Vulcan kept airborne by £400k refuel

Anonymous donor bails out XH558

The Vulcan to the Sky Trust is breathing a massive sigh of relief after an anonymous donor stumped up over £400,000 to keep Vulcan XH558 flying, the BBC reports.

XH558 required around £7m and years of restoration before it finally took to the skies again in 2007. Keeping it aloft is evidently a very expensive business, since the trust has since indulged in tin-rattling exercises designed to attract urgently-needed funds.

Earlier this year, it launched an appeal for the £300,000 required by the end of March to keep XH558 in the air, and staff were put on a month's notice at the beginning of February, just in case the cash wasn't forthcoming.

Now, though, the charity will be able to celebrate XH558's 50th birthday this summer without searching for loose change down the back of the sofa.

The trust's Dr Robert Fleming told the Beeb: "There's a massive sigh of relief from all who love this brilliant aircraft."

He added: "The aircraft itself is the last flying representative of a fleet of 300 or so aircraft - the Vickers Valiants, the Handley Page Victors and the Avro Vulcans - that were flying during the late-1950s, 60s and 70s. They were the aircraft that would have gone to war if the Cold War became hot and thank goodness that never happened, so from a heritage point of view it's very important indeed." ®

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