The worlds only flying Vulcan Bomber is in desparate need of £580,000 worth of repairs, reports the Mail on Sunday.
In what is becoming an annual event, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust have launched an urgent appeal for the funds needed to keep Vulcan XH558 airworthy in time for this years airshow circuit. Reportedly it took a battering performing in poor weather conditions last year. Weak points on the wings on the wings require replacement steel and aluminium reinforcing plates, all onboard fire extinguishers have to be replaced as do the braking parachutes.
There are amibitious plans for the 2010 flying season, in what will be XH558’s 50th anniversary. The Trust also hopes to feature in a flypast over Buckingham Palace to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Having been lucky enough to see a Vulcan flying twice at airshows – Lee-on-Solent in the early 90’s and 2009 at Shoreham – this really is a special aircraft. Apart from its role delivering the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent for many years, and the famous Black Buck bombing raids in the Falklands War, there is something enigmatic about the delta winged airframe appearing over the horizon.
It really is quite sad that in a world where the country can find £50million for a Titian painting – just how many paintings does this country own anyway? – and millions for the Royal Opera House, we’re struggling to keep historic aircraft in the air. This news comes shortly after rumours that the RAF will offer up the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Red Arrows for the axe in the next Defence Review. Such historically important aircraft should be protected.