Three key men behind the Avro Vulcan’s design

Steve Beebee remembered three of the key men behind the Avro Vulcan’s design in the September 2011 issue of FlyPast

When the as-yet-unnamed Avro Vulcan made its public display debut at the 1952 Farnborough Airshow (incredibly, a mere two days after its first flight on August 30), it caused one overawed aviation journalist to admit to “eerie sensations and a feeling that [it was] extra-terrestrial, manned by species hitherto unknown to man.”

It’s easy to imagine the open-mouthed amazement that would have greeted the Type 698 Vulcan prototype VX770 – fast, noisy, delta-shaped and gleaming white – among enthusiasts used to seeing sedate bombers like Avro Lincolns and Lancasters. Yet, five years earlier on August 23, 1947, the concept that would eventually become the Vulcan almost died along with its chief inspiration. Avro’s design guru Roy Chadwick was among those killed when the Avro Tudor 2 prototype that he was travelling in crashed shortly after take-off from the company’s Woodford, Cheshire base.


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