Charity launches fundraising appeal on 16th anniversary of Vulcan XH558's triumphant return to flight
Thousands of people have become a part of the history of the last airworthy Vulcan bomber by having their name added to her wing.
The Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTST) is marking the 16th anniversary of XH558 returning to flight by offering supporters a chance to have a name added to the iconic aircraft under the bomb-bay doors.
The VTST, the charity responsible for XH558, the last airworthy Vulcan that stopped flying in 2015, is giving people the opportunity to celebrate Vulcan XH558’s second display career and have their name placed under the bomb-bay doors of the iconic aircraft.
The Trust, who are working closely with the current owners of the airport and partners on a plan that will hopefully see XH558 remain in Doncaster, are keen to provide improved access to the Vulcan for supporters.
Marc Walters, chief executive of VTST, said: “We know how much it means to supporters to have their name on XH558 and become part of her history. Thousands of people have already shown their support and had their name or that of a loved one placed under the wings of this iconic aircraft.
“October holds great significance for Vulcan XH558, on October 18, 2007, she took her first post restoration flight and on October 28, 2015, she performed her last flight – making this the final ever flight of an Avro Vulcan.
“To mark these significant moments in XH558’s flying career, we are offering supporters the opportunity to have their name on XH558, giving them a permanent connection to this remarkable and historically important aircraft.
“We know that our supporters want to see XH558, and people love to visit and see the name that they have chosen taking pride of place on this iconic aircraft and that is why it is important for us to let people know that we are working closely with the airports owners on a plan that we hope will see XH558 remain in Doncaster with increased access for supporters via a series of open days in 2024.
“Given the current uncertainty around the future ownership of the site we are conscious that any agreement may be temporary, but we remain hopeful that an agreement that is suitable for both parties can be agreed.”
Doncaster Sheffield Airport closed after owners, Peel Land and Property, conducted a strategic review of its costs. The local council have since expressed interest in reopening the airport and are in ongoing discussions with Peel.
“We were thrilled to see Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones publicly started that she would hope to see Vulcan XH558 remain in Doncaster for years to come,” added Marc.
As part of her illustrious history, it was on July 1, 1960, Vulcan XH558 was the first Vulcan B.2 to enter RAF service and after nearly 33 years she was the last Vulcan to leave service. She was the star of the RAF’s Vulcan Display Flight for six years, from May 1986 to September 1992.
The RAF’s Vulcan bombers carried Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent during much of the Cold War. Whilst the Vulcan fleet’s operational service ceased in 1984, XH558 flew on in the display role until finally retiring from RAF service on March 23,1993.
The Vulcan to the Sky Trust have asked for donations of £35 per name – these will be unveiled on the bomb-bay doors in 2024.
In 1997, Dr Robert Pleming and a small team started to investigate the possibility of returning Vulcan XH558 to flight. Ten years and £7million later, she made her first post-restoration test flight in October 2007. It was an incredible triumph of British engineering, public support and determination. XH558 flew for eight further display seasons that no-one thought they would ever see, thrilling an estimated 20million people across the UK.
Grounded in 2015 XH558 has spent the last seven years at Doncaster Sheffield Airport and has continued to wow fans and supporters both in the hangar and during engine ground runs and organised tours.
All names will be added to the aircraft early in 2024 and details of how supporters can visit to see their name in place will be made available later in the year.
Marc added: “We are continuously bowled over by the support shown to the project and this latest appeal will help the team of volunteers to continue to keep XH558 well maintained and looked after.”
For further information or to add a name to this iconic aircraft visit www.vulcantothesky.org