Vulcan takes off for summer

Vulcan pilot Kev Rumens
Vulcan pilot Kev Rumens

The world’s only remaining flying Vulcan bomber has made an impressive return to the skies after a £1 million winter overhaul.

The iconic Cold War aircraft roared into action once more as it took off from Doncaster’s Robin Hood Airport to kickstart its latest summer season of air shows and flypasts.

And hundreds of aviation enthusiasts who had gathered to catch a glimpse of XH558 on Sunday were provided with a rare treat by pilot Kev Rumens – who used the first take-off of the season to showcase some new skills.

He said: “We decided to do what’s called a display take-off, rather than a traditional style take off.

“It’s quite impressive to watch and it’s something we might incorporate into routines this summer.”

The 54-year-old aircraft, which served in the RAF before being returned to flight by owners and restorers the Vulcan To The Sky Trust in 2008, is rapidly approaching the end of its time in the skies and was given the green light to fly on this summer after a major modification over the winter.

VTTS spokesman Toni Hunter said: “We have been very grateful to people over the finances they’ve raised to help us keep flying.

“We have to be very careful on what we do because of the amount of fatigue and stresses on the airframe. Safety is always paramount.”

Before the Vulcan roared into the skies once more, crews have also carried out a string of other minor repairs, checks and inspections on the ageing bomber – and have also replaced two of its four engines – ensuring the famous ‘howl’ will be heard across the country once more again this summer.

Pilot Kev, who flew Sunday’s first sortie to displays in Welshpool and RAF Cosford said: “We are aware it is the only flying Vulcan in the world so we have to be careful and look after her.

“Her appeal stems from the fact that she’s big and noisy and we can fly close to the crowds.

“People love that!”

The Vulcan To The Sky Trust also organises a ‘Tarmac Tour’ where guests can see the XH558 up close and speak to the team behind maintaining her.

Call 0845 1247285 for details.