2010 – Happy Birthday

As XH558’s 50th anniversary year approached, funding was an issue once more. During 2009, the Vulcan had flown for some 50 hours (over 30 sorties), and, restricted by Visual Flight Rules, had to pass through turbulent low-level air. This had eaten into her Fatigue Index at a greater than anticipated rate, resulting in the need […]

Modification 2429 and 2430 – Sam Evans

The Vulcan was designed as a ‘safe life’ aircraft, with a well-defined limit on how long it can carry on flying. One airframe (the 60th) was removed from the production line and placed on a specially built test rig at Woodford, this was known as the “Fatigue Test Specimen” (FTS). Using hydraulic jacks attached to […]

2009 – From the Ground – Kevin ‘Taff’ Stone

The race was on again to prepare XH558 for the 2009 airshow season. A host of servicing requirements awaited the attentions of the Trust’s engineering team, complicated by a warning from Rolls-Royce about possible corrosion issues on the engines. This necessitated the removal of No. 4 engine for inspection by Marshalls and Rolls- Royce, so […]

2008 – Back to the Show Circuit

With funds once again depleted XH558 had to sit patiently in her hangar after her all too brief taste of freedom. It was April of 2008 before test flights could restart, as the Trust sought to demonstrate her airworthiness and gain the all-important Permit to Fly from the CAA. XH558 flew to RAF Cottesmore for […]

October 2007 – First Flight

Thursday 18th October 2007 dawned, a perfect day for flying, and destined to be an unforgettable one. Anticipation was keen as the media and invited guests gathered at Bruntingthorpe. No less keenly felt by the VTST team either, as the culmination of all their efforts drew nearer. Colin Marshall, Vulcan Control on the day: “You […]

1993 – 2007 – The Road to Restoration – Part 3

With funds now in place to take XH558 to first flight the team threw themselves back into the final stages of rectification. The aircraft went back on jacks for the completion of Mod 2222, and to speed the work more logistics staff were brought in, housed in a new office built in the hangar. As […]

1993 – 2007 – The Road to Restoration – Part 2

A fresh appeal was launched in March 2004 to reach the Trust’s commitment of 29% of the funding total, required before the HLF would issue a ‘Stage 2 Pass’ and release the grant. Finally, Dr Pleming and Felicity Irwin were able to announce that “this is indeed history in the making. Although we have thought […]

1993 – 2007 – The Road to Restoration – Part 1

In 1993 XH558 became the last Vulcan to leave RAF service, after a career of 33 years. At around 10am on the 23rd March she took off from RAF Waddington for her final flight with the RAF, and embarked on a tour of old haunts, including St. Athan, BAE Woodford, Coningsby and Scampton. Squadron Leader […]

1982 – 1992 – The beginning of the end


No. 27 Squadron flew the last Scampton Vulcan Sortie on the 31st March 1982, disbandment day, and handed over the maritime reconnaissance role to the Nimrod fleet. The running down process had first claimed 230 OCU in August 1981, closely followed by No. 617 Squadron in December and No. 35 in February 1982. Waddington was […]

1970 – 1982 – Tactical Roles


Following the transfer of the strategic deterrent role to the Royal Navy’s Polaris fleet, on 30th June 1969, the RAF maintained three nuclear-capable Vulcan wings with different weaponry, and accordingly different standard of aircraft. The Scampton Vulcans were designated B Mk.2A as they had provision for Blue Steel. The Cottesmore aircraft had B Mk.2s armed […]