The legendary Vulcan bomber has been added to the Royal International Air Tattoo’s flying display next weekend after its operators won a last-minute battle to have the aircraft airworthy in time for the world’s largest military airshow.
The Vulcan, one of the most iconic warbirds of the Cold War era, was restored to flying condition in 2008 following a massive £7 million public campaign.
In order to display each year, the aircraft has to pass a series of rigorous tests, and operators overcame both financial and technical challenges to ensure that once again, the world’s only airworthy Vulcan would take to the skies for another season.
Vulcan XH558, which was built in 1960, enjoyed a 33-year career in the RAF, including service during the Falklands War. Along with the Valiant and the Victor, the three aircraft comprised the Royal Air Force’s legendary V-bomber force, designed to protect the UK from nuclear threat from the 1950s to the 1980s.
The ambitious restoration of XH558 was supported by a £2.5 million grant from the Lottery Fund, a £500,000 donation from philanthropist Jack Hayward, commercial sponsors plus contributions from more than 20,000 members of the public. The campaign also received significant fundraising support from the Air Tattoo throughout the restoration project.
Last year, its appearance at the Air Tattoo was considered by many to have been the highlight during the airshow’s eight-hour flying display.
Air Tattoo Chief Executive Mr Tim Prince said he was delighted to be welcoming back such a popular and unique aircraft. He said: “It’s been touch-and-go as to whether the aircraft would be ready in time but I am absolutely thrilled it is now able to join us. There are few aircraft flying today that can match its beauty and sheer thunderous power. In my mind, it is one of a handful of legendary aircraft, including the Spitfire and Concorde that has the ability to stir the emotions.”