View Full Version : Concorde or Vulcan

10th Apr 2003, 19:23
So which one would you rather see flying again?

10th Apr 2003, 21:10
The Vulcan by a street. Pure airborne grace.

Random UAS Stude
10th Apr 2003, 22:01
Vulcan - firstly cos' Concorde hasn't stopped flying (yet), and secondly, the guys at Bruntingthorpe deserve to have the Vulcan flying again...

10th Apr 2003, 23:12
Vulcan. But one concession to Concorde fans ó I'd like it all-white please, in the anti-flash scheme of the V-bombers' heyday.

Random UAS Stude
10th Apr 2003, 23:23
If you want see Concorde fly - GO TO HEATHROW!:O

Take the chance while you can....

Shaggy Sheep Driver
11th Apr 2003, 03:49
I presume you mean 'after she ceases operation'.

Much though I love Conc, she's not an agile machine. The Vulc puts on a display of sight and sound that is unbeatable IMHO.


11th Apr 2003, 03:50
Definitely the Vulcan. Beautiful as Concorde is, she just don't put on a show like the old Vulcan. Hope someone manages to keep Concorde going though - hate to see it growing old in a museum or wasting away or being turned into scrap.

11th Apr 2003, 05:46
Not a chance of either, I am afraid. Regulators and money mean that the time has come to say a decent goodbye. These noble aircraft are too good to be slogged around tuppeny airshows, constantly short of cash. Let's remember them in their prime.

11th Apr 2003, 06:13
Concorde - power and grace, peaceful (not quiet though).

A stunning aircraft

Dr Illitout
11th Apr 2003, 16:42
In a perfect world.... Both, but in reality neither. The memorys now are good, could you imagine the lasting memorys if one of them crashed at an airshow?. The airshow world is a sadder place without them though:(
Rgds Dr.I.

12th Apr 2003, 05:17
I've never seen Vulcan fly, but can imagine it must be a breath taking sight. I would rather see that fly than Concorde, however I think the later will be a bigger blow to the general public when it's finally grounded.

12th Apr 2003, 06:06
I agree with Dr I, it has to be both...!

However, I don't agree with the comments on 'C' being boring and 'V' being spectacular when displayed. We've only seen 'C' in it's passenger role, and display manoeuvres are not a good thing to keep paying pax in the back. On the other hand, when 'V' was in service, it's general flying was much like 'C's is now, exceptionally boring.

Soooooooooooo, what I would like to see is a lightweight 'C' putting on a graceful display at a future airshow, in the same way that 'V' used to put on hooligan demo's before she was grounded.

Pie in the sky...? I suppose so, but I can dream.


Shaggy Sheep Driver
12th Apr 2003, 07:34
I've never seen Vulcan fly, but can imagine it must be a breath taking sight.


We had the Vulcan attend our Barton airshows back in the days we held such events. It didn't touch down, of course. The ground literally shook, as did ones rib cage, with the mighty thunder of it. The beast would climb very steeply to about 1500 feet, then execute a wing over.

It positioned into Manchester for an overnight stay while the crew were ferried back to Barton for the post-show festivities. I remember talking to one of the back seaters about being in there during the show - "...near the top of those steep climbs you can feel the airframe start to buffet before the wing-over". Rather him than me.

He told me they were due out of Manch at 10:00 next morning, so I took no. 1 daughter (then about 5 years old) down to the 06 end of 24, by the old brickworks (now under 24L/06R). We heard the Vulcan (directly, and on the RT) taxying out but couldn't see it due the famous Manchester 'hump' in the runway. He had to use Tower frequency rather than Ground since he only had a 360 channel radio.

Cleared for take off, a vast cloud of smoke rose into the air beyond the hump, shortly followed by that Olympus roar and the unique and eerie howl (blood curdling - I've never heard anything like it from any other aeroplane) of a Vulcan accelerating hard. Then it appeared over the hump, going fast with 4 plumes of exhaust, it rotated *very* nose-high exposing that magnificent massive planform, and rose into the air like some almighty bat, going up at
an angle of about 70 degrees. The sound and vibration were stupendous. We stood spellbound, blattered by this incredible show of power, as the Vulcan reached his wing-over point almost directly above us.

On her wall to this day, amid all the horsy and other girly pictures and posters, No. 1 daughter still has a small photo of a Vulcan in planform.

It must have made some sort of an impression ;~)


13th Apr 2003, 06:00
SSD - Beautifully put. I saw XH558 at her final display at Cranfield in 93 (?), and I still get shivers up and down my spine thinking about it. I dearly wish my young son could see the beast fly...

But as for Concorde not being agile.. I got back in to LHR one evening last week, and while retrieving my car from Parking Express, she climbed out overhead from a 09L departure; burners plugged in, banking hard right and climbing away beautifully in the twilight. Granted she's not as agile as the Vulcan, but there's something about Concorde which makes her absolutely unique and very special. I just can't put it into words.

Prof Denzil Dexter
13th Apr 2003, 19:20
I remember my first sight of a Concorde, just after it's first flight. It came right over my house, and the whole road came out to watch. I still reckon it is one of the most beautiful aircraft still flying, bar none. Not bad for an old girl of nearly 35!

How about a final farewell flypast over London of ALL BA Concordes in formation. Surely BA could afford to do it. (Not sure if the pilots could hand fly them for longer than 10 mins though...Might spill their coffee.) Then give them all to museums for free!

14th Apr 2003, 18:14
When I were a lad I was sitting on the beach at Bridlington when everybody looked up as this Vulcan passed overhead at rooftop height, possibly coming down a little now it had cleared the buildings. It was so unbelievably low I could read the smaller stencilling under the wings.
It roared out to sea just feet over the waves. Everyone within earshot was saying how amazing that had been.

That was probably the most impressive thing I've ever seen, and I would love to see one of those fly by again.

That said. It would be a shame not to keep a few Concordes in flying condition, to drag out on special occasions. The most beautiful plane in the known sky.

15th Apr 2003, 04:57
SSD - An excellent and vibrant description. My sister (now 51) formed a long term relationship with the Vulcan when about the age of your daughter!

I saw Vulcan do the Bournemouth Air Show in 1989 (or 90) and that howling cacophony would have been enough to flatten any opposition! A bit like the Scots with their bag pipes ensuring that the enemy is weak at the knees before they even get close. If Vulc had done a couple of low passes, with that big climb out, over Saddam's head - then we could have saved a lot of trouble. :p

In a thread here last year, I recall a former crew member talking about how they could start all four engines at the same time and that, from first button press to taxi was a blinding two mins of something (I sit to be corrected on that one!)

I saw Conc for the first time when she came out to JNB for Hot and High tests in 1971(?) and now ... I have my ticket booked for 8th August. :ok:

Prof DD ... you must feel very safe up there in the islands, when saying things like that about Caps and their coffee? :uhoh:

surely not
15th Apr 2003, 06:03
What a tough choice. I have many happy memories of the RAF Vulcan displays and the sheer noise and excitement it generated, but I've voted for the Concorde because if one is kept flying it might just be licenced to carry passengers and I just might get to fly in one.

One scared the living daylights out of me just after the Kegworth disaster when I was driving past LHR on a wet and foggy evening. I could hear this tremendous noise approaching and thought 'Oh no, not another plane in trouble' as it went over the top of the car. Then I saw the four afterburners lighting up the thick night sky, no sight of the aircraft just the four plumes of flame. A truly marvellous sight that has stayed with me ever since.

They should be given free to museums because they were given virtually free to BA, and the taxpayers should be able to see what they bought and loaned to BA for a few lucky people to pay to travel on.

15th Apr 2003, 06:04
No question, the Vulcan

15th Apr 2003, 06:24
I went to the Newark Air Museum yesterday and paid 50p to go and sit in the cockpit and indulge in fantasy for a few minutes. I felt like I was 8 years old again. And it had that smell...I would love to see one of these beasts fly again.

Edit: forgot to mention I was talking about the Vulcan! Well, I knew what i was talking about anyway...

17th Apr 2003, 04:53

Brilliant description. It was just that sort of experience at a similar age to your little girl that made me want to be a pilot and I've never considered anything else.

As for Concorde not being agile, well I wish I could remember where I read it, but in her early days during testing apparently she was aileron rolled first one way and then the other (to unwind what they had just done). Now that would be an impressive airshow trick! Roly Faulk allegedly did the same in the Vulcan just after take off at Farnborough in the 50's, but I've never seen a photo of the event as proof.

Forgot to mention that Airliner World has a pretty fab picture of 4 (yes 4!) BA Concords in close formation - nice! Anyone know if it is available as a poster?

17th Apr 2003, 05:30

I've also heard that Concorde was rolled both ways during development testing but I've no idea if it's true! Don't see why not, we all know about Tex Johnston and the 707 prototype!

But Roly Falk and the Vulcan at Farnborough - yes he did roll it, and I've seen some film of someone doing it there as well! Dunno if it was the original event, seem to recall it was camoflagued... but it happened. Raymond Baxter's book on Fanborough describes it...

My vote goes to keep the Vulcan flying - but that's purely as I see Concorde fairly frequently inbound EGLL, and would like to hear that ghostly Vulcan howl again. Actually, Starfighters used to make a similar noise didn't they? But then again, I'd like a go in Concorde!



Lu Zuckerman
17th Apr 2003, 08:22
From a pure dB level the people that lived near and or worked on the airfields where the Vulcan operated more than likely suffered hearing damage. This may also be true for neighbors of Heathrow or JFK when the Concorde took off.

I worked on the Atlas missile and the Saturn and the noise generated by their respective engines produced a sound that differed from the engine noise on the Vulcan and the Concorde. The noise generated by these two aircraft is intrusive and hard on the ears.

When I worked on the Airbus A-310 program I attended an engineering meeting and while we were taking a break a Vulcan took off from the Toulouse airfield and then he returned and made several circuits around the final check out building doing this at about 500 feet AGL. On several occasions I flew out of Heathrow and our 747 was first or second in line for take off after a Concorde. You could hear the engines and feel the associated vibration. The Concorde and the Vulcan have fantastic form but they are / were a health hazard.

Itís OK to say how impressive both aircraft are from a physical appearance and how impressive they are when they fly over you with their engines emitting smoke and noise but if you have to live and work in close proximity to them then it is another story. Working on aircraft and helicopters and then on missiles has destroyed my hearing and I have a constant ringing in my ears from that exposure to the generated noise.

I shall now duck for incoming.


17th Apr 2003, 16:22
Lu, the Vulcan was designed to be a health hazard, its a bomber.

astir 8
17th Apr 2003, 20:42
If we look at things realistically rather than nostalgically, which would stand more chance of being flown by a private organisation? (one with loads of money!)

Presumably a small outfit licensed for passenger carrying ("Concorde's R Us") with the right funding and technical expertise could buy an ex BA/Air France Concorde, use it for air shows, Mach 1 passenger carrying trips round Biscay and have the backing of the CAA.

Wheras I have a very nasty feeling that the Vulc is never going to get its permit to fly.

Any views?

17th Apr 2003, 21:50
Well, Sir Richard Branson was interviewed by John Humphries on Radio 4's Today Programme this morning and he is expressing great interest in acquiring Concordes from BA and maintaining the service... I checked my watch; it definitely isn't April 1st and I'm sure I didn't dream it... did I?

18th Apr 2003, 20:02
Found the bit of film - it is white (or silver), I have a faulty memory!

It's in an epsiode of Channel Four's "Classic Aircraft" about jets and includes an interview with Avro TP Jimmy Harrison who talks about the roll. I get the impression it was done more than once!

Also worth watching for some stuff on the F-111 and Neil Anderson.

Also found Raymond Baxter's book - if I get time later, I'll post his description of that occasion. Now, where did I read about the Concorde roll? It just might have been an article in Flying by Nigel Moll, who had a go in the Concorde simulator...

Lovely day today... I'm off out...

Shaggy Sheep Driver
19th Apr 2003, 01:59
I've got a vid called 'the Best of British Aviation' which shows old Farnborough airshows. There is footage of the Vulcan rolling, and Vulcan (and Victor) pulling up into a half-loop, with a roll off the top - a form of 'toss' bomb delivery, apparently.

Very impressive.


19th Apr 2003, 03:05
Strange that so many females find something irresistable about the Vulcan, I've known a few who normally didn't care about aircraft but would say 'Oh I like that one there' (e.g my mum) and female aviation fans go weak at the knees when it flew. Any idea what this mysterious appeal of the Vulcan is/was to women?

19th Apr 2003, 06:41
MJ: yes! BEagle, are you out there, what sayeth you on the subject? I'm pretty sure the Concorde bit was written rather than film, but as above, the old grey matter is a bit hazy...

SSD! Yer right! There's something in one of Lewis Benjamin's Tiger Club Books which I am sure mentions the then favoured "toss bombing" method of nuclear warhead delivery - I believe the TC also adopted it in the 60s as way of enlivening their flour bombing demonstrations with a T Moth! As I recall the idea was to get rid of the goodies and scarper in the opposite direction as quickly as possible which seems quite sensible to me.

Women and Vulcans? Dunno, but my sister is most certainly a Vulcan fan, and she is also particularly struck on the term "birfurcated". I'll leave you to ponder...

19th Apr 2003, 19:47
The piece about Concorde barrel-rolling was on the BBC series Reaching for the Sky and was told by BA's Chief Concorde Pilot, Mike Bannister who described how he was flying with, I believe Andre Turcat, who rolled the beast and then said to Mike, "I've wound it up, so you had better unwind it", whereupon Bannister barrel-rolled in the opposite direction. He went on to say "we don't do it with passengers of course" :yuk:

I always liked the comment by Tex Johnson who, after rolling the 707, was asked by Boeing's boss what the hell he thought he was doing and he replied "selling aeroplanes"

19th Apr 2003, 23:32
No contest. This has to be the winner.


Mr G.

20th Apr 2003, 02:57
The first time I saw the Vulcan was when they flew up the valley I lived in in Wales and they were below us. Fantastic sight.

The last time I saw a Vulcan fly was at West Malling when the XH558 was leading the Red Arrows in formation down the runway at not a lot of feet agl. I was standing in the B-17 Sally B looking out of the windscreen at this awesome sight. My girlfriend started screaming as she was standing in the bomb bay of the B-17 and thought they were starting the engines, the noisse and the vibration were so intense. An even more fantastic sight than the first.

Lu Z, aeroplanes are noisy, some are noisier than others. As I recall, the B-1B and the B-52 aren't exactly quiet ........ Equally awesome to see displayed though. I remember Mildenhall a while back where the B1B came down the runway at 100', barely subsonic and set off most of the car alarms in the car park. The B-52 gave a display like a giant cropsprayer with those 8 J-85's (?) throwing out half burnt Jet A1. Fantastic sight.

20th Apr 2003, 20:32
I recall a display at Fairford about 15 years ago, watching the B-52s do their stuff. Staggering is too small a word. There was the oft repeated line that, when fully laden at take-off, they just retract the undercart and wait for the curvature of the earth to take effect. Without a doubt, when you looked at the exhaust, their engines were running on coal.

At Mildenhall, saw Blackbird do a display which was way out cool. BUT Vulcan ... I preferred her in the anti-flash white, which is the photographs we used to have in my house when growing up.

She was the queen. The screaming, ranting, bellowing, dancing Queen. :p

21st Apr 2003, 04:25
Difficult choice - worked on the Concorde as a humble Avionic chap but only briefly.

Saw the Vulcan as it did it's test flights from Woodford when the in-flight fueling probes for the Falklands were fitted so the Vulcan wins.

21st Apr 2003, 15:33
Tales of Vulcans takes me back to a day in 1967 when I had a close encounter of the too-thrilling kind.

I was instructing an ATC cadet in a T-21 glider at Spitalgate, near Grantham. We had thermalled up to 3000ft and noticed a Vulcan about 5 miles away turning to line up with his approach to Cottesmore, 20+miles to the south. Later it appeared again following the same flight path (afterwards we learned that the pilot was practising GCA approaches). On the third appearance it didnít turn away and headed almost directly towards us, just 100ft below. Evasive manoeuvres in a Barge (92 kts max and thatís straight down) are no match for a Vulcan so I kept the little height advantage we had and showed him our maximium planform in a steep turn, hoping that he was looking out.

He was and turned away smartly, passing about 300 yds away. We certainly heard that Vulcan noise and smelt the smoky paraffin - or maybe thatís what fear smells like.

23rd Apr 2003, 16:40
Definately VULCAN.

Spent many happy years servicing these beasts at Bitteswell. Even after a 'major', the crew would wind them up at the end of the runway, let the brakes go and stand them on their arses as they climbed vertically into the sky. The ground under your feet would vibrate like nothing on earth, forget Concorde;doesn't even compare.

I wouldn't have thought there would be much of a fatigue index left on any of the Vulcans currently kicking around. After changing the role from a high level bomber to a 200 feet bomber the strains on the aircraft were immense.

However, all that said, I'd really love to see one fly again.

24th Apr 2003, 03:45
My dear wife knows how I feel about silly old lumps of aloominium, that leave the place where her feet are always planted, so she gave me a very special birthday treat of a flight in Concord out of EGCC, well, I thought, sat in the very rearmost seat/window on the port side would be a simple flight in a very expensive and noisy A/c, after the Captn read out the mind numbing facts and figures of everything from tyres temps to air flow speed through the engine baffles we settled down to take off, when the engines were first spooled up they sounded like a bag of nuts and bolts being ground to dust but with the onsett of temp they went quiet and business like, most of the Pax were (surprise, surprise) males with about 6 Femmes in the total of 100 Pax, all the birthday people were given their own special bottle of Champers and we were off down the runway at EGCC, the A/c left the ground very quickly and climbed so fast that grimey old Manchester took about 2 minutes to disappear behind us, the acceleration upon t/o could only be decribed as totally mind blowing, it was very difficult to reach out forward with my hands to touch the seat back in front of me, we went so high I seem to think about 65k ft that the sky above us was a deep sapphire blue almost black, after suitable instruction from the pointed end I could see the curveture of the planet that we live on.
I could write for ages explaining various things about this superb aircraft but I am sure my views and memorys would bore many, so I will say only this, I hope before I die to be able to fly in such an aircraft again, just to show me what mankind can do when they put their minds to the task, even with the help of the Froggies, sadly Concord will stop flying, its a cost thing actioned on by the Oz boss of BA, but I would rather see finance pumped into the Avro Vulcan, Now that is a Aircraft to behold, and hear!! :ok:

26th Apr 2003, 06:24
I wipe the tears from my eyes as I write this :{ ... I too remember the Vulcan in her heyday (I have photos to prove it). I also remember the Victor and Valliant. I would dearly love to see all three in a flypast.

Not to mention the English Electric Lightning... now that is a sight to see... and the Blackburn Buccaneer!! But along with the Avro Shackleton, I fear, in the famed words of Ernest Kellogg Gann "their wings are clipped forever"

I don't want to climb on my soap box (because it's a long way down when I fall off) but the reason these aircraft will not fly again is, I feel, due to the powers that be not wanting to take responsibility should anything go wrong. I find it bizarre that people with so little interest in aviation should elevate themselves to the position where they can make these decisions. The old saying springs to mind "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen" or more importantly, don't be a cook!! If they don't want to take responsibility for aviation safety matters, find a different job. Why is common sense so rare? Surely it would be more appropriate to call it "rare sense"

Interestingly though, if you want to see the Lightnings and Buccaneers fly, go to Thunder City in South Africa. For a price you can have a flight in them! And I believe there are two groups in the United States that are trying to get Lightnings flying again. So is flying in the UK any more dangerous than elsewhere in the world?

There was a rumour of XH558 going abroad to fly again, what an ambivalent day that will be.

Safe flying


p.s. anyone going to Bruntingthorpe on 4th May for the open day?

28th Apr 2003, 19:42
Interesting programme on Discovery Wings last night (Sunday) called 'Cold War Jets of the RAF'. Good contemporary film of JPs, Gnats, Lightnings, Buccaneers, Canberras, Vulcans, Victors and Valiants. The best shot was three Vulcans with their gear down following each other round the circuit. Top stuff!

29th Apr 2003, 02:45
Definately a 'rock and a hard place' question, but I would go for the Vulcan. In a time when we were designing machines that could end the world, it seemed just the job.

You want it when?
29th Apr 2003, 17:31
Vulcan by a long way.

The sheer noise from the engines and the way they would appear to float as they came into land. Also when flying from Waddington they would blot out the teachers for a couple of minutes most days :D

Sorry about your ears LuZ but surely your were provided protection?

I always found the sound of night engine tests very comforting - drives Mrs YWIW mad that I can sleep through all sorts of traffic noise.

30th Apr 2003, 08:45
I fear neither will fly again/for long. There are just not enough people with enough spare dosh. When the choice is 1/2 hour for a Vulcan or 800 flying scholarships............

By the way the bombing technique was called 'Stand off" bombing and was seriously advanced for a while but was probably one of those blind alleys that technology goes down all too frequently.

You want it when?
30th Apr 2003, 16:08
YWIW senior always said he preffered the nuke to iron bombs when he flew Vulcans. His raionale was that he did not need to be quite so exact where he left it.

5th Jun 2003, 09:48
I can see it in my minds eye as clearly as if it were yesterday.

It was Perth Western Australia

Commonwealth Games. circa 1962 ??

I had just got off the bus from school as a Vulcan that had flown down for the event was doing a practise run over the Games stadium which was down the road.

Slowish approach then Max power and almost straight up.

Yup that planform again.


Went to Pearce that weekend to have a look at it, 'twas quite a sight for a colonial oik. :D.

Random Electron
6th Jun 2003, 20:35
Shaggy Sheep.

Well put.

You have a way with words.

Max AirFactor
11th Jun 2003, 23:54
I remember as an ATC cadet going aboard Concord at Filton (a few seats and racks of test equipment) and then later that day being overhead in a Chipmunk with the bird taking off below. Fantastic day. But the Vulcan is number one scorcher. There at Biggin the day the Vulcan melted the tarmac and delayed proceedings. Was this the last time it visited Biggin - anyone know the year?

12th Jun 2003, 02:01
Well, much as I enjoyed flying the Vulcan, there is nothing which can compare with the majesty of Concorde.

Incidentally, to get a Vulcan to make that wonderful 'rutting dinosaur' howl, you had to use more power than the SOPs called for. Full power applied early in a roller landing and that intake resonance howl would start - and everyone would stop and look up. You could only do it properly in a 200 series engined ac as the fun detectors had emasculated the 300s. Until the Malvinas war, that is, when the 300s were de-limited and truly shook the Earth with full power selected!

We once did a pretty spirited full power overshoot at Yeovilton and ATC reported an 'unusual noise' from the aircraft. "Did it sound like a rutting dinosaur?" asked the captain. "Something like that" said the matelot on the radio. "That's OK then - it always does that", he replied!

12th Jun 2003, 02:57

How very generous of you, as an ex Tin Triangle driver, to cast your vote for Concorde.

Oddly enough, I've just voted for the mighty Vulcan!

I'd be more than happy if either of them managed to fly next year, but given the general level of aviation interest, knowledge and enthusiasm exhibited by most of those in charge of aviation in this country (with a few honourable exceptions) I don't hold out much hope!

Best regards