Saturday, August 8, 2015



When I was a lad we still had dragons. They sounded like the Vulcan. Howling.

I have been waiting a while for this beauty to visit the Tavern. Crowds have been on the patio all day waiting too. As they do everywhere this beautiful old lady appears. She is in great demand.

But this is the last year she will appear in her natural element -  the air.  

The fine men and women who maintain and show this great British machine have this to say:
The Avro Vulcan is an iconic example of British aerospace engineering at its world-beating best. Its impressive list of technical achievements includes being the first successful large delta wing aircraft, leading directly to Concorde and the Space Shuttle, and delivering performance and agility so close to a jet fighter’s that it was given a fighter-style control column in place of the traditional bomber pilot’s yoke. Today that agility allows XH558 to deliver amazing air displays, 
which unfortunately must finish this year as her time as a flying aircraft draws to an end.
The Famous 'Howl' of the appraching dragon is heard several times in the display below filmed at RIAT. Those who watch it all will also see the drogue chute deployed which is unusual these days, and the commentator does an excellent job talking through the last great Mission of the Vulcan scaring the pants off the Argentinians. The Red Arrows join it to give us the very best salute, well deserved, and incidently showing the relative size of this huge machine.
But XH558 is not just for the pleasure of seeing her giant delta profile appear low over the trees and pull up near vertically as she climbs high into the sky. She is an iconic example of that remarkable period of intense post-war innovation that made British aviation technology the envy of the world. 
Update. Aug 17. Beachy Head. 

As the many displays at her hangar demonstrate, this allowed her to play a fascinating role in keeping the peace during the Cold War, a period of terrifying global tension. It’s a truly remarkable story.
Vulcan to the Sky Trust already has an established education programme, working with schools, colleges and other organisations. In her new life, still able to accelerate dramatically along the runway, XH558 will build on this exciting provenance to inspire and educate new generations of young people, focussing on the technical skills that our country needs so badly.

Vulcan XH558 flies thanks to the generosity of her supporters who give their time and money to supplement the Trust’s commercial income. She would not fly without them. 
Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this remarkable story happen. 

Vulcan XH558 is owned and operated by Vulcan to the Sky Trust, a British charity established to maintain and operate this remarkable aircraft.
It is a sad matter that successive British Governments have failed miserably to maintain flying examples of the Great British military aircraft.  It is expensive, I know. To keep the less than a dozen post war jet aircraft flying would soak up at least one tenth as much as is spent on every single mothers' telephone bills in a week or a day's spend on illegal immigrants' lunch. Clearly those would have to go without. 

The last Victor landed at Shawbury a while ago for its final ignominious road trip to the museum at Cosford. She should still be flying too.

In this Vulcan's case it is the cost of maintaining the engines. The airframe is fine. The pilots are there. The ground crews are willing and in all the 'human' aspects new people can be trained. But new bits of vital parts have to be tooled and that is expensive. Too expensive for the British Gumnut.

So, no more, after this year, will well-heeled groups be able to have a Command Performance at an afternoon party. Which can be seen by thousands not attending the party.

The party is over.

An Era draws to a close.

Fare thee well old lady.



  1. It is sad to see such great aircraft no longer do what they do best...slip the surly bonds of earth.

    1. Indeed sir. The air is their element and where we want to see them. I understand that your mob do a better job of keeping old timer aircraft than the British do. Bring back the Confederate Air Force, I say ! ( I used to be an hon. Colonel) :)

  2. A fine tribute to a fine old lady :-)

    1. Thank you. I hope you get to see it for one last time soon.

  3. Delta lady indeed. Why do govts not take last years into account and have a gradually built up stockpile of parts from the early years?

    1. Pride in the Nation's capacities is not part of the Gumnuts agenda. Successive ones of both stripes have ignored our heritage. It is a disgrace. The costs of keeping spare parts is not a lot and would make barely any difference to the current state of the Budget. People are willing, but their representatives care only for themselves.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..