Saving a legend: Vulcan XH558

Avro Vulcan XH558 1

Avro Vulcan XH558 1 (Photo credit: ahisgett)

With WW2 over and the election of Clement Attlee, it was proposed to the Cabinet that the UK should develop its own atomic bomber. This came in the beautiful form of the Avro Vulcan. The bomber saw service with the Falkland War in 1982 before going on to performing a aerial refuelling role in support of UK air defence. With the Vulcan facing retirement in March 1984 and air displays stopping in 1992 due to budget cuts, it seemed all was said and done. That was until a team of passionate believers wanted to see the peoples aircraft back in the skies! This is the story of how the Vulcan to the sky trust brought back the one and only flying Avro Vulcan, XH558.

The long process to see Vulcan XH558 restored to her former glory began in 1997 but with finance being a big issue, a long journey was ahead of the team. Restoration estimates indicated £3.5 million was required to get XH558 off the ground once more but with a blessing of £2.7 million granted in 2003 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, all seemed possible again. Work then began on the aircraft in 2005 before having her first ground display since her resurrection in 2006 which motivated the country to see her where she belonged…the sky. The moment people had waited for finally arrived when XH558 took her next flight on October 18th 2007 during the first post-restoration flight lasting 34 minutes. From here, final tests were complete and all was done and ready for her to stun audiences from 2008 onwards in the skies of airshows.

English: Avro Vulcan G-VLCN as XH558 on static...

English: Avro Vulcan G-VLCN as XH558 on static display at the Farnborough Airshow 2008 (Photo credit: MilborneOne)

The journey has never been easy with funding required every year for the plane to fly but her audience is adoring enough to donate time and time again to see her on the next airshow circuit. This is just one reason for XH558 being named ‘the peoples aircraft’. It’s at this point again that the Vulcan to the sky trust need your help. The plane has a deadline of June 30th 2013 to collect £800,000 and a pressing deadline of March 31st to gather £46,000 (as I write this) before setting the next phase in motion. Every donation and effort made to save this stunning piece of British history is much appreciated by the trust so please share this information with all and plan to see XH558 during the 2013 airshow season to see ‘the spirit of Great Britain’! The above video is a great example of XH558’s power and should be enough to motivate any aircraft lover to save her.

Visit the online home of XH558 at to donate and see further plans for the beauty of the skies.

Like the trust on facebook.

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