Vulcan bomber to visit Festival of Flight

Darragh McAlinden with Ruby Campbell get a bird's eye view from  the cockpit with Amelia Earhart aka Lisa McHugh. Piicture by Brian Morrison

Darragh McAlinden with Ruby Campbell get a bird's eye view from the cockpit with Amelia Earhart aka Lisa McHugh. Piicture by Brian Morrison

The last flying Vulcan bomber will be a key attraction at Saturday’s B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight in Newcastle, with tens of thousands expected for what is possibly the biggest year for the event.

The inimitable Red Arrows will make a welcome return visit to the skies over the Co Down town, with their famous trails of red, white and blue smoke.

This year’s airshow will also include a Typhoon fighter, a Lancaster bomber, two-seat turboprop basic trainer aircraft the Tucano, and the Supermarine Seafire, a version of the Spitfire especially amended to land and take off from aircraft carriers.

Also included will be the GNAT 2, the Falcon Jumpers and Midair Squadron’s Canberra PR9, flanked by two Hunter T7s, plus a fly-past by the Irish Air Corps.

But the star of the show, the Vulcan bomber, has returned to the air following a remarkable modification to her wings that was funded entirely by her supporters.

More than £400,000 was raised to give the iconic all-British jet a further two years flying by extending the life of her airframe. She took off for the first time in early June following this vital work and is now well into a summer display season that will take her across the United Kingdom and thrill and inspire many hundreds of thousands of people.

Dr Robert Pleming, Chief Executive of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTST) said; “Extending her flying life required a remarkable operation that combined the very latest 3D scanning and analytical techniques with a range of traditional craft skills that I have to say are quite unique and amazing.

“It was remarkably British, at times looking positively eccentric, yet always combining innovation and engineering excellence. An error of just a few thousandths of an inch could have grounded her forever.”

Dr Pleming is also quick to thank XH558’s supporters who donated their time and money to give the resources they needed.

“Without their hard work and generosity, there would no longer be such a dramatic reminder of this amazing period in British history, when we really did rule the skies,” he said,

Down District Council and Translink have announced a free Park & Ride shuttle bus service from the designated Northfield parking site on Castlewellan Road throughout the day for details see www.translink.co.uk/festivalofflight/ or call 028 4372 2222.

The festival continues with a Country Music Afternoon at 1.30pm on Sunday hosted by Hugo Duncan in Donard Park.

For more festival information call Newcastle Information Centre 028 4372 2222 or see www.downdc.gov.uk




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