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Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:11 pm by Gary M Jones

Great soaring conditions on the Great Orme yesterday afternoon & even better today ( Sat.). Nice to get out & use some sky !!

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End of the Vulcan ?

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End of the Vulcan ?

Post by Brian Colclough on Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:16 am

A guy posted this email he received on a photography forum I visit. :-

(From Vulcantothesky)

You're probably aware that the Vulcan has a finite safe flying life and that XH558 is already beyond the hours flown by any other aircraft of her type. At the end of the 2013 flying season, she will need a challenging modification to both her wings to strengthen a section that would otherwise be at the end of its safe life.

I know that XH558's supporters would do their utmost to fund this work, which is estimated at around £200,000 (in addition to the normal Winter Service costs), but for a number of reasons that are explained later in our End of Flight leaflet, I have decided not to ask you to take this risk at this time.

Whilst it may be theoretically possible to continue flying for two or three more years, the factors that control whether XH558 can continue flying are such that even if the wing modification was completed successfully, it is quite possible that she would have to stop flying early in 2014. We continue to explore ways to ensure that we can continue flying for longer, but the position today is that we cannot see how spending £200,000 of supporters' funds on a short-lived airframe upgrade could be justified.

Few will be able to deny that returning XH558 to flight and operating her at air displays for six years in front of millions of adoring spectators will be seen as a huge achievement.

It is therefore with particular sadness that I have to tell you that we are planning for next year to be XH558's final flying year, and so, consequently, 2013 may well be your last opportunity to see a Vulcan fly.

Critically, there now exists a large question mark over our ability to reach the 2013 season. Once again, we need to raise enough money to get through the winter service period, with £400,000 being needed ahead of Christmas over and above the income that we can currently see. Our projections show that a further £300,000 is needed to then reach the new airshow season when XH558 is able to start earning her keep!

This might sound daunting to many of our newer followers, but it is no different from the funding challenges that we have overcome in previous years through the great generosity of XH558's supporters, with donations coming from every part of the world. There is certainly huge love and affection for XH558. It would be almost criminal not to do our best to ensure XH558 is able to fly to the limit of her airworthy life.

Please remember that we have an annual operating budget that we have managed to keep down to £2million despite escalating costs. With no government or RAF backing, we have to rely on funding from public appeals, some core corporate sponsorship and our own commercial trading of official merchandise.

The end of flying is of course a most significant milestone in XH558's history, yet it need not be the end of the story.

There is so much more we can still achieve. We have prepared several documents to help you understand some of the options and possibilities.

Firstly, let's look at this year and what we need to do over the next few months.
Here is how you can get involved to help too.

If you wish to refer just to the time-line: it is detailed here.

We hope to have answered some of your questions in our special 'End of Flight' leaflet.

If you are also on our postal mailing list, hard copies of these two documents will be coming to your doormat very shortly.

We will be giving out more details over the coming weeks for our online readers and also a contact point, should you wish to have your own personal hard copies. Full details on requesting some will be given just as soon as they are available.

Brian Colclough

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Re: End of the Vulcan ?

Post by Peter Squire on Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:03 am

No point in extending the airframe life if they have no spare engines

Very sad
Peter Squire
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Re: End of the Vulcan ?

Post by PDQ on Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:07 am

Fatigue cracking of the alloy used.for the wing leading edge skins became a serious persistent problem and there were many revisions.

There are over 110 sheets of drawings for both the the top and the bottom wing skins alone.

More modern aircraft are designed to have built in redundancy. This means that there is always an adjacent component to carry the load.
These aircraft can continue to fly with a defect until the next inspection.

The Vulcans, and the other 'V' bombers were all based on a finite life principal.
Much of the airframe is sealed. The total life span of the aeroplane is finite.

The XH558 is rather an oddity.
It spent a lot of time just on display and as a consequence did very little actual flying. Potentially, it still has some unused flying hours.
Even so, it still had to have ALL the retro refits before considered airworthy to continue on into it's new role as a display feature.
Expensive !!!
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Re: End of the Vulcan ?

Post by Tim on Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:36 pm

Scrap it and use the metal for fillings

Experience often wins.
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