Crowds of aviation enthusiasts turned out in force across the country as the world’s last remaining flying Vulcan bomber bowed out with its final flight of the season.
XH558 roared into the skies above Robin Hood Airport for a flypast finale which took the iconic aircraft on a two hour tour of ten current and former RAF bases to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the end of the Cold War.
Along the length and breadth of the route, fans of all ages turned out with cameras as the plane, permanently based in Doncaster and affectionately dubbed the ‘tin triangle’ performed her final flight of 2014.
Taking off from the former RAF Finningley, the aircraft, piloted by Kev Rumens, delighted aviation lovers as she flew over a host of northern and Midlands RAF bases including Waddington, Scampton and Gaydon.
Toni Hunter of the Vulcan To The Sky Trust, which needs £2 million a year in public donations to keep the plane airborne, said: “This is the culmination of our season and a commemoration of the end of the Cold War with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“We are hoping that by bringing the Cold War era back into focus, we are throwing light on a period of history that is still shrouded in mystery. A lot of people don’t realise that the Vulcan was Britain’s nuclear deterrent and playing a massively vital role during those times.”
During her RAF career, XH558, which will face her final curtain next year at the end of a flying career stretching back over sixty years, was on constant alert, ready to be scrambled at a second’s notice in the event of Soviet nuclear missile strikes on the UK.
Nowadays, she has become a tourist attraction at Robin Hood with people from across the country turning out to catch a glimpse of her on her tour of airshows and flypasts.
Cliff Moore, who had driven from Rotherham to see the swansong, said: “Every time I see her I get that tingle down the spine. She is amazing and a fine example of British engineering.”
She will now go into hibernation for an annual overhaul before returning to the skies for what it is expected to be her final season next summer.