Sunday, 3 June 2012

Vulcan team target Air Tattoo return

Well it's been an emotional few days for us Vulcan fans, one day fearing that the airshow season season was lost (and for some of us, being really thankful that that was it all that had happened) but then the hope that followed that maybe, just maybe the season was not lost, given the effort that was being focused on returning XH558 to the air.

There was of course, a potentially catastrophic event that took place a week ago, but fortunately all that happened was the need for 2 engines to be replaced, and hopefully they will be.

That will of course take time to take place, and we've now seen that any displays in the month of June have now been given the thumbs down, simply to ease the pressure from the dedicated Vulcan engineering team - and I've every confidence that they'll get to where they need to be in good time.

Questions will be asked by fans, and quite rightly so, but they'll also be asked by the team at Vulcan to the Sky, but the need right now is to return the Vulcan to the sky, as per the team name, and I'm also confident that that will happen.

In the last few days, many words have been said, but not really with the chance for VTTS to come out and say anything, so it was pleasing to see the likes of Dr Robert Pleming to come out and talk on the new UKAR podcast - now I'm a member on the forum (known as Banksy - not very cryptic, but hey ho that's me), and what a great interview it was too, by Dan O'Hagan, who is also a member on the forum and also a commentator at the Air Tattoo too, and I'm sure he'll do a great job in the commentary box this year too.

The interview confirmed what we all thought, that damage had been caused to not one, but two engines, but the good news being that the airframe had come through unscathed, meaning a straight engine swap would be the order of the day, and that is what they are now concentrating on.

The Vulcan was due to kick off it's June appearances at Torquay, but that has fallen by the wayside as has the appearance at Waddington - although if things happen quickly, you just never know, maybe just maybe, it could be ready for action there - but let's plan for it not being there.

Instead, let's hope that the Delta Lady makes it to RIAT in July, which is the first target on the renewed list of displays for this season - there is no mistaking that this is an airshow that it needs to aim for - although given that the sponsorship has perhaps not met the demands needed, this is more for the enthusiasts to just enjoy her appearance, but that's what it's all about isn't it?

It's been a desperate week for the Vulcan crew, but I've no doubt that she will bounce back in traditional style, and whilst we're on the subject of bouncing back, how great is it that that over £275,000 has been raised towards the £300k target set back in February - amazing stuff from a bunch of fans who just love to see this aircraft performing in the air, and long may it continue.

I have included the link below to the UKAR podcast, again it;s an excellent podcast, and one which also carries a feature on another V Bomber - The Victor, so enjoy that too!

Til next time...

Podcast -

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Why funding is even more critical now

Well no sooner had I returned to blogging about the Vulcan, than all of a sudden on a routine crew currency flight attempt, bad news strikes as XH558 comes to a grinding halt on the runway at Robin Hood Airport following engine trouble when rolling for take off.

The thing we can all be thankful here is the fact that it happened so soon after the push for take off, had that happened a few seconds later...well I won't even go there. Suffice to say it was pleasing to hear that after the tweet from @XH558 was received about the aborted take off (which was followed by a large gulp) another one appeared advising that the crew were all okay, and the aircraft was being checked over.

Safety is of course paramount, and must never be compromised, and in this situation the crew shut the engines down as soon as the large bang was heard. Also pleased to hear that the fire engines were not needed to really get in there amongst the Vulcan, but were around for any such problem.

There has been a lot of great debate in the past about monies needed to fund the display seasons and also the servicing - and this goes to show that anything can happen along the way, which I would imagine would not be budgeted for, but the fact that (looking at the page now) over £271,000 has been raised towards the £300k target, it's clear to see that was it not for those funds being raised then the chances of  repair job going ahead would have been nil.

So, funds are needed now more than ever. We all hope that she returns to flight in time for her first display of the season, which was set for the 23rd June - whether that is completely wishful thinking I'm not sure, but we live in hope.

One thing is for certain, the two biggies are Waddington (the following weekend) and the Air Tattoo at Fairford on 7&8 July, and I really hope that she is ready for both of those as bearing in mind that approximately 250,000 will visit those airshows, that is clearly where funds can be raised for the continuation of the world's last remaining Vulcan bomber.

The update on the Vulcan to the Sky seems to suggest that the engine issues were caused by FOD - or Foreign Object Damage to the rest of us - so hopefully this hasn't caused too much damage, but it's looking likely that an engine swap could be the case here, and with only a couple left to go, another indication that we need to make the most of her as the Delta Lady will surely be coming to her natural end in the not too distant future.

When that eventually does happen, then I really believe the team that have brought her back to the air for us to all enjoy over the last few years - and that includes the team of engineers & volunteers who have done an amazing job - should all be recognised in some way by the public. I'd certainly back a move to have some kind of formal recognition for what they have achieved.

Anyway, back to the current issue, and we'll all keep our fingers crossed that the engines issue can be sorted quickly rather than seeing her grounded for a longer time.

At a time when the Spirit of Great Britain is seeing an Olympic torch being carried around the country, let's hope that the light shines on the Vulcan again, and that Spirit gets her back in to the skies above us!

Good Luck XH558!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Well it's been a busy last couple of months on other projects, and it's been a while since I posted on the Vulcan Bomber Blog, but like the Delta Lady herself, it's been a time to recharge the batteries and get ready for the season ahead, and with the funding appeal getting closer to its target of £300k, and the first confirmed dates appearing on the schedule, we really are set for a great airshow season from XH558.

When I last posted, it had been revealed that the remaining time to raise £200,000 required to hit the £300k target had been extended until the end of May, so that was a bonus, and I believe a justified one, even though there is still £40,000 to raise to meet that target, it's still been a fantastic effort by all concerned to get the £260k received so far. There is one more week for the original deadline, but I'm sure that if the Trustees see the efforts that have been made they will allow a little more time for that remaining target to be hit.

Recently of course, XH558 has already been out and about, and made brief appearances at RAF Cosford doing 2 flypasts and also a flypast at the National Memorial Arboretum, at Alrewas in Staffordshire. It was great to see XH558 up and about once again, in what hopefully is just a teaser for all of us as the airshow season really approaches.

Next week of course we move into the month of June, and the first scheduled appearance with Torquay & Babbacombe being first on the agenda on Saturday 23rd June, with then a display at Yeovilton (dare I mention THAT video again?!?) before heading back up to the Cleethorpes Armed Forces Day, before returning back to Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster.

The following week sees her weekend appearance at the RAF's premier airshow, at RAF Waddington, and I'll be up there on the Sunday to watch it, so banking on this decent weather to be around that day (how nice would a joint flypast of the B52 bomber & the Vulcan be if it could be arranged???).

July of course sees the bulk of Airshows coming along, with the biggie on the 7th & 8th July as the Royal International Air Tattoo takes place, and I'm sure the tens of thousands attending this year's show - which looks set to be a cracker by the way - will end up being swathed in the Vulcan Effect that so so often takes place whenever the Delta Lady revs up!

No sooner is the Air Tattoo at Fairford out of the way, the Farnborough Airshow comes calling, and the Vulcan crew will take her there from Gloucestershire on July 9th, before displays taking place over the Friday, Saturday & Sunday over the Hampshire skies.

Already some dates for August are booked in, with 3 appearances currently scheduled, the first of which is the Clacton Airshow on the 23rd August, before the Dunsfold show takes place on 26th & 27th August, scene of another great You Tube video (the 'look at thaaat!' video, you know the one, with the kids getting well excited, I know we're all the same watching it and remember the day we were like that back in the day, well okay maybe last summer!).

I'm sure there will be many more dates added, and we all await that with the kind of excitement that used to exist as a kid when the new Panini sticker album used to come out in January, or when you'd open up the packet of stickers to see a foil badge in amongst them, resulting in major elation before you saw it was two Scottish teams who you'd already got in your book!

Went a bit off track there, so back on it, and talking of the Vulcan Bomber - I still get the feeling that this year will be the last we'll see of her before she hangs up her engines. Hope not, but it's just the feeling I get, so let's ensure that the remaining £40k is raised and we get to see her at many places this Summer.

I always like to finish off with a video, and the one today features the great Sean Moffat with his quite brilliant commentary on the Vulcan Display, I think the thing that gets me along with many others here is his line "They said it couldn't be done, but here she is today" remarking on the fact that many people wrote off the chances of ever seeing a Vulcan take to the skies again, well they were wrong, and how...

Credit for the Video, goes to 264flight

BBS! (Be Back Soon!)

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Big week ends with February target hit and good news

Well the HUGE effort to get £100,000 in the bank by the end of February ended successfully on Wednesday, as the appeal passed that target, and on to the next target, which was £200k by the end of March.
 However, following the Vulcan to the Sky trustees meeting in midweek, this week's Newsletter announced that the remaining £200,000 target, would be split across 3 months which is FANTASTIC news for all concerned, meaning more time and a more realistic schedule to try and raise the money needed.

So, the target now looks like this:

  • By March 31st - £75,000
  • By April 30th - £150,000
  • By May 31st - £200,000

So, £75k is the target this month, and already £8k is in the bank, so efforts will continue to raise the sums needed - and good luck to VTTS with this - I know everyone will still do their bit, so if you can donate, then donate today, as the sooner that money comes in the quicker we will see XH558 at Airshows this Summer!

I was personally really pleased that the 'Leap Day' idea I put to the team was taken on, and £3000+ was raised towards the target - it meant that 600 people must have donated a fiver - in one way a shame that many many more of the 10,000 twitter followers and facebook likers didn't commit, but in another way, those 600 may not have donated before, so good on them for doing so, it was a worthwhile initiative as it helped get over the £100k milestone, proving that yet again, Vulcan fanatics are the best out there!

So, March is a big month too, and hopefully we can get the target needed by the end of the month, plenty of goodies remain on sale at the Vulcan shop, so if you haven't bought anything yet, then please do so now!

The latest engineering report from Taff Stone, is also now available to view, and well worth a watch too, which can view here.

Finally, I do like a good Vulcan video to finish a blog on, so here we go with today's blast from the past, which was the fine display at Broughton in September 2009, finishing off with a cracker of a howl...

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Take a 'Leap of Faith' for Vulcan XH558


Well, we've arrived at Leap Day - or whatever you want to call it - and today is a key day in the life of Vulcan XH558 - with the funding appeal continuing, but also at a point whereby the Trustees need to see that the chances of raising the £300k by the end of March are good.

One of the initiatives that I'm proud to have suggested to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust has been taken on and is running today, with the idea of taking a 'Leap of Faith' on Leap Day, by donating a fiver to the cause, on a day that only comes around once every 4 years.

I'm hoping that you'll back this Blogger's suggestion, and spread the word around everyone you know - as their fiver will help in making anyone reading this blog happy - a flying Vulcan is what will make all readers happy I'm sure, but we need to raise the funds to make it happen, so please please please, do what you can!

So, whatever time you do it, please just donate that £5 to this fantastic cause - if you're reading this for the first time and don't know what the fuss is all about, then have a look at the video below, and that will give you an indication as to why we love it so much:

That is why we love this aircraft so much - no other can make such a noise!!!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Take a leap of faith with the Vulcan

February 29th 2012, is one of the key dates in the Vulcan's long & beautiful history, it will see the trustees of the Vulcan to the Sky team meet to see if the plug is to be pulled on the best aircraft around.

If that proverbial plug is pulled on XH558 then it will be a very sad day for all Vulcan enthusiasts, and other aircraft enthusiasts too of course.

There are those that have been saying 'it's time to put her in a museum' whilst others will quite rightly continue to battle to keep her up there where she knows the air.

So far the efforts of many have seen the appeal fund rise to over £50,000 which is in itself an incredible effort in the current climate - and I just cannot understand those who bang on about why the VTTS shouldn't be asking for money whilst there is none around. They are simply asking, not demanding. Do the same people slate Children in Need when there is no money around? That happens on a yearly basis, so does Comic Relief, and the public get something out of that, so what is so different with the Vulcan Appeal - no one is forcing anyone to prise open their wallets or purses, they are simply asking for help. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion.

Some good ideas have been raised recently to help assist with the fund appeal, the Valentine's Day one was a good one, donating £10 whilst declaring your love for the Vulcan - a nice topical idea, and I've put an idea forward to the Vulcan team - whether it gets accepted and suggested by the fundraising team I'm not sure yet, but if it doesn't then The Vulcan Bomber Blog will still push it!

The idea is based around the social network, between Facebook and Twitter, there are over 20,000 'likes' or 'followers' - now I do appreciate that there is the strong chance that people who 'like' the Vulcan's Facebook page, are also more than likely a 'follower' of the Twitter page too, but that still leaves over 10,000 individuals - so my idea was as follows:

The Idea:

For all 'Likers' and 'Followers' to donate £5.58 to the Vulcan Appeal, on Wednesday 29th February 2012, a kind of 'Leap of Faith' or as I put it to the VTTS team...'One Giant Leap for XH558' - and wherever you are in the world during the 29th February, you could donate, it could be done anywhere across the world, so participants would all feel that they had done their bit at the specially suggested time. It's a one off event that could attract the best media coverage given that they are normally after great stories, and this is a 'Best of British' story that would be a cracker...

Now, having already submitted that idea a couple of weeks ago, the news came out that the meeting would then take place on the 29th February itself, so maybe we could all just donate on the Leap Year day (is there such a term? No? Oh there is now....) - and we can all show our faith in the Vulcan Bomber and help her get past the next milestone of £100,000 which holds a large significance of course.

If every Facebook 'Liker' or Twitter 'Follower' donated the minimal sum of £5.58 then over £111,000 would be raised on it's own - adding to the £50k already in the bank. If even half of those donated, then it would still raise over £50,000 - enough needed to get to that first £100k target.

Think about it for a second, it's £5.58, that's all. It's not a massive amount (even though I'm sure any amount higher than that would also be appreciated, and feel free to donate it!) but if everyone made a collective effort on just one day then anything is possible. Think back to the Children in Need and Comic Relief days, the emphasis takes place on one given day normally, and millions are raised. The Vulcan team are not asking for millions here (far from it, the efforts of many have already reduced the target to a much lower amount compared to previous years), they are asking the public to help keep an inconic aircraft in the air - my thoughts as mentioned before are that 2012 will indeed be her final year up there, so let's all pull together, after all, what's the point of being a 'Liker' or a 'Follower' if there is no display or flying Vulcan to 'like' or 'follow'?

Let's do it, just £5.58 on Wednesday 29th February, 2012.

Here's the link to make your donation

Ps: The Vulcan Bomber Blog became proud owners of a share certificate following the purchase of a Fire Suppression share via the Component Life Register over the weekend, and also related blogs Chester FC and The Daily Banksy also became owners of shares relating to the Engine Swap & Pneumatic Cylinder components.

For best results on the howl, tune in to the very start, and then head to about 6:30 for about 20 seconds!
The Vulcan Bomber Blog

Monday, 6 February 2012

Time to Save the Vulcan

It's been a while since I posted on this blog as other things have had to take priority, but now is the time to come back and concentrate on the immediate future of XH558.

The message of course has come out from the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, that £300,000 is required to cover the costs to get the Delta Lady ready for the 2012 display season - and sure there will no doubt be the usual knockers who say why isn't this or that in place to prevent them from asking the public for money again.

Well the simple fact is that the Trust is exactly that, a Trust, it's not like a normal company who can reel in profits from advertising etc, the one product they have to sell has restrictions, for instance the fact that you cannot advertise anything on it - there are many traditionalists out there that say good, but the sad fact is that if the advertising restriction was lifted there would be no doubt in my mind that the Vulcan team would have no problem finding the money to get her through the season.

I'm not talking about the Vulcan being painted bright orange to represent a particular mobile phone company, or have SKY blasted all over it, although that may be the closest we'd get to Vulcan to the SKY being advertised on her, I'm on about some small but noticeable adverts, that would reel in the pounds needed to guide her through the tough times. Look at the wingwalkers for instance, having seen sponsors such as Utterly Butterly or Breitling, they look good, and that money I'm sure pays for all kinds of things for their displays, I really do think that the rules should be looked at to keep the Vulcan in the air, rather than a desperate plea for money each year.

Personally, even if adverts were rampant on the Vulcan, it would be the sight and sound of the Delta Lady that I'd still be enjoying, rather than the though of visiting her in a museum somewhere.

Anyway, enough about adverts, time to talk practically, funds are needed urgently, and I really do believe that this will be the final year in the sky for XH558, so let's keep fighting, as it would be a desperately sad story to have already seen her last flight.

If you have an idea to help raise funds, then contact the Vulcan to the Sky team, I've got an idea which I'm going to share with them today, and if they proceed with it - and I hope they do - then maybe, just maybe it will play a part in keeping the Vulcan in the sky this year - that's all I want from it. Nothing more.

So, £300k needed then, let's raise it, and prove once again that Vulcan fans are the best around, and keep the old lady up there!