View Full Version : Vulcan to be sold on E-Bay

30th Nov 2002, 21:43
As reported in last Sunday's Mail.

XH558, almost certainly the only Vulcan B2 (K2) left with a chance of taking to the skies again, is to be sold on E-bay following the decision of the Heritage Fund not to sponsor any of the re-build.

The fund has been criticised for giving 20M to minorities and yet cannot stump up any cash to preserve one of the UK's most significant military aircraft which helped to keep the peace for 30 years.

What is this country coming to. Anyone have any friends with deep pockets, or influence within a marketing dept with a big budget.

I, for one, am very glad I have never bought a lottery ticket!

30th Nov 2002, 21:56
Bloody Hell.

I've seen at least one fly.

Shuttleworth, can you not do anything?

No, no paved runway. Would be a shame to lose this aircraft.

30th Nov 2002, 22:27
I've never bought a lottery ticket either, but for those who do can I suggest a boycott !. :mad: :mad: :mad:

30th Nov 2002, 22:33
Are you guys really serious?

"...one of the UK's most significant military aircraft that helped to keep the peace for 30 years....."

Yeah right. Perhaps for 5 or 10 but not for 30. We used to go and "fight" the thing in the 70's and quite frankly it was a piece of junk. A huge lumbering piece of crap that even at 55,000 ft was a sitting duck. It did look nice though, especially through the gun sight!

That aside, are you really expecting a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs to front up hundreds of thousands of pounds to TRY and keep this thing flying? This isn't the RAF that had an almost unlimited budget to keep these dinasours flying. Even the Lightning was "costing" 1000 man hours on the ground for every 1 ( yes 1 [one]) flying hour when it went out of service. So who do you think is going to fund it? And if it's such a special aeroplane, why has'nt it flown since it went out of service? The answer is that to try and do so is too expensive! Period.

Yes, it looked good at airshows when flown by a competant display pilot. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that it did one of the most impressive displays I've every seen at Waddington in 1976. But is this a good reason to try and persuade people to part with a fortune to have one kept flying by someone who most likely would'nt be able to show it off to it's best effect?

Let the thing die gracefully and remain in people's memories the way they would like to remember it.

30th Nov 2002, 22:43
Me thinks you judge the mood wrongly on this one SandLat650.

I saw the Vulcan flying many times at Finningley and when flown by a top notch display pilot, it sent a tingle down the spine.

I am one of those that think the nation should try and preserve one - With all the money that's wasted in this country on c**p, I'd love to see some put into this project.

Maybe seeing a Vulcan fly again will remain a dream.

1st Dec 2002, 07:55
Have to say that as a country we do not embrace our heritage as much as we should. I could babble on but at the end of the day why does the government fritter our money on bilge such as all the millenium "projects" and shy away from standing proud and saying with pride "yeah - we had an awesome miltary presence at one time so let's pay tribute".

They would rather let hardcore enthusiasts shell out their hard earned money keeping these treasures in the public eye.

1st Dec 2002, 09:43
"Let the thing die gracefully and remain in people's memories the way they would like to remember it."

Without the efforts of the Vulcan Display Flight (I think that's what it was called) in the early 90s, I would not be able to 'remember it'. IMHO It's displays were the most impressive at any airshow. For a whole generation the only time they saw it airborne was at an air display, with the massive low frequency vibrations that set off God knows how many car alarms; the Americans manning the refreshment stalls at Mildenhall claiming that the Vulcan ran on Budweiser! Without seeing an aircraft in its element, it soon becomes another piece of metal in a museum, easily forgotten by the masses.


1st Dec 2002, 09:57
Nostalgia and sentiment are clouding the facts.

It was terrific to watch and listen too but it has always has been a non-starter as far as being operated in civilian hands.

Anybody who knows much about it and the CAA's uncompromising attitude (rightly I believe in this case) to the issue of it flying again would know that it has always been a lost cause.

I have to agrere with SandLat650.

Dr Jekyll
1st Dec 2002, 12:51
The CAA don't have a problem with the Vulcan being flown, the only remaining isue is money.

1st Dec 2002, 15:27
:) does anyone kow how much they are asking for it ?

:p :confused: :cool:

1st Dec 2002, 16:38
As its going for sale on E-bay, who knows what price.

The article said it would be bought by someone, most likely in the US and displayed.

I think the US folks state side have contributed more to its current upkeep than those of us in the UK.

With the planning, spares, support and personnel behind the project, the only issue is money.

There are obvious questions as to whether even this would be enough. The airframe has few hours left on it, and, in display format things like PFCs would take a big beating so its a bit of a gamble as to how long it will keep flying even if restored.

30 years may have been a bit of an exageration, but the Vulcan could out turn Lightnings and Phantoms at altitude during their day. The also beat many a better equipped B52 during excercises.

Heritage is often worth preserving, otherwise we just have memories and videos which are hard for a new generation to put in perspective.

If you don't agree, why bother having the Lancaster, B29 etc as their importance is surely irrelevant as well. I think not

1st Dec 2002, 18:04
The Vulcan holds a very dear place in many people's hearts, and I'd love to see one fly. It's an amazing aircraft, which many people are in awe of, enthusiasts and 'people on the street'. I've been holding out for the one at Bruntingthorpe to get airbourne, as has been talked about for many months. Is this the one they're now going to sell?
I imagine Mrs Jeremy Clarkson is getting slightly anxious...

1st Dec 2002, 21:34
Yes, XH558 is the Bruntingthorpe Vulcan.

The article in the Mail did raise a moot point about it thrilling US crowds which could mean that maybe they will get it back together and fly it to the US.

With some of its fuel tanks removed it would have to make a stop or two but I suppose I would rather it return to the US to fly than not fly at all.

The Walton family have done a fantastic job up to now. I think they just did not figure on such apathy from the Bristish public (or abandonment from the UK Govt)

1st Dec 2002, 23:17
Hey Aerbabe!

If it weren't for the Vulcan flying over my house one rainy day back when I was a nipper then I may never had held the dream of one day becoming a pilot. That's how big an influence a plane like the Vulcan can have!

Now then, you still love the Vulcan seeing as that aircaft is to blame for me being in aviation......? ;)


2nd Dec 2002, 03:10
A Vulcan fly with any of its fuel tanks not working? I think not norodnik. How the hell do you think the big delta is kept in trim? and what are co-pilots for anyway?

I loved Vulcans and got more pleasure from them than anything I've ever worked on since, but there's no way to come up with the money it takes to keep them up in the air from private funding, least of all from airshow revenue. Leave the old girl to lie in peace and leave us daft old gits, the Cold War Warriors, to our dreams and memories.

Eh? What? You'll have to speak up lad, those Olympus ground runs have knackered me ears, as well as me kidneys.

Through difficulties to the cinema

Shaggy Sheep Driver
2nd Dec 2002, 09:02
Re Jeremy Clarkson'r missus, I understood that as soon as the TV cameras had packed up, that lightning was dismantled and removed from chez Clarkson. Can anyone confirm??

But a static Vulcan does have one good use - it makes a great refuge to stand under when the heavens open, as many who have done so at the variuos wet Woodford airshows will know ;~)


2nd Dec 2002, 10:24
Shaggy Sheep Driver - correct. That Lightning is currently gracing the entrance to Booker, and was only placed in Jeremy's garden for the TV programme. Made a few quid for the owner's plan to mount it on a roundabout in Farnborough.

2nd Dec 2002, 12:33
To me, SandLat650 is 100 percent, spot-on.
Yes it is a beautifull aircraft to look at and has been awsome to work with (by what I gather) but to keep it in flying condition it a stupid use of money.
Display it somewhere where all people have access to it and maintain it only in a manner that it still presents the Vulcan feeling, is what it deserves.
No more. There are other more important matters to spend money on.

Rather silly statement of Dr Jekyll:
""The CAA don't have a problem with the Vulcan being flown.""

Of course they don't. It proved before it can fly! rolleyes:

Now try to make it comply with their conditions under which "they have no problem with it being flown"
That is where "the only remaining problem" - (heaps of money) - will go!

And frankly, not worth it.

2nd Dec 2002, 15:37
FWIW I think that Bruntingthorpe have got it right already; on a good weather day there is a sight to behold and I am sure there is room for even more by way of historical flyers. I was there one day when a Corsair pitched up out of the blue and made a very good impromptu airshow. Flying the beast is financial suicide even though it would be awesome, but that aeroplane IS still alive and available for all to see. I bet the driver pushes his luck at times getting "light on the wheels", I know I would!!

Dr Jekyll
2nd Dec 2002, 16:07

M Mouse said:
Anybody who knows much about it and the CAA's uncompromising attitude (rightly I believe in this case) to the issue of it flying again would know that it has always been a lost cause. "

Clearly implying that the CAA were blocking the Vulcan from flying again, and that anyone who disagreed didn't know what they were talking about.
The fact that the CAA are willing, in principle, for the Vulcan to be flown again is therefore highly relevant.

2nd Dec 2002, 18:32
Tiger_mate - that'll have been the late Paul Morgan probably. He did like to beat the place up on the way home, I enjoyed many of his impromptu displays at Brunty. RIP.

4th Dec 2002, 17:25

I asked my father, who was involved in the flight trials of the Vulcan, about your point on trim.

He recalled that the length to span ratio on the Vulcan was much larger than that of Concorde which relies very heavily on fuel movement for C of G etc. He said it was quite fun to give the controls a whack and listen to all the fuel sloshing about, on many occaisions he was convinced the fuel would come right through the bulkhead.

I do not know the answer for certain, but maybe because of the above it quite possible to do without some of the fuel tanks and manage happily with the ones that are left. For display purposes I guess the plane would be almost empty so maybe thats another reason.

I'm sure those with flying experience on Vulcan's would know for sure.

4th Dec 2002, 22:00
I've been following this thread since it started, and am still trying to think of a useful comment on this shocking bit of news.

I think I'll stick to: Bloody Hell!!!

That Vulcan belongs in the air!

5th Dec 2002, 19:32
There is quite a big difference between "Vulcan to be sold on e-bay" and "Vulcan to be offered for sale on e-bay"

I will certainly offer 100, subject to free delivery to my local airfield at Booker.

5th Dec 2002, 21:24
Re the bit about trim, CofG and fuel tanks. Normally the ac was operated (and thus the CogG kept in limits) with fuel proportioners running in automatic, which meant running the booster pumps at varying speeds (and thus fuel pressure) in accordance with a mechanical device to do the timing and switching. The low fuel handling drill involved manual organisation, with the proportioners switched off and the co-pilot managing the fuel usage and Cof G by switching on and off the booster pumps. Fuel transfer was permitted forward and aft between the 2 extreme forward tanks (no 1) and extreme aft tanks (no7), which fed the outer engines.

There was a guage showing FUEL CofG on the centre panel, and the co-plt had a slide rule calculator. He did a calculation before flight to determine the AIRCRAFT Cof G which was his starter for fuel management.

As for flying WITHOUT fuel tanks - I'm not convinced. The tanks themselves are part of the ac structure, not to mention the weight/CofG equation. The ac was flown in the cruise at .86Mach, which equates to 480KTAS at FL400, or 8 nm/min. It used to take about 4.5hrs to make Lincolnshire to Goose Bay, usually bucking a jetstream headwind, but I guess UK-Keflavik-Goose would be feasible.

However, the CAA I feel would not sanction the flight unless the ac was pretty much complete. On the subject of the CAA, you might like to know that they are on-side. The CAA heavy test pilot has taxyed the ac round Bruntingthorpe under the watchful eye of Dave Thomas. He is optimistic that it could be given airworthy status by the CAA, and of all people, he is a major moving force.

My credentials? 8 years and 2000hrs poling the mighty beast.


The Inspector
5th Dec 2002, 22:37
I'll second Dr Jekyll's comments.

The CAA have agreed in principle that the Vulcan could be operated in the UK. ;)

7th Dec 2002, 07:13
FJJP - 'Proportioners' is rather a generous description of those primitive electrically driven 'sequence timers' which whirred round every 15 minutes operating a suitable system of cams and contacts to switch 14 boost pumps between high and low speed!

Not sure of the current bomb bay tank configuration of '558 - does it have any drum tanks or 'A & E' tanks?

I don't recall ever having taken off with any tank deliberately empty. But certainly in flight we'd occasionally run some of the central tanks to 'white MIs' (not all simultaneously!) and then run the panel in Manual to squeeze a little more range out of the beast. Made it harder for the co-pilot (me), of course.....

The Spams have always had a warm spot for the Vulcan. Back in 1979 we were coming back to Barksdale after the Giant Voice semi-final. There wasn't enough fuel to make Barksdale, so we'd been pre-booked into McConnell for a pit stop. On our way in, the nearby 'Wichita mid-continent' airport said that they'd never seen a Vulcan, so could we route via them? Well - silly question or what! They held a Lear Jet on the Runway whilst I whistled along it at 350 kts and 100 ft, then pulled up in a big wingover right over the good citizens of Wichita before joining downwind at McConnell. It caused quite some interest - the locals thinking that it was anything from a UFO to some new secret aeroplane! The next day when the other 2 ac in the semi-final landed there were press, TV and radio folk lining up to talk about the new Brit superbomber. They couldn't believe how old it really was......

Just think what an updated Vulcan with a few dozen JDAMs would be capable of today!

7th Dec 2002, 21:27
Hi Beags - just thort that 'proportioners' sounded much more obvious to the layman than 'sequence timers'. However, you're right - the STs were horror stories in design, but they worked, didn't they? although they tended to shove the CofG forward - if memory serves me right.

Not sure what the bombbay tank config is for 558, but I suspect double drums or empty...

9th Dec 2002, 23:36
There's a long thread on page 3 of the Military Aircrew forum that will probably be of interest re-Vulcan flying again debate ------

10th Dec 2002, 02:58
Proportioners? Jesus! I can think of lots of other names for them and most of the other electrical components of the Vulcan, but such language is too rough for use outside Jet Blast :D :D

Pilots tend to be blind to what really goes into getting an aeroplane ready for departure - probably just as well, since knowing some of that stuff would make them less enthusiastic about strapping the big piles of scrap to their backsides. How much do know about the thirty seven fire extinguishers and the associated Graviner FFFD ["Fault Free Fire Detection" for heavens sake!!!] that prevented the leaky old fuel tanks from bursting into flames? Honestly, there was some seriously crappy electrics in the Vulcan, which kept me and hundreds of other electricians busy round the clock and made me into the "Ace" electrician I remain today. I don't imagine that any of that rubbish is any more reliable now than it was 33 years ago. If anyone ever needs to refuel a Vulcan in Borneo, I still have my regulation issue diamond tip file, but I've no idea where to find any of the other 20 Kgs of specialist equipment that us electricians hauled around the flight line, just to do a pre-flight.

There are lots of things to consider - once all existing tyres have reached their ultimate storage life for instance, [and they must be close to scrap by now], replacements would have to be custom built. How much do you reckon custom built tyres cost?

Through difficulties to the cinema

Shaggy Sheep Driver
10th Dec 2002, 11:26
They held a Lear Jet on the Runway whilst I whistled along it at 350 kts and 100 ft, then pulled up in a big wingover right over the good citizens of Wichita before joining downwind at McConnell. It caused quite some interest - the locals thinking that it was anything from a UFO to some new secret aeroplane!

I've heard it said that although the mighty Aluminium Overcast would not be much cop these days as a war plane, it would find an excellent role in physiological warfare; instilling fear in the enemy's civilian population by doing a few full-power pull-ups over their heads ;~))


10th Dec 2002, 11:43

Pse see the Lightning thread re-a query you had -----