Books & Gear

Avro Vul­can: 1952 on­wards (B2 model), Own­ers’ Work­shop Man­ual www.haynes.co.uk £25. Hard­back, 188 pages Mainly colour il­lus­tra­tions

Pilot - - CONTENTS -

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

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