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Vulcan XH 558 Threads (merged)

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Vulcan XH 558 Threads (merged)

Old 6th Nov 2005, 19:29
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Vulcan Back To The Skies?

All the chatter about MRA4's ad JSF's...........

.......Whats the current state of XH558?

Is she going to fly?

When's she going to fly?
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Old 6th Nov 2005, 19:46
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Undergoing a major service - commenced Aug 2005. It's going better than anticipated.

Yes. Aircrew have started training, including systems refresher training using XM655.

Target for XH558's first test flight is 2006, displaying in 2007.

For more information, see http://www.tvoc.co.uk/index2.php

Last edited by BEagle; 6th Nov 2005 at 20:00.
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Old 6th Nov 2005, 19:51
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message null and void
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Old 6th Nov 2005, 20:02
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And what is that supposed to mean?
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Old 6th Nov 2005, 22:59
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Beagle,

Taken from their latest Newsletter;

“we have to recognise that expected sponsorship has not been forthcoming and once again the project has hit the wall”

A projected £350,000 shortfall? Technicians who have given up their jobs to come and work on 558 relying on raising this money……………”can we let them down?”

Is the project REALLY going “better than anticipated” ???
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Old 6th Nov 2005, 23:26
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Must admit this project seems to be a bit of a white elephant...

The first flight date was due to be Sept 2005 and displays expected to start at the beginning of the 2006 season but now its put back..... again!!

I'm not so sure it will ever get airborne...

If it doesn't, it will be a shame. There are lots of us who have raised money in one way or another for this project. I would love to see it fly again but I for one won't be holding my breath.....
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 01:02
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I said it before and I'll repeat it here. We'd put one up in the air for one six hour sortie and it'd take us another three days to get it ready to go again. That's in the days when the equipment was still in production and we were fully supported by the "VOG" system that guaranteed us a replacement part within 24 hours.

Many of the manufacturers have since gone out of business and even those who remain no longer make the original parts. Does anyone happen to have a collection of ancient Post Office relays in the attic to keep that infernal automatic refuelling system going? How about a "FireTec" control unit or two? Some fuel tank units? - every tank had their own dedicated Sec/Ref number. Then there were those dreadfully unreliable amplifiers for the fuel quantity indication system. No doubt she could be navigated by map and pencil aided by a hand held GPS in emergency, so the clockwork GPI and Green Satin don't need to be too reliable. There's probably a few replacement parts for the Smith's MFS lying around in museums somewhere and I know the aircraft can be refuelled manually - we used to do it all the time - but will the UKCAA certify it for a Permit to Fly without having every airworthiness related system system fully serviceable? I don't think so - and I'm only considering the E & I bits that I knew so well. The engines and airframe spares will be just as hard to come by. Admittedly, most of the obsolete equipment could be replaced by modern equivalents, but that requires expensive and hard to certify modifications and in some cases, even the dreaded "Supplementary Type Certificate".

I really do admire the dedication and hard work of those who are working on the Vulcan to the Skies project, but whatever many folks may think, getting 558 back in the air is the easy bit. The really expensive and difficult part of project will be keeping it there.
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 06:20
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Do read the VOC newsletter a bit more carefully.

This isn't a band of enthusiastic amateurs doing a back garden shed job, it is a restoration project backed by Marshall Aerospace who are the effective authority for the aircraft. It is a nut and bolt restoration and it is estimated that the major service will require 15% less work than originally anticipated due to the excellent state of the aircraft.

Yes, there was a delay of about 12 months in getting the approvals needed for the major service. Much of the original funding had to be spent bringing the hangar at Bruntingthorpe up to current Health and Safety standards to allow maintenance to be carried out.

The sponsorship shortfall is being addressed; many who believe in the project will be again be putting their hands in their pockets. What does not help is ill-informed clatrap from knockers.

And no, most of those unreliable old avionics won't be needed! Doppler/GPI and all the NBS panel won't be needed as the aircraft will be fitted with twin GPS instead - remember it'll be subject to Permit restrictions. I don't know whether the HRS will be restored or whether 558 will merely use MFS for the flight instruments.

Last edited by BEagle; 7th Nov 2005 at 08:25.
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 07:18
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I don't know whether the HRS will be restored or whether 558 will use MFS for the flight instruments.
If they're not, the aircraft will need to be modified from its original configuration. Anything as radical as a new attitude reference or fuel quantity indicating system would require a major modification from an approved design organization. Capable as they are, is that kind of modification within the scope of Marshalls' design approval? British Aerospace would certainly be OK, but I doubt if they are willing or able to commit such a high level of resources to the project.

My point was, the availability of (often small and seemingly insignificant) spare parts is the critical factor that will determine the cost of getting and keeping the aircraft airworthy. Original Equipment Manufacturers' (OEM) goodwill is one thing but they are not charities and must consider their shareholders views.

My own experience of civilian maintenance and airworthiness matters leads me to believe that this project is ill-fated. The UKCAA are one thing, but EASA looms larger on the horizon and it is EASA's rules that will apply by the time 558's overhaul is completed. So far, EASA have shown an entirely different view to the UKCAA's regarding aircraft preservation and "Permit to Fly" operations. Meanwhile the future of 'Sally B' remains under threat due to new EU insurance regulations based on aircraft weight. Vulcans, of course, weigh very much more than B17s.

I'd much rather see at least one Vulcan properly preserved in good condition for posterity, than have the owners go broke and leave the aircraft to rot. It isn't the start-up costs that put the majority of new small businesses out of business, its under-estimating operating costs and over-estimating revenue.

Nevertheless, as an old Vulcan mender, I really do hope that I'm proved wrong.

Last edited by Blacksheep; 7th Nov 2005 at 07:28.
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 07:19
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Are you personally involved BEags? I.E. Aircrew for the beast?
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 07:31
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My involvement at this stage has been as one of those who have made a financial contribution, although I have assisted to a very small extent in other areas.....

And I meant 'whether HRS will be restored or whether 558 will merely use MFS for the flight instruments'. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Last edited by BEagle; 7th Nov 2005 at 08:28.
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 08:11
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It's all going to be OK. Marshall Aerospace are involved!
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 10:20
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BEagle,
You know that I have the utmost respect for you, but are you absolutely 100% confident that you are right about this.

I too would love to see the old girl fly, and like you have a vested interest in her, but I am concerned that yet again, we are hearing of yet another ££££shortfall. Why is that?

It wasn't that long ago when a very prominant person within the organisation told me personally that 'money is NOT a problem' indeed, he told me that they had enough money ALREADY to complete the project and keep some in the kitty for future use.

Now, alas, we are hearing the same story that we have heard for years, and that is a lack of money.

It seems there is always some other excuse for needing the cash, and the latest, as you say, was to bring the hangar up to current H & S standards. Did those at the top of this project not forsee that little problem? It's not like H & S isn't in our face every minute of the day is it (I know 'cos I'm currently re-writing ours!)

I still wish it the very best of luck, but I regret that even the hardened supporters like myself are almost ready to call it a day, and stop throwing good money after bad. As for Marshall Aerospace being the authority, then I reserve judgement on that!

Kind regards as always
TSM
ps Caruthers sends his best to you!
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 11:24
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Greetings to you, TSM - and Scrotum sends his to Caruthers!

Regarding the current shortfall, this is what the Trustees say:

"We really want to keep things moving to our
target of first test flight in 2006. However, the
VTST Trustees have to be prudent and thought
it wise to tell you that £350,000 is now a
projected shortfall and it is vital to the
programme that this money is available in the
short term.

There are two major reasons that this amount is
still required, one is because there was a figure
in the budget for sponsorship, which we were
assured by professional sponsorship advisors,
would be forthcoming. This has not materialised
and has created the shortfall.

The second is that the time lapse between the
award of the grant and the commencement of
work on aircraft has been almost a year due to
an unavoidable contractual delay period during
which time a skeleton staff and the aircraft had
to be maintained. No excuses, these and a
number of other reasons, too numerous to list,
have been contributory. Even in hindsight
nothing could have been done any differently
but what needs to be addressed is the now!

Believe me letters are out everywhere and hope
continues that someone will jump in and help –
and, yes, Sir Richard Branson has been asked!
Why now when they haven’t before one has to
ask but equally, we all have to hope, too.

We, that is you, and the Heritage Lottery Fund
(and that’s kind of you too isn’t it!) and VTST
have got this far. Do you think we can do it for
one more step? It would mean asking you to
send at least £20 and we would need the
majority of you to respond to meet the target!
Obviously, if you cannot manage £20 any
donation will be gratefully received at this time.

It’s easy to hear you thinking, bottomless pit,
and to some extent you are right, good money
after bad you may be saying. But this is the last
gasp, bar the actual display programme in
2007, and we must assume that there will be
support for that. So we do need to keep going
to first test flight and, together, realise our goal."


Well, I'm stil very supportive and have today sent off another donation. Incidentally, they are also raffling a free return trip for 2 to Thunder City, Seth Efrika( plus hotel) for a flight for one in Mike Beachyhead's T-bird Lightning. Only £1 per ticket for the only chance many will ever be likely to have for a Lightning flight! Perhaps even WIWOLs will end up supporting 558!

It would be a tragedy if the aircraft never made it back into the sky.
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 12:22
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Well done Beags for sticking up with the project and stopping the doom and gloom merchants having a field day.
I came back to work today after a week off and mentioned what the raffle prize was this time.Will definitely have to order more tickets.
For all you amateur soothsayers out there instead of mocking why don't you reflect and have a bit of pride in the work that's being done.If a few more of you stopped mocking and put your hands in those big deep 22 + year pensions you've got instead of castigating like witches around a cauldron 558 would stand a chance.I certainly will be forgoing a couple of Fridays down at the pub to maximise another contribution.
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 12:44
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Hear, hear lasernigel.

A nicely worded post which echoes my thoughts entirely.
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 16:34
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BEags,

Haven't yet donated - but the raffle sounds fantastic. Where can one get tickets?

Tim
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 16:40
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As someone else who puts hand to pocket for the project, I keep on readIng posts with such wonderful epithets as "do you remember this?" and "it was all a lot better when we had that". Now is the time to have some practical nostalgia.

Blacksheep, I remember reading many moons ago before the VTS project had really got under way, that a goodly quantity of spares had been obtained via MoD disposals. Don't forget, this is one aircraft with limited projected display flights, not one of a squadron or wing which must generate sortie after sortie, day in, day out (or until the fuel budget is exhausted )

Personally, and I say this in context of our modern 'stripped-to-the-bone-and-then-some' budget constraints, I find it a damn shame that the BBMF didn't keep one of the lovely old V-Force birds.

Oooo! Drop yer knickers and show us yer ECM bins....

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Old 7th Nov 2005, 17:10
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tmmorris - see http://www.tvoc.co.uk/raffle.php
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Old 7th Nov 2005, 17:45
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It's a shame that fellow Brunty based group LPG couldn't have had this prize as a raffle to help with the raising of a measly £20k, (in comparison to the Vulcan funds), that they need to raise to complete the re-erection of the old Wattisham QRA shed at Bruntingthorpe to get their 2 x working Lightnings under much needed cover.

QRA shed progress
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