Vulcan Flies Again, At Last
After years of struggling to raise $12 million to restore a retired Avro Vulcan, volunteers and aviation enthusiasts last week got their wish -- the four-engine, 110-foot delta-wing bomber took to the skies at Bruntingthorpe airfield in England, 14 years after its last flight. 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 -- and until last week, none had ever flown again. The bomber will now undergo rigorous testing so it can be certified to fly by the Civil Aviation Authority. "It is hoped that once this has been achieved, the aircraft, once the UK's deadliest weapon, will be used to entertain and educate crowds up and down the country by showcasing its amazing grace, power and maneuverability," says a news release from the Vulcan to the Sky Club.
The Vulcan is powered by four Rolls Royce engines, each producing eight and a half tons of thrust, and can reach speeds up to 645 mph. The club members will seek sponsorship and contributions to keep the ship flying. They hope to keep it active on the air show circuit for at least 10 to 15 years, and then donate it to a museum. An educational program about the history of the Cold War era will also be part of the project. BBC News has posted a video of the flight, and YouTube has posted a series of amateur videos.
Click here for an AVweb podcast about the project, from August 2006.