Avro Vulcan XH558, the only flying Avro Vulcan, has hit some difficult times. Due to poor weather conditions they lost significant sponsorship opportunities last year and now the economic climate is making it difficult for them to secure a major corporate sponsor. The engineering team has been given four week’s notice, and on the 6th of March the trust will be wound up, which will effectively ground XH558 permanently.
In order for her to fly in the 2009 season, the Vulcan to the Sky charity need to raise £500,000 in pledges by 6th March. They have already raised at least £330,000 - click for live figures.
(an exerpt from the email appeal by Dr Robert Pleming at the start of February, which launched the current push to raise £500,000)
If anyone wants to help there are several ways including, but not limited to Pledging, signing the 10 Downing Street petition (UK residents only) or searching through Everyclick to help to keep her flying. Something as simple as displaying posters or helping to get the word out could make the difference. Merchandise is available ranging from the cookbook (PDF order form) including recipes from Gordon Ramsey and Bruce Dickinson, to a range of memorabilia through their shop.
To promote the aircraft they have a whole set of events going on, including the Vulcan Scramble tomorrow, visiting all 15 Vulcan airframes in the UK to collect pledges and donations. There are a number of other events planned.
Please help if possible. As a piece of aviation history it would be a shame to lose her now, and with so much raised already the target is in reach.
I don’t understand. What is the signifigance of this airplane? Is it just that every plane in history should have at least one that keeps flying? Or is there something special about this plane? I could see if it was the Enola Gay, or some B-29 or some other plane that had some major participation in an important era. But what has this plane done? What am I missing?
Well no, it’s not a particularly significant aircraft. There are hundreds of other types of military planes that have been grounded for good, for the simple reason that it would cost crazy money to keep them flying. You would basically have to reproduce and sustain the spares and maintenance facilities of forty years ago. It is not clear to me why a special effort should be made for this aircraft.
But I always thought the Vulcan was ugly, so I’m biased :p.
It’s the kind of airplane that makes it special - The Avro Vulcan is a historic aircraft type, akin to the F-4 Phanton II, or the P-51 Mustang, in that it was a (so to speak) groundbreaking aircraft; flexible in deployment (nuclear deterrent to conventional interdiction), as well as being a long-lived aircraft, too: 1953 to 1984 in active service.
With only one example left in flyable condition, it’s a worthy project.
The RAF are doing what they can and have displayed links across their websites for the scramble and the charity (with some of the grounded airframes at their bases the scramble could not have run without them). Figures for the scramble so far were £56,385 raised in pledges.
As far as supporting it if you can’t pledge, searching through Everyclick raises 1p a search - may not sound like much, but they have already raised over £160.00 and any help is useful.http://www.everyclick.com/vulcan-to-the-sky-trust/788706/751297 Even banners on websites and posters in your local library or pub help to get the word out. They are simply very short on time.
As far as I can see, it didn’t take part in Operation Black Buck, the only use of the type in anger.
But it did form an important part of the UK’s armed forces for many years and really (AFAIK), not that much of the UK’s military technology is retained outside of museums for us to look at. Especially equipment from post-WWII.
Yeah, the Victor looked so much more like a weapon of war, I was a bit miffed it was relegated to the role of air tanker.
It’s because of the plane’s design. It looks deadly and the delta wing is cool (look at this picture—it looks like some sort of death moth). It did also have a major participation in an important era: it was part of the UK’s nuclear deterrant during the cold war.
I saw this fly last year at the Leuchars Air Show in Fife. Or more correctly, I saw if fly the next day, as to many peoples’ huge disappointment it was grounded the day of the show due to bad weather.
We were lucky enough to find out when it was going to be departing, and went out to the end of the West Sands to watch it leave. I’ll fully admit that I’m not a regular at these kind of shows, but watching it bank around a couple of times, glinting in the sunshine, was pretty awe inspiring.
Word was it was going to be sold to America for high-speed low-altitude research if they couldn’t raise the funding.
The Services are pretty unsentimental about old kit like this. If it can’t wash its own face, then it won’t get any money from the defence budget. Same with the Battle of Britain Flight.
Apparently the scramble went rather well. Although there is one other message they would like to get out - pledges are more use than donations right now.
If the Vulcan is grounded because too little is raised, then donations are wasted money. Pledges will only be called in if enough is raised in total to keep it flying. Given the risk of the Trust folding (the staff are on 4 weeks notice) they would rather have pledges now than donations.
Here are their forthcoming events. (Events after the 6th may be to support a grounded Vulcan if sufficient pledges are not raised).
Saturday 28th February - Vulcan PLEDGATHON - Day 1
Sunday 1st March - Vulcan PLEDGATHON - DAY 2
Saturday 7th March - Vulcan to the Pie Night - Cold Ashby
Tuesday 10th March - A very British Project - Talk by Dr. Pleming - Shearsby
Thursday 12th March - Engineering Talk - (Andrew and Taff) - HB Gliding Centre
Sunday 15th March - Informal Forum Meet - Tangmere Aviation Museum
Sunday 15th March - 1st Round '558 Karting Championship - March Hare
Saturday 28th March - Stand at “Salute 2009” Gaming Fair - London Excel