The campaign to restore Avro Vulcan XH558 to flight status is a project about which visitors to this site and nearly every airshow in the UK will be very aware. For some years now, new and ever more vocal appeals have been launched to raise the huge levels of funding required. Unfortunately, set-backs of one kind or another have always thwarted this massively complicated undertaking and it's a sad fact that to this day, the last example of the Vulcan type that can feasibly be returned to flight is lying, propped up and comatosed in a hangar in Leicestershire. She's in this state, not because she's an old aircraft, not because the skills and willingness to restore her are absent but plain and simple because they can't raise the cash to fund the necessary overhaul.
The website that is operated by the 'Vulcan to the Sky - Save our Heritage' outfit is a mine of information. Subjects range from the history of this aircraft and the role of the V-Force to the technical aspects of XH558s engineering and the feasibility studies carried out on the airframe in order to underpin the campaign.
Vulcan XH558 & Red Arrows
There's also an interactive virtual tour of aircraft as she is today as well as a Guestbook in which you can lend your own voice to supporting and encouraging the team. If you've never had a look round it, give it a go by clicking here. Make it obvious to anyone and everyone that this aspect of our aviation heritage and political history has your support.
It is no secret that a lack of funding is still the problem but although renewed appeals for financial support are a constant element of the campaign, it's really not a case of VTS just sitting around with a 'begging bowl' hoping for a rich enthusiast to notice them - they are very much out and about doing what they can to help themselves. Despite the almost catastrophic decision by the Heritage Lottery Fund ( HLF ) to reject their application for funding last year, the VTS Trust are still in there fighting. They've got up, dusted themselves off and by taking a constructive and realistic approach have addressed the concerns raised by the HLF in their initial statement of rejection. This process of consultation and re-evaluation of the project has culminated in the VTS submitting a second and vastly improved application to the HLF. The Vulcan Team are now awaiting the confirmation that the HLF will give life to the project.
As ever though, there's a but...! Quite reasonably, the HLF need to be assured of the level of support for this project and they want to see £500,000 raised by November in order to provide the necessary matched funding for the bid. It's a massive task but once again, the VTS aren't just begging for the money. They've come up with a poetic gem of a project to raise the funds. British Airways and VTS have set the Vulcan's
younger sister to work in helping her stricken sibling! A long weekend for two in New York with accommodation and a supersonic return flight on Concorde are available to the winner of the Vulcan Lottery. The tickets for this and a host of other prizes are a snip at £2.00 but they're only worth £2.00 to XH558 if they can be sold and returned by mid August. It's up to us to buy these tickets and to sell them to everyone who wants a chance at taking what might be one of the last ever supersonic passenger flights! Surely even those without much interest in aviation will leap at the chance of such a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity. Click here for the details of how to buy your own tickets as well as getting a few spare books to pass on. This is our last chance to bring XH558 out of retirement and time is very short so let's get on with it and stop all this messing around!
The Vulcan Lottery has now CLOSED!
Article by David Guild.
Vulcan to the Sky - Official website
Vulcan 558 Club - Official Club for XH558