Last flying Vulcan bomber set to be retired this year

XH558 Vulcan on flight for a Cold War Tour around the country. Picture: Andrew Roe
XH558 Vulcan on flight for a Cold War Tour around the country. Picture: Andrew Roe

The last flying Vulcan bomber, based at Doncaster’s Robin Hood Airport, is finally to be retired from flying at the end of the current season.

The team behind the multi-million pound project says the massive delta wing aircraft has come to the end of its flying life at the age of 55.

It will in the future be used as the basis of a static education centre.

A spokesman for the Vulcan to the Sky Trust said: “It is with considerable sadness that we have to confirm that we are about to enter the final flying season.

“After she has landed from her last flight this autumn, there will no longer be a flying Vulcan.”

Vulcan XH558 served with the RAF between 1960 and 1985 in the bomber, maritime reconnaissance and air-to-air refuelling roles.

The RAF operated XH558 as a display aircraft from 1986 until 1992, when budget cuts forced its retirement.

Then in 2001 began the long process to gather finances to get the aircraft flying again.

More than £7million including lottery funding enabled the engineers to get it flying again in October 2007.

Since it was granted a licence to fly at displays in July 2008, it has been seen by millions across Britain and in Europe.

However frequent appeals for cash have been made to keep the ageing aircraft airborne.

In 2009 it moved from Leicestershire to RAF Lyneham before finding a new home at Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster, on the site of the former RAF Finningley Vulcan bomber base

The decision has been blamed on three engineering backers withdrawing their support.

Among reasons given were difficulties in assessing the safety of its airframe and engines and problems finding engineers capable of maintaining the aircraft.

The Trust spokesman added: “We are therefore going to work especially hard to make summer 2015 a memorable flying season for every Vulcan enthusiast across the country.

“We intend to use every flying hour available, taking her to more people than ever before, celebrating other iconic British engineering achievements and saluting the heroes of Britain’s legendary V-Force in which she played a vital role during the knife-edge tension of the Cold War.”

Watch video of the Vulcan:

Video: Doncaster Vulcan flies at RAF Waddington Airshow

Vulcan in final flight of 2014 season