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Restored Vulcan hits financial turbulence

More cash needed for flight test programme

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The trust which last October successfully got Avro Vulcan XH558 back into the air following a £6.5m restoration is rattling its tin again amid fears it may not have the cash to make the aircraft ready for the 2008 airshow season.

The Vulcan to the Sky trust explains that its cash shortfall is due to "potential sponsors [who] have drawn in their purse strings and are not making available the expected funds".

Dr Robert Pleming, the trust's chief exec, elaborated: "We need to start the rest of the test flight programme with the return of good weather at the beginning of March, but we still have to have £150,000 in our hands before we can do that, plus confidence that we will go on raising at least £50,000 per month after that.

"Right now we look like we're going to be starved of funds at this critical moment for the Vulcan. Every week's delay to the restart from the end of February will push the first display appearance back by another week."

He added: "I'm afraid that if we don't fly again soon, the door will start to close on the future of the Vulcan in flight. We won't be able to carry out our role of 'Honouring the Past, Inspiring the Future', providing a once-seen, never-forgotten sight to a new generation of youngsters, stimulating interest in design and engineering, and telling people about an important period in our nation's history.

"With the public's help, the triumphant return of this much-loved aircraft this summer will become the not-to-be-missed spectacle of the season. But we sincerely hope that companies will also give serious consideration to taking up the sponsorship opportunity of the year."

While the Vulcan XH558 project has been funded by a £2.7m Heritage Lottery Fund grant and a cool £500,000 donation from Wolverhampton Wanderers owner Sir Jack Hayward, most of the cash has come from small contributions by members of the public and other fundraising initiatives. ®

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