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Software outfit keeps Vulcan airborne

Looking hopeful for 2008 airshow season

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

It looks like Vulcan XH558 - which last year took to the skies following a 15-year, £7m restoration - will be able to wow the crowds at air shows this summer following fears that a lack of cash might keep it grounded.

The Vulcan to the Sky trust was forced earlier this year to indulge in some serious tin-rattling, requiring £150,000 to continue the test flight programme and £50,000 a month thereafter to stand any chance of keeping the project airborne.

Things weren't looking too bright until software company Aerobytes stepped in with a "donation and pledges for an undisclosed sum", thereby providing "the financial stability required to keep XH558 operational at least until the end of the summer".

Aerobytes MD Eddie Forrester has apparently been a long-term supporter of the beast, and "simply couldn't bear to stand by and see her reduced to a museum novelty". He said: "Without our assistance, XH558 would not have the chance to fly this summer season, or potentially ever again. We are just one part of a devoted team of supporters though, and without continuing support from others funds will run out before September and there will be dire consequences. If there was ever a time to donate to the Vulcan, it is now."

Forrester, whose firm supplies flight safety and fuel saving software to the aviation industry, explained the Vulcan's appeal thus: "It is one thing to see a photograph of a Vulcan, but something completely different to experience one for real. The size, shape, performance and noise are truly breathtaking. When she performs her 'first' display, nobody who witnesses it will talk about anything else for days."

Hopefully, those who haven't seen a Vulcan in action will be able to catch up with the aircraft at Waddington Internation Airshow (5-6 July), Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford (12-13 July) and Farnborough International (14-20 July) airshows. These appearances are "subject to the UK CAA granting XH558 a Permit to Fly and a Display Authority certificate", the Vulcan to the Sky trust notes. ®

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