Books & Gear
Avro Vulcan: 1952 onwards (B2 model), Owners’ Workshop Manual www.haynes.co.uk £25. Hardback, 188 pages Mainly colour illustrations
Learn how Vulcan XH558 was restored; read about the first black carrier pilot
For anyone suffering withdrawal symptoms from the loss of the Vulcan from our skies, this book should go some way to being an antidote. As with most Haynes’ manuals, this one sets out the history of the aircraft type (B2 model) and its operational uses – in this case, of course, also including the role of the Vulcan in ‘Operation Black Buck’, the successful bombing of the runway at Port Stanley during the Falklands war. The manual contains a number of stories and anecdotes from Vulcan pilots and crew which bring the details of flying the aircraft to life.
What sets this book apart, however, is the wealth and quality of the photographs, diagrams and illustrations. The book is essentially in two parts; the first two-thirds documenting the development of Vulcan aircraft, their service history, what it was like to fly them and their various characteristics. The latter third of the book is all about how The Vulcan to the Sky Trust came into being and how XH558 was eventually returned to the air. As this included painstaking dismantling and rebuilding of so many parts of the aircraft, the photographs and narrative cover every aspect you might think of – from initial decision to purchase the aeroplane and raising the money to restore her, to the tons of spare parts purchased at scrap value; from negotiations with the CAA with a goal of obtaining a Permit to Fly, to the difficulty of identifying the current proprietary rights holders for such small but vital items as the nylon diaphragms for the fuel pressurisation system, the original manufacturers’ rights for these and other parts having long since been sold on or subsumed into another company — sometimes several times over.
The resulting manual is a lasting memorial to the type and the, sadly now earthbound, ‘last Vulcan flying’. It will satisfy those who just love a good story as well as those who want more in the way of technical details. Not a snip at £25 but it would make a welcome gift for many Vulcan enthusiasts (and Christmas is just around the corner!). JA