Classic Airshow Performers
Avro Vulcan B2
Arguably the most impressive display aircraft of them all, the Vulcan was a true 'star' from its early performances at Farnborough during the late 1950's through to the final withdrawal of the type from service in 1984.
Fortunately, an example was kept flying by the RAF specifically for airshow appearances.
Initially these were given by XL426 but from 1986 XH558 took on the role. XH558 was to become the last flying Vulcan and continued to give impressive displays until the end of the 1992 display season.
A memory that will stay with me for a long time, was the performance given at RAF Mildenhall during Air Fete '92. XH558 took to the air just minutes after an exhilarating display by a USAF B-1 Lancer. There are few aircraft which could better that spectacle but the Vulcan certainly did by giving a stunning performance!
XL426 performing a 'touch and go' at RAF Mildenhall's Air Fete '85. This aircraft is one of the survivors and is now lovingly cared for by the Vulcan Restoration Trust at Southend. For more information follow the link below.
The Vulcan in its element at the 1973 Battle of Britain 'at Home' display at Biggin Hill.
A Vulcan still wearing type 'A' national markings at Biggin Hill in 1975.
The best 'in service' display I remember was given by this Vulcan at the 1979 Biggin Hill International Air Fair. The crowd were enthralled by the 15 minute performance which finished with a spiral climb out on full power, the like of which will probably never be witnessed (or allowed by the authorities!!!) again.
A Vulcan SR2 of 27 Squadron at IAT '79 at Greenham Common. The airframes converted to the maritime reconnaissance mission looked immaculate due to their gloss paint finish which was applied to help protect them from prolonged exposure to the elements.
The classic Vulcan departure as XH558 completes its display with a full power climb out at the 1990 Battle of Britain show at RAF Abingdon.
A case of 'swings and roundabouts'. This photo was taken at the show at Bournemouth (Hurn) airport in August 1990 during the heightened tension following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Vulcan had been positioned at Hurn and was due to take part in a number of shows on this day. However, the crew which flew Victor tankers operationally, had been recalled to their Marham base at short notice, meaning that the Vulcan had to head for home after its display at Hurn. Because the aircraft had been fuelled up with the intention of performing at other shows as well, the crowd were treated to an extended display that was very well received.
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