Many of you will have seen the sad news that Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) is to cease operating as an airport later this year and our thoughts go to the employees, many of whom we have worked closely with for many years.
We informed you all in our last newsletter that Peel Group, owners of DSA had informed us that our agreement to keep XH558 at the airport would run out in June 2023 and as such our search for a new home began. We believe we are close to making an agreement with a landlord who not only wants XH558 on their site but is willing to work with us to ensure that thousands of people each year can visit this iconic aircraft and that Dr Robert Pleming’s legacy wish that she became a catalyst for STEM learning is brought to life.
As soon as we can give you more detail we will and we are looking forward to finally opening the doors to The Vulcan Experience – home for XH558, a place of education and inspiration and making a contribution to youngsters decision making in their career choices. We are in conversation with The National Heritage Lottery Fund on an options appraisal to ensure we ultimately deliver the best future for this important heritage asset aligning our aims with the original Heritage Fund contract.
XH558’s Royal connections
Her Majesty the Queen
We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty the Queen and all planned events were paused as a mark of respect during the period of national mourning and our thoughts remain with the royal family.
Vulcan to the Sky Trust and XH558 is proud of our shared history with The Queen and in 2012, when Her Majesty celebrated 60 years on the throne, the aircraft type shared the Diamond Jubilee with her.
It was at this time that Vulcan XH558 toured the UK celebrating Britain’s aviation and engineering achievements during The Queen’s reign as a Salute to Her Majesty.
On 18 June 2012, with approval from the Royal Household, Vulcan XH558 flew a celebration flypast while Her Majesty was visiting the North East of England as part of her Diamond Jubilee Tour. The Queen and Prince Phillip spent the night on a luxury boat, the Leander, in Sunderland docks before undertaking their royal duties the following day around the North East. Just before they were due to step ashore XH558 flew over them at 1,000 feet.
Throughout the tour, XH558 carried a leather-bound book of good wishes inscribed with the names of supporters and their words of support for Her Majesty the Queen. It was an initiative which Buckingham Palace approved and they were presented with the book at Buckingham Palace at the end of the tour.
King Charles III
On 27 July 1971, during his Royal Air Force training to become a jet pilot, HRH Prince Charles was introduced to the Vulcan. The pilot training for The Prince of Wales was codenamed ‘Golden Eagle’.
Flt Lt Graham Heath, who was Nav Radar on the flight with the prince, shared the experience with VTST after attending an event held beneath the shadow of Vulcan XH558 in her old hangar in December 2011.
Graham said, “The aircraft used was XL392. This was borrowed from No 230 OCU (Operation Conversion Unit), especially for the occasion. I understand that the engine fit on that aircraft was deemed “safer” than that on the operational aircraft with 301s! Our crew were from No 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron based at Waddington, but the Captain for the day, Flt Lt John Lebrun was an OCU QFI (Qualified Flight Instructor).
The flight was a Hi-Low sortie, with the low-level portion being at 500 ft from Bass Rock (near Edinburgh) down to Hatfield plain and the River Trent.
“The sortie went successfully, and HRH seemed suitably impressed.”
After the Prince of Wales last training flight, he was qualified to wear the Royal Air Force Flying badge, which was presented to him on 20 August 1971 by Air Vice Marshal Sir Denis Spotswood during a ceremony at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire.
We hope that King Charles III has fond memories of his flight with the Vulcan, and we are honoured to say God Save the King.
To you, our dedicated supporters we want to say thank you as ever for your continued support.