Vulcan seeks further £400k refuel
XH558 hits stormy financial weather - again
The restored Avro Vulcan XH558 yesterday took to the skies on what could be its last flight.
The V-bomber lifted off from Coventry Airport as part of an airshow in support of Help for Heroes, but unless the Vulcan To The Sky Trust raises £400k by the end of October, it'll be permanently grounded.
This latest round of XH558 tin-rattling has been prompted by "a substantial drop in donations during the recession and poor weather that stopped her flying at what would have been several profitable events this year".
Chief exec Dr Robert Pleming explained that while over a million people have enjoyed the airborne Vulcan experience during 2010, making it "one of the most popular attractions in the UK", the trust struggles along "on a tiny fraction of the budget of comparable heritage activities".
Pleming hopes XH558 will grace the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, before its airframe's service life expires, but he warned that "if we don't make it through October, the tremendous opportunities offered by this magnificent aircraft will be lost forever".
Once XH558's flying days are finally over, the trust hopes to "develop a museum and educational centre around the plane, funded by conference, leisure and other commercial activities".
Squadron Leader Martin Withers - who secured a DFC for his part in the Vulcan "Black Buck One" mission to bomb Port Stanley airfield during the Falklands War - is a "passionate supporter" of the aircraft's educational potential.
He said: "Part of our mission is to ensure that young people learn about the knife-edge fear of the Cold War. If I had been ordered to press the button that releases the nuclear payload, there would almost certainly have been no Britain left to fly home to. The Vulcan is the most powerful symbol of a remarkable period in British history that we must never forget."
This isn't the first time the Vulcan To The Sky Trust has been operating on a wing and a prayer. In March 2009, it launched an emergency appeal for cash, and in February this year was bailed out by £400,000 from an anonymous donor. ®
I saw it from the M6 as I was driving home yesterday. I thought how wonderful it looked. This story has given my fleeting glimse much more poiniancy.
Why is this not held in as much esteme as a Spitfire and funded accordingly?
Thanks for posting that.
Used to see them flying over, all the time in the 70's, and the Vulcan, along with the EE Lightening, gave the best displays at Duxford in that era.
All good things I guess.
Money well spent...
It's more like £150k per month. It's a very large and complex aircraft. The cost covers crew, engineers (about 7), fuel (lots), insurance (not much of a no-claims bonus just yet), hangarage (extra-large), parts storage (about 600 tonnes of them), admin staff, external parts suppliers, event costs, etc, etc. Pretty much all of this goes back into the UK economy and supports many skilled jobs in engineering. Compared to an over-paid, under-performing footballer who'd earn this in a week, I think it's money well spent.