I was in my early twenties and was a sub contractor working in the structural test hangar at Woodford where they subjected the Vulcan air frame almost to destruction but they couldn’t break it.

We used to go and watch the Vulcans take off on their test flights before delivery to the RAF. What a sight!

The test pilots would accelerate down the runway and as soon as the wheels left the runway the pilot would retract the undercarriage and stand the plane on it’s tail and on full power soar almost vertical to about 3000 feet then pull back into a loop and as it reached the top of the loop the pilot would roll out and fly the opposite way.

The engine noise was so loud it would rattle the hangar roof. We also saw the display when they fitted two Skybolt missiles to the wings and a Blue Steel missile under the belly.

I will never forget the wonderful sights we saw at Woodford and I wish that XH558 could fly for many years to come.