Pre-commencement works start for The Vulcan Experience, but support is still needed to get the project off the ground
Contractors have started pre-commencement works for the new hangar at Doncaster Sheffield Airport that will become The Vulcan Experience.
The team from principal contractors, Wordsworth Construction Management, will be onsite for two days along with the ground worker and civils contractor, Alto Construct, to start the foundations that will form the main visitor centre, taking the legacy of former CEO, Dr Robert Pleming, who died in February this year, a step closer to reality.
John Sharman, chair of trustees at The Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTST) said: “We are extremely pleased to have made the first holes in the ground for the new hangar and while it is a great step forward, we are still quite a way off our fundraising total to make this project a reality.
“This is a £4m rescue mission to secure the future of one of the last icons of British military history and we are continuing our negotiation for a mortgage of up to £2.4 million to enable us to build this hangar, the support of the public via a fundraising appeal is needed to meet the total costs of the build.
“The new hangar will result in XH558 being brought under cover, protected from the elements and once again available to the public.
“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. The Vulcan Experience 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.
John continued: “We know that the past 12 months have been hard for everyone and that charities have found fundraising difficult. We are now calling on people from across the country with an interest in heritage, aviation and green technology to get behind this project and help us to create a venue that will inspire people for decades to come.
“Part of the drive behind the new hangar is 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 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 John.
There are a number of ways to support the project from individual donations of £30 or £50 which see the donor become a guardian for 12 months and their name appear in the hangar. Businesses can support via the Vulcan 558 Executive Alliance’ – a membership group open to businesses from across the UK. Businesses that join the Executive Alliance will, in return for sponsorship, receive a package of benefits including having their name displayed on a dedicated members’ wall in the new hangar.
John concluded: “We would like to extend our thanks to the construction team including Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson (Architect), Tier Consult (Structural Engineers) Brentwood (Services design), Wordsworth Construction Management (Project Managers, Quantity Surveyors and Principle Contractors) for enabling us to make this important first step to DSA for working with the charity to help us make this happen.”