We are very proud to be able to announce an extra special return to visit the Vulcan XH558 on
Sunday February 23 between 1000h and 1400h
in the Doncaster area. Confirmation of the exact location will be sent to people that sign up.
Those aware of XH558 will know just how evocative this aircraft is and to be able to get up close and personal is a rare privilege. We'll have a dedicated PH car park outside XH558's hangar so there'll be the normal socialising around the vehicles as well as time with the aircraft and Vulcan team.
This is the last flying example of Britain's famous V-force aircraft, now operated by charity Vulcan to the Sky Trust. The great news is that the aircraft is currently part way through the winter service and the flying life extension programme, funded purely from donations. You will be able to see the work being carried out on both wing leading edges to extend the fatigue life of the airframe and have a rare look inside several of the panels that have been removed to provide access to aircraft systems. Unfortunately there is no cockpit access.
The Vulcan is a remarkable example of British engineering at its best. The prototype flew just 11 years after the first flight of its predecessor the Avro Lancaster, but its performance was in another world. Innovations included electrically-powered flying controls with speed and agility that were so close to a jet fighter's that it was given a fighter-style control column in place of the traditional bomber pilot's yoke. These were the days when the car industry and the aircraft industry were still close, so she uses the pioneering Maxaret anti-lock braking system also seen on the Jensen FF and her emergency power unit is a small jet turbine similar to those used in Rover's JET experimental cars.
Originally designed to carry Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent, the Vulcans moved into numerous other roles through their life. It's only when you hear the aircrew discussing what it was like to be on alert in the Cold War that you realise just how tense the situation could be. One pilot told PH; "If I had been ordered to press the button that releases the nuclear payload over our enemy, there would almost certainly have been no Britain left to fly home to."
Success as a Cold War peacekeeper meant that the Vulcans may have flown their entire service life without ever entering combat if it hadn't been for the Falklands conflict in 1982. During a marathon 8,000-mile flight supported by 11 Victor tankers, Squadron Leader Martin Withers and his crew released the bombs over Port Stanley Airport and prevented Argentina operating its Mirage III fighters from the island and initiated the campaign that recaptured the Falklands. Two years later, the last Vulcans were withdrawn from service. Martin - who is also passionate about fast cars - earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for his part in this action and is now XH558's chief pilot. You'll see items from his private collection of Falklands memorabilia on display in the hangar.
We are extremely thankful to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust for organising this meet, which we are hoping will make a significant contribution to the costs of operating the last flying example of Britain's amazing V-force aircraft. All profits from the event, including tickets and food, will go directly to the charity to help them get XH558 into the air for the 2014 season, something close to many of our hearts.
The itinerary for this very special morning comprises:
- 1000h - 1100h - Arrival and parking in the hangar car park. Bacon sandwiches, tea / coffee / soft drinks served inside the hangar with time to wander around the aircraft and displays. Note that as with all Sunday Service meets the catering is charged separately.
- 1100h - 1200h - guided tour of XH558 with one of the Trust's specialist guides.
- 1200h - 1400h - More time to wander around the cars and the aircraft, meet members of the Vulcan team (we are hoping to have a pilot at the meet, TBC at present), explore the displays of Vulcan history (including some fascinating Falklands War stuff from the pilot's private collection) and view and buy merchandise.
- 1400h - Event closes.
Due to the restrictions set by the airport, and hangar capacity, this meet is only open to a maximum of 320 people so sign up ASAP, this is 320 people NOT 320 cars. Normally we would ask you to add names to a list to reserve a space, but for this meet we need you to sign up directly on the XH558 page where a payment (along with some personal details) is required to secure your place on a first come, first served basis.
When you click on the link it will take you to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust booking page, you will need to select the SS date (23rd of February) and enter PH014T2 in the voucher/ promo code entry box. Charges are just £25 for a car and driver then just £10 per additional passenger.
We repeat that all profits raised from PHers will be used to support XH558.
Places for cars are strictly limited to 80.
Thanks again to everyone who was involved in making this happen.
Note: When applying be aware you will need to advise any change in details of car or passengers by no later than the morning of Monday the 17th of Feb on 0845 5046 558 (office hours) quoting PistonHeads Event. Failure to do so will result in refusal of admission to anyone or any vehicle not on the final event manifest. For security reasons, there are no exemptions to this rule.