No more to the sky

Pilot - - NEW REGS -

Hid­den away in the dele­tions is one of the icons of Bri­tish Avi­a­tion, Avro Vul­can G-VLCN. It was built in 1960 as XH558, part of the UK’S ‘V-bomber’ nu­clear de­ter­rent car­ry­ing the Blue Steel stand-off mis­sile. When, in the 1970s, this role was usurped by the Royal Navy’s Po­laris sub­marines, XH558 was con­verted for mar­itime re­con­nais­sance and then to an air-toair re­fu­elling tanker. Iron­i­cally, it was a bird strike which led to an en­gine ex­plo­sion dam­ag­ing the wing which se­cured its fu­ture. Its ground­ing meant it had by far the fewest hours when an air­craft for the RAF Vul­can Dis­play Flight was cho­sen. When this was dis­banded it spent eight years grounded be­fore pub­lic do­na­tions and lot­tery fund­ing al­lowed the Vul­can to the Sky Trust to re­store it. Com­po­nent life­times were eked out as long as pos­si­ble but its last flight was in Oc­to­ber 2015.

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