Although we are unable to give a running commentary on the plans to leave Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA), behind the scenes the team are working very hard. We are in discussion with partners, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to decide which of the two potential sites that we have in negotiation is the best option for XH558. Discussions have also been ongoing on the work required to move XH558.
In last month’s newsletter we informed you that a short ferry flight to any new location did not have CAA approval and was not possible, so we must sympathetically dismantle XH558, move her by road, and rebuild her at her new home. This process will be handled by professional, experienced partners who understand the significance of this work. They will be reinstating power to as many of the functionals as they possibly can – e.g. enabling the swinging of the bomb-bay doors, elevons and rudders – through the sympathetic dismantle and reassemble work they will carry out. This will ensure that XH558 can still be shown off at her new location and not just be an inactive exhibit.
Our business plan for visitors to The Vulcan Experience has been finely-combed through by an expert consultancy company and we are confident that we can attract visitors. This business model is one which we have experience of operating when we occupied a hangar and one which will help towards the continued care and protection of XH558.
Like all Vulcan fans, everyone at Vulcan to the Sky Trust has huge affection for ‘558 and we all want her to remain in the best possible condition for years to come. Our Trustees know the weight of the responsibility on their shoulders to ensure that XH558 is cared for and can continue to be shown off to her many, many supporters. Since DSA asked us to leave the airfield, and subsequently announced the closure of the airport, our Trustees have been exploring every possibility to move XH558 to potential new locations. Working with The National Heritage Lottery Fund we will ensure we that we deliver the best future we can for this important heritage asset, ultimately preserving her as the centrepiece of the new visitor attraction centre – The Vulcan Experience – where she will be able to inform, educate and inspire future generations of engineers.