From The Advertiser24

The organisers of Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival are backing an appeal to keep flying an iconic aircraft that has brought “the wow factor” to their past two displays.

The world’s only airworthy Vulcan bomber, based at Bruntingthorpe, near Leicester, is in danger of being grounded forever unless £800,000 can be raised before March 31.

Lowestoft airshow chairman Paul Bayfield hopes the money can be found so the giant, delta-winged aircraft can again add “wow” next summer’s show on August 12 and 13.

He said: “It is such a crowd puller. It has what we call the Harrier effect. The whole world stops and watches it. Part of the fascination is wondering how an aircraft with such a unique shape can stay up in the sky.”

Vulcan XH558 starred in 33 events this year – including Lowestoft on July 23 – and altogether appeared in front of 2.5m people throughout the UK and Europe.

Supporters need to raise the first £200,000 by Christmas in order to keep the aircraft in airworthy condition through to its 50th anniversary year in 2010.

Dr Robert Pleming , chief executive of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, said: “We recognise these are difficult times but we firmly believe we are doing the right thing, so we are asking for a mixture of pledges and donations towards the £200,000 we need by Christmas.

“It is hoped our proven reliability and known crowd pulling power, known as the Vulcan Effect, will be an attraction to corporate sponsors and add to our growing commercial activities making us self-financing.

“This has always been our aim, but in the meantime we can only survive on the goodwill of the public who continue to see our project as a worthy cause.”

Funding the Vulcan project has been a constant struggle, having taking the dedicated team 15 years to restore the Cold War bomber to flight in 2007.

Now a total of £2.4m is required to cover operations next year, including hangar and office rental, a large allowance for fuel and servicing with components overhauled or replaced. Revenue and donations should cover most of the bill but leave the £800,000 to find.

Donations and pledges to the appeal can be made by calling 01455 637 864 or visiting the website: www.vulcantothesky.org