Vulcan Needs A Million Pounds, Now

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No, not Mr. Spock's home planet, but the giant Avro Vulcan delta-winged bomber, formerly of Britain's Royal Air Force. Despite widespread support and some 2.75 million already spent, the restoration of the retired airplane is "on the brink of failure," Robert Pleming wrote to AVweb on Monday. The impressive-looking aircraft was one of three British V-Bombers designed to drop nuclear weapons during the Cold War. The fleet fought in the Falklands War and was retired in 1993 -- none have flown since. After more than seven years of work, Vulcan XH558 is almost ready to be rolled out of its hangar, with the goal to return to the air next year. But the project has run out of funds, and now is trying to raise a million pounds by the end of August. The professional engineering staff on the project have already been told they will be laid off at the end of the month. Rising costs and funding delays have caused the money crunch, Pleming said. "To have come so far in the pursuit of getting her airborne again, only to fail at this late stage, would be a tragedy," he wrote. "It really is now or never." Supporters hope to see the Vulcan airborne for the 25th anniversary commemorations of the Falklands War (aka Guerra de las Malvinas) coming up in June 2007. The Vulcan to the Sky Club is gathering pledges, and says it will collect from donors only if there is a certainty of success.