Vulcan is another step closer to flying

A Leicestershire family firm has spent more than 250,000 to determine whether the last of the world-famous Avro Vulcan bombers can return to display flying. Their faith in the aircraft, XH558, has been justified. The Vulcan Operating Company (VOC) has announced that an independent technical survey has confirmed restoration of the aircraft to full airworthiness is practicable.

Now, all that is required to make world history is the funding.

David Walton, managing directory of C.Walton Ltd., Bruntingthorpe, said: "In the past, potential sponsors have questioned the feasibility of restoring the aircraft to flight as no has ever previously attempted the restoration of such a large aircraft. This independent survey endorses our assertion that the restoration programme is low risk"

BAe said the sample results obtained from the surveys of XH558 provide sufficient engineering evidence that the major service and restoration programme can proceed. Practical engineering solutions are expected to be found to technical problems which have already been identified or which may emerge during the restoration process, provided the necessary technical support is properly constituted, approved and available.

The crucial piece in the jigsaw is the project funding. The VOC estimates a further 2.5 million is required to complete the major service. Without this funding, the project cannot progress. The VOC has launched it own web site www.tvoc.co.uk to provide information on project plans and funding requirements.

For an aircraft of this size and complexity, the Civil Aviation Authority insisted on the formal involvement of the original manufacturers of the aircraft, now Bee Systems. The VOC contracted Bee for advice and design support in the scope, content and interpretation of the technical survey and Marshall Aerospace was contracted to observe, document and certify the results of the tests.

The survey begun in November and was composed of a structural integrity inspection of the air frame, a test of aircraft systems and a full inspection of the aircraft's all-electric wiring.

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[05jun00 16:00]