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!

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