Avro Vulcan

The Avro Vulcan is one of the true icons of historic aviation. Starting out as a key part of Britain's nuclear deterrent in the Cold War era, the Vulcan is an aircraft that almost everyone has a soft spot for - and that's largely thanks to XH558. Its incredible restoration, thanks to the work of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, thrilled airshow crowds up until 2015, but it still has a role to play in inspiring the next generation of aviation engineers.

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Vulcan videos, features and news

Vulcan XM594 repaint starts at Newark Air Museum

Now that a bespoke scaffolding system has been installed around Avro Vulcan XM594 at Newark Air Museum, teams of volunteers have begun a restoration and repainting project.

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British aviation 1962-1972: consolidation and cancellation

In the second part of our series looking at the British aerospace industry during Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign, we examine the decade between 1962 and 1972

Campaigns launched to fund major Vulcan and Shackleton projects

Newark Air Museum has launched a pair of fundraising campaigns to assist with major restoration projects on two of its Avro airframes.

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Delta Disaster: Fatal RAF Vulcan Heathrow crash

A record-breaking flight by a Vulcan turned into tragedy when a landing went wrong. Andrew Brookes recounts the events of that fateful day

Southend Vulcan to be opened to visitors 

Visit the Vulcan Day returns for the first time in 2022 at London Southend Airport on April 24, giving visitors the chance to see Avro Vulcan XL426 up close.

Vulcan XM607 starts its take-off run as XM598 taxies out. All photos author Feature Premium

Vulcan raiders – watching history over the fence

It was a quiet day at RAF Waddington, but history was about to be made. Bob Dunn recalled witnessing a memorable event in the May 2012 issue of FlyPast

The primary aircraft for the Black Buck 1 mission was Vulcan B.2 XM598 (shown here shortly after it first arrived at Wideawake Airfield), however a cockpit window wouldn’t seal properly and so the aircraft couldn’t be pressurised. This led to the back-up aircraft carrying out the attack. Bob Shackleton/VTST Feature Premium

Planning the Vulcan raids on the Falklands

Dr Kevin Wright interviewed Sqn Ldr Andy Marson (Ret), at the time Vulcan to the Sky Trust’s navigator on XH558, who helped plan the Black Buck raids during the Falklands War. He provided his insight into these complex missions in the August 2015 issue of Aviation News

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Operation Black Buck Twilight Taxi-Run

Saturday 21 May will see the Vulcan Restoration Trust commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Falklands conflict and the Operation Black Buck missions with a special twilight taxi-run event featuring Avro Vulcan B2 at London Southend Airport

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Operation Black Buck: Falklands' most daring raids?

The ‘Black Buck’ Vulcan raids have, perhaps, been the subject of more post-Falklands War debate than any other air operations mounted during the 1982 conflict. Forty years on, we analyse their effectiveness in the context of the broader Operation ‘Corporate’ campaign

During the Falklands conflict air-to-air refuelling was to prove invaluable when Avro Vulcan B.2 XM607 made the first of several raids on the vital airfield at Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands. Key Collection Feature Premium

Falklands War - The first Vulcan raid

Just as the Vulcan and Victor’s operational sunset approached, war clouds appeared on the horizon and the V-Force jets were thrust into a real shooting war. Chris Pierce recalls the first Black Buck raid on Port Stanley Airfield

When the long anticipated Vulcan first rolled off production lines in 1956, nobody could know just how much effort would go into preserving the manmade, delta-shaped beast for years to come. It would go on to serve in the Royal Air Force for 28 years, but that wouldn’t be the last of the Vulcan – not by a long shot. Unlike so many before it, the Avro Vulcan has held such a special place in the hearts of many that since its retirement, it has only gained in popularity. Now, the bomber has spent more time in retirement than it ever did in active service. Despite this, the legacy of the Vulcan continues to go from strength to strength, courtesy of XH558 and the dedicated team behind her at the Vulcan to the Sky Trust.

A.V. Roe and Company designed the Avro Vulcan in response to a specification set by the British Air Ministry. It was nothing like anything anybody had ever seen before: it was a jet powered, tailless delta-winged giant that was in stark contrast with its older cousin the Avro Lancaster, which had been designed only 10 years earlier. Gone were the propellors and straight wings of the past. The Avro Vulcan introduced a new generation of bombers that not only looked futuristic but were capable of things that, once upon a time, could never have been dreamt of.

Despite its enormous exterior presence, the inside of the Vulcan bomber was incredibly tight. While the vast majority of the bomber’s size can be attributed to its delta wing construct, space for the crew seemed like it had been a secondary consideration at the design stage. As a result, the space in which the crew could operate was minimal to say the least. The crew was made up of five airmen: the pilot, co-pilot, AEO, Navigator Radar and the Navigator Plotter. While the pilot and co-pilot took centre stage right at the front of the aircraft, the other three crew members were crammed into the space behind them. Although the pilots of the aircraft were positioned at the front, visibility from inside the cockpit was notoriously poor. This wasn’t a major issue, however, as the aircraft was designed to rely on navigational radar systems to see its flight path. The Vulcan had performance and agility more akin to a fighter than a conventional bomber, particularly at high altitudes. Its four Rolls-Royce Olympus engines, famous for their deafening howl, were an early version of the engines that would later go on to power the world’s first supersonic airliner, the Concorde

As a strategic bomber, the Vulcan’s role during its active service in the Cold War was to be capable of delivering British-constructed nuclear bombs to targets in the Soviet Union. Although never used for its intended nuclear purpose, the Vulcan was utilised during the Falklands War in Operation Black Buck and afterwards in reconnaissance and air-to-air refuelling training. After the Vulcan fleet was retired in 1984, just one example was restored to flight for use in air displays and shows: XH558. It wasn’t the only complete airframe to remain, as two were also kept in taxiable condition in Southend-on-Sea and Wellesbourne. However, XH558 has continually been funded by the public in order to preserve her as part of a crucial period of history. And now, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust and Operation Safeguard are looking to ensure that XH558’s legacy remains for future generations.