Avro Vulcan XH558 has run into the headwinds of the current economic conditions.

The return of the aircraft to air displays is at risk of being slowed to a stop because potential sponsors have drawn in their purse strings and are not making available the expected funds. With three month’s work still needed to ready the aircraft and its crew for air displays, the lack of funding to start this last phase is now endangering the return of the Vulcan to the beginning of the airshow season.

“We need to start the rest of the test flight programme with the return of good weather at the beginning of March, but we still have to have £150,000 in our hands before we can do that, plus confidence that we will go on raising at least £50,000 per month after that. Right now we look like we’re going to be starved of funds at this critical moment for the Vulcan. Every week’s delay to the restart from the end of February will push the first display appearance back by another week. What we are asking people for now is a fraction of what we have raised already, but it is needed now!”, says Dr Robert Pleming, Chief Executive of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust.

Having delivered on their promise of August 2006 to put Vulcan XH558 back into the air, on 18th October 2007, Robert Pleming’s loyal team at Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Leicestershire are determined not to fail to meet the public’s expectations of the Vulcan’s return to the air display world this summer.

Over £6million has been spent on returning Vulcan XH558 to flight, of which £2.7million has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The rest – the majority – has come from public donations, making XH558 truly the public’s aircraft.

“I’m afraid that if we don’t fly again soon, the door will start to close on the future of the Vulcan in flight. We won’t be able to carry out our role of ‘Honouring the Past, Inspiring the Future’, providing a once-seen, never-forgotten sight to a new generation of youngsters, stimulating interest in design and engineering, and telling people about an important period in our Nations history“, continues Robert Pleming, “With the public’s help, the triumphant return of this much-loved aircraft this summer will become the not-to-be-missed spectacle of the season. But we sincerely hope that companies will also give serious consideration to taking up the sponsorship opportunity of the year.”

Keith Mans, Chairman of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust agrees: “Once again, we are dependent on the goodwill of other people to ensure that XH558, the people’s aircraft, continues to fly. In August 2006, the public responded magnificently to our plea for support, and as the result of the £1.3million donated, XH558 took to the air last October. We are praying that people will rise to the somewhat smaller challenge we now face, and help us by making a donation and/or joining the Club today, to ensure that we are able to keep our promise to give XH558 back to the Nation this summer”

Donations may be sent to VTST, Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 5QS, By donating online at http://www.vulcantothesky.com or by ‘phone to 0116 247 8145

Companies who want to take advantage of the very real corporate sponsorship opportunities should contact Michael Trotter on 07803 141483.