It's sad to read the latest press release below, and confirms that the sitiuation is indeed dire, but to think that we may have seen the last of the Vulcan Bomber in the air is heart breaking.

This has seen argumentative posts on various forums, with blame being aportioned to many different parties - but we all have one common desire - to see the Vulcan fly again.

Let's hope there is someone out there, someone who has money, that loves the Vulcan, someone who just cannot stand by and let the Delta Lady become a museum piece.


Robert Pleming's latest update...

Dear Supporter,
XH558’s Future Now at Risk.

I imagine that you were as pleased as I was to see the excellent coverage that XH558 and her 50th Birthday Appeal gained in the Mail on Sunday on 17th January. We all need to thank those responsible for making this happen: the supporters who wrote letters to the Mail on Sunday Editor, asking him to publicise our campaign. But the situation remains dire.

The Extent of the Problem
Having already funded Marshall Aerospace to commence the most urgent “critical path” tasks needed for the Winter Engineering Programme, we now have just sufficient funds in our bank account to pay our overhead costs from today until the end of February – slightly less than five weeks. As the result, at the end of this week, I may need to recommend to the Board of Trustees that we give one month’s notice to all VTST employees with effect from 1st February.

The implications for XH558 are extremely grave: if we don’t find the money to keep going and finish the engineering programme, we may well lose all control over her destiny. We have already launched the plea for funds in a national newspaper, unfortunately apparently to little effect. We have raised just over £180,000, but we still need a total of £800,000 to get XH558 to the 2010 display season.

Because of the amount of work needed to be done this Winter, and the lead time associated with some of the items, there is real urgency in raising the sum needed – a further £620,000. As is the nature of engineering work on aircraft, not only is it surprisingly expensive but it’s “all or nothing”, which is why we now should not proceed further until we have confidence of reaching the full amount.

Including the necessary test flight, the whole engineering programme should last no longer than four months. But the longer we have to wait before reaching our £800,000 target, the more we delay XH558’s appearance her 50th Birthday air display season, and the more funds we would have used on unproductive overheads.

For XH558, the only way is forward through to completion of the whole engineering programme.

If there’s one positive thing we can say, it is that, barring mishaps, this is by far the most expensive Winter Service that XH558 will have to undergo for the foreseeable future. It will put in place the fatigue life extension modifications necessary for the remainder of her flying life.

Action Plan

So where to from here?

First, and most important, we are not giving up. We have to turn XH558’s 50th Birthday Appeal into nothing less than her 2010 Survival Appeal.

Recognising that supporters do not want to risk any of their donations not achieving tangible success, we are re-launching and re-driving our Pledge scheme.

Shortly, our website pages will change to reflect the new Appeal. We will be launching a Vulcan viral video, containing an attempt at a new world record, which we hope, with your help, will capture the attention of many.

The nature of the tasks and lead times of the Winter Engineering Programme means that it may be possible to move forward having raised only part of the funds, as long as there is confidence that the remaining funds will be forthcoming.

So when new pledges reach the half-way point of £310,000 (a total raised of £490,000), we will review the progress of the Appeal. If we are confident the whole amount will be raised, we will call in the pledges to date to allow work on XH558 to continue.

To set a deadline, we need to see £310,000 in new pledges by the end of February at the latest, if we are not to miss the main airshows this summer

As part of this new Campaign, I would like to offer an incentive: those who honour a pledge of £1,000 or more will receive an invitation for a personal visit to XH558 at RAF Lyneham during the Winter Service, to see her close-up and talk to the engineers who are working on her.

Please now would you help XH558 by making a Pledge if you can, but just as importantly, by spreading the word about this revised and renewed Pledge Campaign?

We will continue to publicise XH558’s current plight and your help in doing this is so very valuable. So far we have not been successful in gaining the attention of very many of the 2.5million who saw her last summer – we need to radically improve this performance.

Assuming that we are successful in returning XH558 to flight, we have decided that we need to run a funding campaign spanning the whole year, aimed at avoiding getting in to a similar situation again. This Annual campaign will be launched formally on XH558’s Birthday, 25th May, and will run from this date every year. We are also closely examining our costs again, in order to reach a sustainable balance of income and expenditure in coming years.

These are desperate times and we recognise that with the shocking disaster in Haiti lest week, this is not a good time to prevail upon anyone’s generosity. However, from the above I hope you will understand that for XH558 it is now or never. We have no choice but to come back to you.

Very many thanks for any assistance you may be able to give.

Robert Pleming


So, there you have it, it's looking bleak, but let's hope something positive happens today, and that we don't have to face the prospect of a Vulcan-less summer.