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2013 will see Vulcan's final flight
ONE of the most popular visitors to the Bournemouth Air Festival is likely to be making its final appearance next year.
The huge Vulcan bomber will almost certainly be grounded at the end of the 2013 display season.
The charity that operates the iconic plane, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, has told supporters that a combination of technical challenges makes flying beyond 2013 “almost impossible.”
The Vulcan has been a massive crowd puller at the Bournemouth shows.
The all-British jet XH 557 which hails from the Cold War period and was part of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, was restored in 2007.
Engineering director, Andrew Edmondson, explained that the wings now needed an expensive modification and the engines were also reaching the end of their life.
He said: “There are no more airworthy engines available and refurbishment would be so difficult and costly that there is no possibility that it will happen.”
There are other technical issues too and Trust chief executive Dr Robert Pleming said: “It’s with great sadness that we have told supporters that we are planning for next year to be the last.”
He added: “I would like to thank everyone who will by the end of next year, have contributed to six years of fantastic flying.”
If 2013 is final year, Bournemouth is likely to be one of the very last displays.
Highcliffe resident, Maurice Patterson, flew the Vulcan for the Royal Air Force as a flight lieutenant and squadron leader in the late 1960s and 1970s with 9 Squadron and later 44 Squadron at RAF Cottesmore, Waddington and Cyprus.
He told the Echo: “She is an amazing aircraft, but very complex and sophisticated.
“She takes a lot of looking after and that means a lot of money.”
Mr Patterson, who left the RAF as a wing commander, added: “The Vulcan Trust has done a wonderful job in begging and borrowing money to keep her in the air these past few years.
“Let’s hope they can keep going. It would be very sad to see her go.”