After many years this Vulcan has been refurbished to the extent that it now appears regularly at UK airshows. The last of a truly iconic classic the Vulcan really follows the old adage - 'if it looks right, it flies right'. Designed from a spec laid down in 1946 the outcome was an aircraft capable of near Mach 1.0 and with a service ceiling well over 65,000ft - no fighter could touch it in the early days.
From 1957 until the early 80’s the Vulcan was at the heart of the NATO MAD ethos (MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction) with nuclear armed Vulcans, Victors and Canberras poised for take-off in less then three minutes at many bases throughout Europe. The first class flight performance of the Vulcan was demonstrated by the series of Skyshield exercises held in the early 60’s when Vulcans successfully ’attacked’ New York, Chicago and Washington - penetrating at heights around 100ft. Serious red faces in the USAF military!
There was considerable discussion when the type was introduced about the disparity in crew escape facilities as only the pilots had ejection seats and the rear crew members (navs and electronics ops) were left to struggle out the entrance/exit door. This was starkly illustrated when the first operational Vulcan, returning to an official reception at London airport after a round -the-world flag waving trip crashed on the approach attempting to land in poor conditions. The pilots ejected, the other crew members were lost. In all, 10 Vulcans were lost during squadron service - on four occasions only both pilots survived, on two events all crew escaped and on four occasions all crew were killed. Even in peacetime the numbers start to add up.
This image captured by Connor - with a setting introduced from my own desk - so well captures the style of the 'old friend' - was it really over 45 yrs ago!!!