Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Why funding is even more critical now

Well no sooner had I returned to blogging about the Vulcan, than all of a sudden on a routine crew currency flight attempt, bad news strikes as XH558 comes to a grinding halt on the runway at Robin Hood Airport following engine trouble when rolling for take off.

The thing we can all be thankful here is the fact that it happened so soon after the push for take off, had that happened a few seconds later...well I won't even go there. Suffice to say it was pleasing to hear that after the tweet from @XH558 was received about the aborted take off (which was followed by a large gulp) another one appeared advising that the crew were all okay, and the aircraft was being checked over.

Safety is of course paramount, and must never be compromised, and in this situation the crew shut the engines down as soon as the large bang was heard. Also pleased to hear that the fire engines were not needed to really get in there amongst the Vulcan, but were around for any such problem.

There has been a lot of great debate in the past about monies needed to fund the display seasons and also the servicing - and this goes to show that anything can happen along the way, which I would imagine would not be budgeted for, but the fact that (looking at the page now) over £271,000 has been raised towards the £300k target, it's clear to see that was it not for those funds being raised then the chances of  repair job going ahead would have been nil.

So, funds are needed now more than ever. We all hope that she returns to flight in time for her first display of the season, which was set for the 23rd June - whether that is completely wishful thinking I'm not sure, but we live in hope.

One thing is for certain, the two biggies are Waddington (the following weekend) and the Air Tattoo at Fairford on 7&8 July, and I really hope that she is ready for both of those as bearing in mind that approximately 250,000 will visit those airshows, that is clearly where funds can be raised for the continuation of the world's last remaining Vulcan bomber.

The update on the Vulcan to the Sky seems to suggest that the engine issues were caused by FOD - or Foreign Object Damage to the rest of us - so hopefully this hasn't caused too much damage, but it's looking likely that an engine swap could be the case here, and with only a couple left to go, another indication that we need to make the most of her as the Delta Lady will surely be coming to her natural end in the not too distant future.

When that eventually does happen, then I really believe the team that have brought her back to the air for us to all enjoy over the last few years - and that includes the team of engineers & volunteers who have done an amazing job - should all be recognised in some way by the public. I'd certainly back a move to have some kind of formal recognition for what they have achieved.

Anyway, back to the current issue, and we'll all keep our fingers crossed that the engines issue can be sorted quickly rather than seeing her grounded for a longer time.

At a time when the Spirit of Great Britain is seeing an Olympic torch being carried around the country, let's hope that the light shines on the Vulcan again, and that Spirit gets her back in to the skies above us!

Good Luck XH558!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Well it's been a busy last couple of months on other projects, and it's been a while since I posted on the Vulcan Bomber Blog, but like the Delta Lady herself, it's been a time to recharge the batteries and get ready for the season ahead, and with the funding appeal getting closer to its target of £300k, and the first confirmed dates appearing on the schedule, we really are set for a great airshow season from XH558.

When I last posted, it had been revealed that the remaining time to raise £200,000 required to hit the £300k target had been extended until the end of May, so that was a bonus, and I believe a justified one, even though there is still £40,000 to raise to meet that target, it's still been a fantastic effort by all concerned to get the £260k received so far. There is one more week for the original deadline, but I'm sure that if the Trustees see the efforts that have been made they will allow a little more time for that remaining target to be hit.

Recently of course, XH558 has already been out and about, and made brief appearances at RAF Cosford doing 2 flypasts and also a flypast at the National Memorial Arboretum, at Alrewas in Staffordshire. It was great to see XH558 up and about once again, in what hopefully is just a teaser for all of us as the airshow season really approaches.

Next week of course we move into the month of June, and the first scheduled appearance with Torquay & Babbacombe being first on the agenda on Saturday 23rd June, with then a display at Yeovilton (dare I mention THAT video again?!?) before heading back up to the Cleethorpes Armed Forces Day, before returning back to Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster.

The following week sees her weekend appearance at the RAF's premier airshow, at RAF Waddington, and I'll be up there on the Sunday to watch it, so banking on this decent weather to be around that day (how nice would a joint flypast of the B52 bomber & the Vulcan be if it could be arranged???).

July of course sees the bulk of Airshows coming along, with the biggie on the 7th & 8th July as the Royal International Air Tattoo takes place, and I'm sure the tens of thousands attending this year's show - which looks set to be a cracker by the way - will end up being swathed in the Vulcan Effect that so so often takes place whenever the Delta Lady revs up!

No sooner is the Air Tattoo at Fairford out of the way, the Farnborough Airshow comes calling, and the Vulcan crew will take her there from Gloucestershire on July 9th, before displays taking place over the Friday, Saturday & Sunday over the Hampshire skies.

Already some dates for August are booked in, with 3 appearances currently scheduled, the first of which is the Clacton Airshow on the 23rd August, before the Dunsfold show takes place on 26th & 27th August, scene of another great You Tube video (the 'look at thaaat!' video, you know the one, with the kids getting well excited, I know we're all the same watching it and remember the day we were like that back in the day, well okay maybe last summer!).

I'm sure there will be many more dates added, and we all await that with the kind of excitement that used to exist as a kid when the new Panini sticker album used to come out in January, or when you'd open up the packet of stickers to see a foil badge in amongst them, resulting in major elation before you saw it was two Scottish teams who you'd already got in your book!

Went a bit off track there, so back on it, and talking of the Vulcan Bomber - I still get the feeling that this year will be the last we'll see of her before she hangs up her engines. Hope not, but it's just the feeling I get, so let's ensure that the remaining £40k is raised and we get to see her at many places this Summer.

I always like to finish off with a video, and the one today features the great Sean Moffat with his quite brilliant commentary on the Vulcan Display, I think the thing that gets me along with many others here is his line "They said it couldn't be done, but here she is today" remarking on the fact that many people wrote off the chances of ever seeing a Vulcan take to the skies again, well they were wrong, and how...

Credit for the Video, goes to 264flight

BBS! (Be Back Soon!)