|What a year!
The world’s most popular aircraft, Vulcan XH558, touched down for the final time late in October after her busiest season ever. The final flight closed a remarkable year in which she starred in numerous television programmes, was discussed passionately by MPs and Government Ministers in a Westminster debate and flew across the four countries of the United Kingdom to say farewell to flight to her millions of friends and supporters.
Great credit in achieving this is due to her crews, the engineering team at Doncaster and the support network at Hinckley. We should also mention the work of the Vulcan to the Sky Club and the large number of volunteers involved across the country, who not only help at shows, but in the hangar, with the logistics of operations and the web store – all have made a great contribution. Above all, to the many people whose kind donations and purchases generated the funding to make it all a reality.
Thank you one and all.
XH558’s final landing captured by Steve Comber.
Channel 4’s 90 minute programme with XH558 and Guy Martin (November 29, Last Flight of the Vulcan) was seen by more than 2.8 million viewers; around twice that expected for the time slot. (See how you can order the DVD of this programme in a feature below).
The Vulcan XH558 Facebook page now has 258,000 ‘likes’, often reaching more than a million people, with the number of Twitter impressions on the Farewell Tour in October reaching over 27.2 million! This showing just how popular she is. Tours of the aircraft have won yet another Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence and the team that help promotions and commercial activities has just won a prestigious ‘Marketing and Communications’ award from Doncaster Chamber.
Paying tribute to those who made it possible for a Vulcan to keep flying, Robert Pleming said; “I can’t thank enough all those who have donated and volunteered because they shared one remarkable vision.” He also paid compliments to the professional team working for the charity, and to the many companies who have provided support, often without any commercial return. “The breadth of expertise applied to this challenge has been staggering, from the more public skills of engineering and aviation to the backroom skills of marketing, fundraising and sensitive negotiation, to name just a few.”
Inspiring New Generations In the New Year, Vulcan XH558 will begin a new life. No longer allowed to fly but still able to accelerate dramatically along the runway, the Trust will build on this exciting provenance to inspire and educate new generations of young people, helping to deliver the technical skills that Britain so badly needs.
XH558 on a fast-taxi with dramatic spray from a wet runway.
Based in a purpose-built, multi-million pound building at Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, adjacent to her current home in an original Cold War hangar, she will be at the heart of four activities: an Aviation Skills Academy to train young people for careers in aviation; a Heritage Centre to bring enthusiasts close to XH558 and other aircraft in an environment that can also be used for functions and conferences; a world-leading centre of expertise in the operation and maintenance of vintage aircraft; and a new national technology centre that will engage with schools, families and other groups to help address the shortage of young people entering engineering careers at all levels.
A vision of the future, thanks to Guy Taylor Associates.
Future Aviation Projects
Vulcan to the Sky Trust intends to find new challenges to engage this remarkable team. “It has taken almost two decades to learn how to do this really well, both technically and commercially,” concludes Dr. Pleming. “Those skills are now available to other aviation heritage projects. We anticipate several exciting announcements during 2016.”
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