XH558: The first farewell

Twenty-five years ago, Avro Vulcan B2 XH558 was sold off by the RAF, and its flying days seemed likely to be over. Now, of course, we know differently, but a quarter of a century on we recall the ‘V-bomber’s’ last in-service season of displays and its flight into civilian hands

Vulcan B2 XH558 flying just south of RAF Waddington, its home base with the Vulcan Display Flight, on 7 September 1992. The crew for this memorable air-to-air sortie comprised Paul Millikin as captain, co-pilot Dave Thomas, navigators Dave Bradford and Graham O’Connor, air electronics officer Barry Masefield and crew chief Dave Thorpe.

The placards and banners followed XH558 around the country in 1992. ‘Save the Vulcan’, they urged, reflecting the strength of feeling that surrounded the last airworthy Avro delta. After several happy seasons with the RAF’s Vulcan Display Flight, the end was approaching, and the voices of protest turned into a cacophony.

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