The charity behind one of the last icons of British military history is launching a £4m rescue mission to secure its future.
The Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTST), who were responsible for restoring XH558 to flight, has confirmed that it is in negotiation to secure a mortgage of up to £2.4 million to enable it to build a hangar at Doncaster Sheffield Airport. The support of the public via a fundraising appeal is needed to meet the total costs of the build, which will result in XH558 being brought under cover, protected from the elements and once again available to the public.
Dr Robert Pleming, chief executive of VTST said: “From the earliest days of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust’s work, the charity has always had two guiding principles, to honour those who served us in the past and to inspire future generations to make meaningful change in the world.
“We are proud to announce a major fundraising campaign to build the first phase of The Vulcan Experience, a dedicated new home at Doncaster Sheffield Airport that will embody those guiding principles in a memorable and unique centre, making the airport a destination in its own right.”
VTST’s vision for The Vulcan Experience is that it will be a major attraction, housing the iconic Avro Vulcan XH558, where visitors will be able to hear and see the story of her history, her restoration to flight in 2007 and the part played by the RAF’s V-Force aircraft in preserving the peace during the Cold War. XH558 is still very much a live aircraft and she will continue to thrill her supporters for years to come.
Robert continued: “We have always aimed to inspire youngsters to pursue careers in aerospace and engineering. The innovative 1950s technology of the Vulcan is relatively easy to understand and her awesome power and beauty generates a huge following. We need to inspire youngsters to become the engineers who will devise the required technical solutions to the global climate challenge. As we develop The Vulcan Experience, they will be able to start their journey in the exciting Green Technology Hub – a major new and, as far as we know, unique initiative central to the Vulcan Experience.
“Aircraft and air travel using today’s technologies will become unsustainable and if the world is to retain global connectivity, new technical ideas are needed; indeed, some are already on the drawing board. Innovation as exemplified by XH558 is a bridge to these future technologies.
“The Green Technology Hub will be focused very much on the future, highlighting current climate change concerns, and aimed at the young; the engaged members of ‘Generation Z’ and specifically in relation to aviation,” added Robert.
Youngsters will leave the Green Technology Hub understanding that;
- Scientists, engineers and technicians can help to solve climate change problems.
- Energy comes from a variety of sources of differing characteristics.
- Aviation has a future, but it may well look different from today.
The Green Technology Hub will feature explanations and demonstrations of the Climate Change Imperative and aviation’s contribution to climate change but it will offer hope by showing there are solutions, for example, the evolution of greener aircraft design and the materials that make them.
Robert added: “Operation Safeguard will enable the first – vital – part of our vision by building the hangar home. We are seeking the public’s support to fund this exciting and important new project. This is a fantastic way to leave a real legacy for the next generation and to help to honour the past, the present and the future.”
To support the appeal the charity is offering two levels of contribution: a donation of £50 will see donors automatically become an XH558 Guardian Member for 12 months. Their name or a name of their choice will be added in perpetuity on a very special hangar exhibit with genuine XH558 provenance placed next to XH558 and honouring all those who will have made the new home possible.
A donation of £30 will bring the same benefits but names will be placed on two specially mounted original Vulcan port and starboard wing tips, major items from the spares purchased from the MoD after XH558 left RAF service.