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Restored Vulcan takes to the skies

First test flight for XH558

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Updated Vulcan bomber XH558 today took to the skies for the first of three test flights following years of fundraising and a painstaking £6.5m restoration by the Vulcan to the Sky trust.

The Civil Aviation Authority cleared XH558 for take-off, weather permitting, from Bruntingthorpe airfield in Leicestershire.

Chief of the Vulcan Crew, Taff Stone, told the BBC: "There's a lot of work gone into the aircraft. We've taken it right down to the basics. We've checked everything, we've cleaned everything, we've finally put it all back together and we've just about achieved the unachievable."

Pilot Al McDicken enthused: "She's absolutely magnificent and visually a very attractive aeroplane. All of us who have flown her have enjoyed her handling qualities but she really flies like a big fighter in some ways. It's a thrill to be involved with it."

XH558 was originally slated to take part in the 25th anniversary of the Falklands war flypast in London earlier this year, following a lifesaving cash injection of £500,000 from Wolverhampton Wanderers owner Sir Jack Hayward which kept the project afloat.

In the event that didn't happen, but the 20,000 people worldwide who donated to the cause will doubtless be delighted that the dream has finally be realised, as you can see on the Beeb here. ®

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