Trust operations to be transformed to focus on protecting Vulcan XH558
The team that returned Vulcan XH558 to flight are moving and restructuring
One year after the final landing of Vulcan XH558, the team that returned her to flight in 2007 is to be transformed to focus on her preservation as a ground running aircraft, maintained in superb condition and still delighting her supporters with noisy, inspiring taxi runs. To achieve the long-term financial stability required to protect her, and eventually to return other iconic British jet-age aircraft to flight, the Trust is asking XH558’s supporters to help it become a smaller, leaner organisation.
One of the most important elements of the Transformation Plan is a move, scheduled for around the end of this year, from their current hangar at Doncaster Sheffield Airport into a smaller, substantially less costly facility on the same site. This will become home to Vulcan XH558, Canberra WK163 and the engineering team. Tours will re-start as soon as the hangar has been upgraded to meet the standards required for public events.
“This and other savings will allow the Trust’s annual financial commitments to be cut by around 30%, putting us on to a more sustainable basis for the future,” explains Vulcan to the Sky Trust chief executive Dr. Robert Pleming. “For the time being, all our resources will be focused on XH558. Only when her care is secured for the long-term will we continue to develop Vulcan to the Sky Trust into a world-class guardian of British jet-age aircraft.”
Vulcan to the Sky Trust has come a long way since the return-to-flight of XH558 began 20 years ago. They have completed a complex technical restoration that many people said would be impossible, and thrilled more than two million people a year with a remarkable aircraft that, for eight spectacular seasons, has flown with a flawless safety record. Today, the award-winning team that made it happen has become widely regarded as setting the benchmark for the restoration, maintenance and operation of heritage jets.
“Our next objective was to achieve the same success with another iconic aircraft, the record-breaking Canberra WK163,” continues Pleming. “As part of the Transformation of Vulcan to the Sky Trust, we will set up the Canberra Restoration Project as an independent activity with its own fund-raising campaign, but this means that our ambition to return WK163 to British airshows in time for the RAF Centenary celebrations in 2018 may not now be possible.”
Historic Cold War Airfield
Before becoming a commercial operation, the site that today is Doncaster Sheffield Airport was RAF Finningley, one of the UK’s most historic air bases. Its long service reaches back to 1915, before the formation of the RAF, when it opened as Royal Flying Corps Military Airfield, Finningley, with duties that included defending Sheffield from German Zeppelins. In 1956-7 it received extensive upgrades to transform it into a modern home for the then new V-Force aircraft, Vulcan, Victor and Valiant. When XH558 taxis out to the runway, it is across the original Cold War features where Vulcans were on operational service, ready to take to the air to protect our country; where XH558 was herself on operational service for many years.
Rewards include spectacular photographs of XH558
Every donation is valuable and will help to secure XH558’s future. Those of £20 or more will also be rewarded with a personalised Transformation Certificate displaying the donor’s name (or that of a loved one) while at higher levels, rewards include a pin-badge and a choice of spectacular high resolution photographs of XH558 taken by leading aviation photographers which, at the highest level, will be signed by Martin Withers, XH558’s chief pilot and captain of Falklands ‘Vulcan 607’. For those able to support at the highest level, Vulcan to the Sky Trust is also planning a memorable gala dinner, around the two aircraft in their new home.
More information on the Transformation is available here: http://www.vulcantothesky.org/Transformation.html
Readers can see the spectacular photography of XH558 and choose how to support XH558 here: http://www.vulcantotheskystore.co.uk/transformation-appeal-65-c.asp
To find out more about XH558 and WK163, the Trust’s amazing record-breaking Canberra, sign-up for the free Vulcan email newsletter at www.vulcantotheskytrust.org or join the popular Vulcan XH558 community on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Richard Gotch at Market Engineering
+44 (0) 1295 277050 / +44 (0)7831 569732
Richard Clarke – Regional and aviation press
+44 (0) 7541 133683
About Vulcan to the Sky Trust
Vulcan to the Sky Trust is a charity dedicated to maintaining Vulcan XH558 in superb ground-running condition, to be enjoyed by her many supporters while inspiring new generations of engineers and aviators. XH558 touched down for the last time on October 28th, 2015.
A wide selection of high-resolution images is available from firstname.lastname@example.org