Vulcan is grounded for rest of year

Vulcan XH558
Vulcan XH558

Doncaster’s legendary Vulcan bomber has been grounded for the rest of the year - because of a leaking fuel tank.

The iconic aircraft, which is based at Robin Hood Airport at Finingley, will now be consigned to its hangar for the rest of the year, missing out on its final air show dates of the 2013 flying season because of the fault.

XH558, the world’s only remaining flying Vulcan, was first grounded on September 1 ahead of appearances at Shoreham and Bournemouth after the fault was discovered.

Now a spokesman for the Vulcan To The Sky Trust, which helps maintain the plane, has admitted that the repairs needed will rule out the aircraft from completing the 2013 season including dates in Southport and Dublin this weekend.

In a statement, VTTS said: “Given that more than one leak and other signs of deterioration were found, and that the tank is itself over 30 years old, we have concluded that, if repaired, the tank would remain vulnerable to further leaks.

“We have therefore decided that repair of the tank would not prove economical and, if reinstalled on the aircraft, could prove to be unreliable.

“There is no airworthy spare available; we have accordingly commissioned a new tank to be manufactured immediately.”

“With an estimated 16 week lead time for manufacture, we are very sorry to announce that it will not be possible to return the aircraft to flight again in 2013. XH558 has therefore sadly made her last public appearance this year.”

The plane, which was built in 1960, has completed more than 20 displays this year and there are hopes the aircraft will be able to fly until 2015 if enough cash can be found.

The spokesman added: “We now wish to concentrate on ensuring we are able to secure sufficient funding to return XH558 to the air for another two seasons.”