Southend Vulcan bomber attracts hundreds of plane enthusiasts

August 29th, 2014 | by James
Southend Vulcan bomber attracts hundreds of plane enthusiasts

Families and individuals from near and far travelled to visit the magnificent Vulcan bomber aircraft XL426 at Southend Airport last Sunday.

With over 500 people attending the open day, the charity that looks after the Vulcan gained donations to continue keeping the aircraft in tip top condition.

Vulcan open dayCockpit tours sold out very quickly on the day, generating further fundraising for the Vulcan Restoration Trust. Children as young as 3, with their parents, were helped up the ladder to the cockpit to hear the fascinating details of the Vulcan’s flying life, along with the ‘not so young’ who paid nostalgic visits to their old ‘office’ inside the cockpit.

Among the visitors was 85-year old Flight Sergeant Allan West, who used to be in charge of Vulcan servicing, and Southend’s XL426 Vulcan was the first Vulcan he had worked on.

Travelling from his home in Sittingbourne with his family he said that he had proudly worked on the Vulcan in 1960 before moving to work with the famous 617 Squadron known as the Dambusters.

Other visitors included Tom & Laura Sellers with their children Jake and Ellie of Rayleigh who “just love the Vulcans” and they hope to visit again on the next open day.

The Avro Vulcan is a jet-powered delta wing strategic bomber, which was operated by the Royal Air Force from 1956 until 1984. The plane made its final flight from RAF Scampton to Southend Airport on December 19th, 1986, where it was formally struck-off from the RAF and bought by an individual.

The Vulcan Restoration Trust was later set up to preserve and protect the Avro Vulcan. The XL426 is maintained in full ground working condition and is capable of being taxied but is no longer airworthy.

The trust maintain it as part of Britain’s aviation heritage and as a tribute to the men and women who flew and maintained the Vulcan during the Cold War.

Cover photo by Phil Whalley.