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  1. #1
    Executive Assistant Geremy Britton's Avatar
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    Vulcan XH553 to fly for the last time?

    If the title of the tread came as a shock to you, then you are like me in realising there has been developments which i myself certainly didn't know of.
    For those of your who don't know, the Vulcan is one of the best engineering british aviation accomplishments Britain has ever seen - very high up there with the likes of Concorde etc.

    After 14 years on the ground Vulcan XH558 famously known for it's delta wing unmistakeable design underwent a multimillion pound overhaul to 'Return her to the skies' After much skepticism over the ability for the project to be successful, in 2007 XH558 returned to the skies deemed airworthy. This is the only vulcan that is airworthy with most others in museums rotting away.


    A release by the Vulcan to the Sky Trust (who relies solely on public generosity to maintain the aircraft) says 2013 is possibly to be the last year Vulcan will fly at air shows and events.

    official press releaseOctober 12th 2012
    Final season announced for last flying Vulcan

    Vulcan to the Sky Trust prepares to make 2013 a spectacular final flying season but £400,000 needs to be raised within months to fund winter service

    Vulcan to the Sky Trust, the charity that operates the last flying Vulcan bomber, today told its supporters that 2013 is likely to be the much-loved aircraft’s final flying season. Following an award-winning restoration that many feel is the most technically complex ever undertaken, Vulcan XH558 was granted a technically-determined number of flying hours. At the end of next year’s display season, six years after the return-to-flight, XH558’s current cleared flying life will have been almost completely consumed.
    Since the restoration in 2007, Vulcan XH558 has been seen by more than ten million people at over 60 locations, with a remarkable three million turning out to see her during the 2012 Diamond Jubilee season. Through school visits and other educational projects, she has helped to inspire new generations to enter careers in engineering and aviation.
    Trust chief executive Dr. Robert Pleming explained the decision to supporters: “We are sure you are aware that all Vulcans have a finite safe flying life and that XH558 is already well beyond the hours flown by any other aircraft of her type,” he wrote. “At the end of next year, she will need a £200,000 modification to her wings to increase her flying life. We know that you would do your upmost to fund this work, but for a number of reasons we have decided not to ask you to take this risk.”
    The decision is based on a combination of factors. First is the challenging wing modification, as engineering director Andrew Edmondson explains: “It is a demanding procedure that can no longer call upon the original manufacturing jigs and there is no possibility of rectification if an error is made. We are not saying we cannot do it, just that it is risky so other factors must be taken into account.”
    Top of the list is the limited life of XH558’s engines. “From the start of the 2014 season, it is unlikely that we could accommodate any engine failures and that even without any technical problems, soon our set of engines would be out of life,” says Edmondson. “There are no more airworthy engines available, and refurbishment would be so difficult and costly that there is no possibility that it will happen.”
    There are also challenges with other areas of the aircraft as every component, however small, was designed and manufactured to agreed specifications by approved suppliers. “When those suppliers close or lose the ability to remanufacture or refurbish those components, it can be prohibitively expensive to re-source them,” explains Edmondson. “We know, for example, that the set-up costs to remanufacture a main wheel are more than £70,000. If the approved engineering drawings are no longer available, it can be practically impossible given any amount of money.”
    Dr. Pleming concluded; “It is therefore with great sadness that we have told XH558’s supporters that although we are energetically pursuing all options to increase her flying life, it is likely that next year will be the last opportunity anyone will have, anywhere in the world, to see a Vulcan in the air. I’d like to thank everyone who by the end of 2013 will have contributed to achieving six fantastic years of Vulcan displays since the restoration; it’s a remarkable achievement that many people said would be impossible. With the passionate and generous support of the British people, we returned an all-British icon to the sky and brought the excitement of engineering and aviation to new generations.”
    The Vulcan to the Sky Trust’s aspiration is that when XH558’s flying life is over, she will become the centrepiece of a new project that will inspire and train young people, helping to solve the UK’s significant shortfall in the number of talented new candidates entering technical careers. “XH558 will be maintained in excellent running order and will continue to delight her supporters with fast taxi runs while developing further her role in education as the centrepiece of an exciting new type of inspirational engineering education centre,” added Trust director Michael Trotter.
    XH558 End-of-Flight Explained, a colour cutaway of the aircraft with explanations of the different technical challenges, can be viewed

    Help ensure a Spectacular Final Flying Season
    This year, the Diamond Jubilee of the Vulcan aircraft type, has been a remarkable one for XH558. She has delivered displays that have been acclaimed as amongst her best ever, she’s opened and closed one of the world’s greatest airshows, flown with The Red Arrows, honoured Cold War airmen, taken part in the dedication of a memorial to the heroes of the Falklands conflict (in which Vulcan XM607 played a famously heroic role) and reportedly made Her Majesty The Queen smile during a flypast to celebrate Her Diamond Jubilee.
    “We are now planning one final, spectacular season,” says Dr. Pleming. “And we need everyone’s support this autumn to help us get there. We have to raise £400,000 before the end of this year to ensure that XH558 can be serviced and safely returned to the air in time for the first airshows of the 2013 season.”
    Readers supporting the winter service can chose to fly their name on the aircraft and can also receive an original Avro Vulcan component in its historic packaging. More information on how to support XH558, where to see her and the progress of the service is available on the Trust’s website and in their newsletter. There is also a passionate Vulcan XH558 Facebook community, packed with information and outstanding photography.
    The purpose of my post is to encourage anyone who feels strongly about any aspect of the above to strongly consider donating to this fantastic trust. The accomplishments made in getting their aircraft restored to flyable condition is absolutely marvelous. In order for the shows to go ahead next year funding must be complete to fund maintenance to the wing structures and other essential structures of the aircraft. Remember XH558 was never designed to remain flying for this amount of time so everything must be maintained. Current funding towards the target is 87%. There's all sorts of ways to donate including a lottery type draw where there is the potential for prizes.

    Let's not let the Vulcan disappear without at least a final year finale.

    I leave you with the thought - Concorde was retired, within months of it's grounding 20,000 signatures where put together pleading for it's return to the skies. And i have no doubt many, many thousands more would love to see iconic aircraft like these return. The simple answer to the Vulcan is show your support.
    Last edited by Geremy Britton; 12-20-2012 at 09:01 PM.
    Geremy Britton
    Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
    Head of GLB Flight Products

  2. #2
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    Re: Vulcan XH553 to fly for the last time?

    Very interesting post. I didn't know of that Vulcan project....

    At Southend Airport (just down the road from me) we have a Vulcan Bomber (XL426) on the airfield and it is currently maintained and funded solely by donations too. On rare occasions you may see it taxi up and down the runway, but it has never flown, nor will it ever fly because it is just too expensive to get off the ground. My dad told me once that way back in the time, these vulcan bombers were being sold off for a token payment of £40,000, although I don't know how much truth is in this, but it wouldn't surprise me anyway. They have a website here if you want to look at it:

    It would be great to keep the Vulcan flying!

    GA or the Highway!

  3. #3
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    Re: Vulcan XH553 to fly for the last time?

    Jeeze, its already been six years? Where did the time go?
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