Vulcan XH558 takes to the sky at Cosford Airshow 2013

I managed to knock two other items off my very lengthy “bucket list” in the last couple of weeks with a vist to the Cosford Airshow last week-end (Sun’ 9th June) to get my very first look at the last flying Avro Vulcan – XH558.   The visit was combined with some motoring in the Peak District and in addition to taking in a couple of stately home tours, we also managed to visit the town of Holmfirth in Yorkshire to see where one of my favourite TV series Last of the Summer Wine was filmed.  Throughout our trip the weather was absolutely beautiful so for the moment it seems summer has arrived at last – fingers crossed!    I’ve always had a soft spot for the Vulcan, there’s just something about it’s proportions – the massive delta wingspan dwarfing the small cockpit and nose area as it gracefully sweeps through the air looking just so; “DDG” (drop dead gorgeous!).   It’s sheer beauty belies the potential it has for creating menace using the deadly load in it’s belly, and the sound of those four Olympus engines emitting that amazing howl it’s such a wonderful combination.  Having read Rowland Whites’s account of the RAF’s long range bombing raid on the Falkland Islands during the war in 1982 using a single Vulan in his book: “Vulcan 607”, I decided I just had to see one of these amazing aircraft in the flesh so to speak.   The last flying example left on the planet is # XH558 and this aircraft is kept airworthy by the Vulcan to the Sky trust, a UK charity funded by the national lottery and public donations.  Much of the fundraising is supported by the fact that the aircraft puts on a wonderful display to the public at many of the big airshows round Britian during the summer months.  When I discovered this year (2013) was to be it’s final flying season, I immediately jumped at the chance to catch a final glimpse and began planning a visit to one of the shows. I wasn’t disappointed.  The show itself was a real treat with all sorts of aircraft being displayed, from the very latest Typhoon (Eurofighter) to the WWII Spitfires and Hurricanes but I have to say I was just “blown away” by the sight and sound of the Vulcan – although my pictures really don’t do it justice I do hope they help explain some of the feelings the whole thing evokes as words fail me in terms of describing the all round experience.  The really good news is that the Vulcan Trust are now saying they believe with further funding they are very optimistic about keeping the aircraft fling until 2015!  Apparently, the announcement earlier in the year that this was to be it’s final season provoked a huge reaction from it’s many supporters (and the public in general) to the extent that more funds came pouring in – a successful tactical PR exercise on the part of the trust? – whatever, it just means that we can all enjoy seeing this fabulous machine continue to grace the skies for a couple more seasons.  I for one will definitely be back to see it again and as a flying sepectacle I can highly recommend it.  So do whatever you have to do to see it flying, it’s worth every penny.   I shot all my (somewhat shaky) footage on a compact Fuji Finepix with some of the still images on my HTC mobile.    By the way, Rowland Whites book (Vulcan 607)  is a “corker” as are his other two; Phoenix Squadron and Storm Front – three great factual stories all wonderfully written and thoroughly enjoyable.

Vulcan says farewell to Cosford for another year, hopefully it will be back again in 2014 with any luck – fingers crossed!

The Battle of Britian Memorial Flight also raised some hairs on the back of many necks with their display – the thunderous growl of the Lancasters engines was really something!

The Red Arrows also gave their usual fantastic display but as they were moving a bit too quickly for my limited photographic abilities, I didn’t bother trying to catch them on video!

On the ground there were also plenty of aircraft parked-up to “point and click at” including some radio controlled models one of which was a 1/5th scale Vulcan – absolutely enormous!


Chatsworth House – location for the movie; Pride and Prejudice


Holmfirth – Last of the Summer Wine country:

About a week prior to this trip the weather had taken a “turn for the better” and as a result, I spent most of it gardening (or shall we say “in the garden”!).  Anyway between “this and that” not a lot has been happening on the modelling front so it’s time I got cracking again.  As luck would have it, the postman has just dropped in a package from my casting colleague John Murphy, that’s what I call good timing.  More on the modelling front shortly, Cheers for now.




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