Vulcan navigator reveals all – Life in the Coalhole

In the February 2016 issue of Flypast navigator Jack Talliss recalled his Vulcan days, which included the prototype and last-to-go XH558

So, the Vulcan has landed for the last time. I had the good fortune to spend a considerable amount of time flying in Vulcans. My logbook reveals flight tests in the prototype, VX770. That was in my younger and more vulnerable years when something happened that I have turned over in my mind many times since.

With a lot of different Vulcans in between, my final years on the mighty delta were spent instructing navigators. It was then that I flew in what was to become the famous XH558.

I started as a National Serviceman in 1951, choosing RAF aircrew for my two years, but I stayed on for two tours on Canberras before graduating to the Vulcan in 1957. It would be wrong to give the impression that I was always a dedicated warrior. Climbing into that black hole of a cabin was often an uneasy experience. Yet the day that I realised I could do the job, and do it well, and was recognised as such by colleagues was immeasurably satisfying.

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