Cadets and staff from 1936 (Newton) Squadron recently visited the worlds only flying Vulcan XH558 at Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire. This exciting opportunity was part of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust’s (VTST) high profile campaign to raise funds to keep the iconic aircraft flying.
The VTST launched a marathon “Vulcan Scramble” across the UK, which saw a team of Vulcan enthusiasts travel the length and breadth of the country in a sponsored high performance Subaru car in order to raise public awareness for their campaign. The journey took them to all of the remaining Vulcan aircraft, starting in East Fortune, Scotland, and ending in Southend.
Cadets and staff from 1936 in front of the Vulcan XH558 and the Vulcan Scramble Subaru.
As well as being given a comprehensive tour of the Vulcan XH558, Cadets were at the forefront of the welcoming of the Vulcan Scramble vehicle as it arrived in Bruntingthorpe. This exciting and memorable experience resulted in members of 1936 Squadron appearing on BBC and ITV news, as the considerable media interest in the campaign generated television coverage of the Bruntingthorpe leg of the Vulcan Scramble’s whistle stop tour of the UK.
Speaking about the visit, CPL Alistair Hemmings (15) said: “Our day at the Vulcan was very interesting, and it was good to get the chance to see the aircraft close up. The welcoming of the Vulcan Scramble car was very exciting, especially as we managed to get on TV!”
Cadets pictured with the original James Bond “Thunderball” model Vulcan, from legendary hit 1960’s movie.
The Vulcan XH558 at Bruntingthorpe was built in 1960, and flew for the first time in 15 years in 2007 following a seven million pounds restoration. The money was raised by the Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTST), but recently funds to maintain the aircraft have been running low. Thankfully, the work of the Vulcan Scramble has paid off, with enough money being raised to keep the XH558 in the air for the foreseeable future.
Amongst those who offered their support to the campaign to keep the Vulcan XH558 flying was former Prime Minister Lady Thatcher, describing the ‘epic’ role of the Vulcan in the Falklands War, when five of the ageing aircraft carried out a series of raids on the Argentine-held Port Stanley airfield. The 1982 missions, which involved 8,000-mile round trips, were at the time the longest-range combat flights ever undertaken.
The visit by 1936 was organised by the Squadron Projects Officer, SGT (ATC) Andrew Sherwin, commenting after the visit, he said: “The day could not have gone better, it was truly a day to remember. When the visit was originally devised it was designed to compliment our aviation projects, but with it coinciding with the Vulcan Scramble, and the subsequent publicity, it was even more of an experience to be part of.”
By Flt Lt Jodi Hudson
Officer Commanding 1936 (Newton) Squadron