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Avro Vulcan

The prototype Avro Vulcan, the Avro Type 698, flew for the first time on 30th August 1952. Powered by four Rolls Royce Avon engines with a combined thrust of 26,000lb. the prototype had just one ejector seat fitted for the flight. Fuel had to be carried in a centre line fuel tank mounted in the bomb bay as the wing tanks had not yet been fitted.

This aircraft, VX770, was not engineered to full production standards and was tragically lost in 1958, possibly due to overstressing the airframe, during a display at Syerston airfield in Nottinghamshire.

In September 1955, the second production Vulcan B1, XA890, burst onto the scene in spectacular fashion when it was demonstrated at Farnborough, the fly past including a barrel roll in front of the crowd.

By this stage power had been increased to 44,000lbs. thrust with the fitting of Bristol Olympus engines. This was later increased to 80,000lbs. thrust with Rolls Royce Olympus engines. Anyone who has witnessed a Vulcan performing a maximum rate climb from take off will know exactly what that power increase did for the performance of the Avro Vulcan.

There are almost twenty non flying Avro Vulcans on display in aviatoin museums, mostly in Britain. There is one in a Canadian museum and three more in US museums.

Just one Avro Vulcan remains flying. XH558, or G-VLCN on the British civil register, hangs on precariously, largely to the contributions of anonymous donors.

Operated by Vulcan To The Sky Trust, this fabulous aircraft continues to impress all who see her at air shows around Europe.

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All images Copyright Avery Little