Avro Vulcan XH558, Spirit of Great Britain, on its farewell tour of Northern Britain.
Way Back When
When I was a teenager i had two great 'Vulcan' experiences. One was a school 'careers' visit to RAF Saint Athan, the RAF maintenance base where we got to see the ME163 Komet and various other fascinating aircraft. But the star of the day was an Avro Vulcan, which seemed huge - like a football field supported on wheeled legs! It was unbelievable that something so large could fly, let alone perform barrel rolls and immelman turns. The other, was seeing a Vulcan in action at one of the Saint Athan open days, pulling up almost vertically above the centre of the runway.
At the time of the Falklands 'conflict' their were many and varied views on the rights and wrongs of the war. Even so few people were unmoved by the achievement of the Vulcan aircrews who literally flew twice across the Atlantic to bomb the runway at Port Stanley.
End of the Story
In the summer of 2015, I became aware that the restored Vulcan XH558 - 'The Spirit of Great Britain' was making its final season of flights before retirement, that very afternoon I was walking the dogs when she flew directly overhead flying from Cosford to East Midlands Airport.
On 10 October 2015, XH558 flew a tour of the north of Great Britain, flying from its base in Doncaster, up to Edinburgh and down to the west Midlands. I was fortunate to join a small group of misty-eyed middle-aged men on top of a hill to watch it fly up the Trent Valley, dip a wing for the Burton war memorial, and slowly disappear into the north. In a few weeks XH558 will become a static exhibit, but here's my tribute to one of the most incredible aircraft of the 20th century.