XH558 moves into storage
Feb 1, 2017 by Ian Homer. Posted to category: General
PRESS RELEASE - ISSUED 3pm WEDNESDAY 1st FEBRUARY
Today, Vulcan XH558 was towed into temporary storage
as the charity prepares to rebuild for an exciting future with plans for a
new visitor centre and Cold War Jets engineering facility
Great Britain’s most popular aircraft leaves her Cold War hangar home for the last time
Plans for a new visitor and Heritage Jets centre progressing rapidly
Today, Britain’s most popular aircraft, Vulcan XH558, was towed out of her hangar home for the last time. She is to be kept in a secure storage facility at Doncaster Sheffield Airport while Vulcan to the Sky Trust develops a combined visitor centre and centre of excellence for restoring and flying Heritage Jets, in a bespoke building at Doncaster Sheffield Airport where she is based.
Vulcan XH558 landed at the Yorkshire airfield (then RAF Finningley) for the first time in 1961, becoming one of the first Vulcan B.2 aircraft to be assigned to the new strategy of Quick Reaction Alert for Britain’s nuclear deterrent. During this time of knife-edge tension, XH558 was often housed in the hangar she returned to as the world’s last flying Vulcan in 2011.
Today, 15 months after her final flight, XH558 was towed carefully to a storage facility on the same site. The reasons for the move and its implications and the need for urgent funding are described here: (http://www.vulcantothesky.org/news/853/82/XH558-s-Survival-Plan.html .
New Visitor Centre
“Since taking the painful decision to dramatically cut our expenditure, we have made good progress in developing a plan to deliver our vision in a new, purpose-built facility,” explains Vulcan to the Sky Trust chief executive, Dr. Robert Pleming. “This will provide a visitor centre around our aircraft, engineering facilities that will allow XH558 to taxi for her supporters, and educational facilities to inspire new generations with a passion for engineering and aviation. It will be an open facility, with aircraft being maintained and our record-breaking Canberra, WK163, being restored while visitors tour with expert guides.”
Steve Gill, chief executive at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, who is backing the Trust’s plans said: “Having the Vulcan based here is a big part of our history and we want to see it remain here long into the future. We continue to work closely with the Trust on plans for a new space to hold the Vulcan which will allow visitors and a possible site has been identified. We remain committed to working with the Trust to realise this next stage of the Vulcan’s home at our airport.”
Robert Pleming recognises the importance of the support offered by Gill and his colleagues. “Our vision includes helping to keep important heritage jets flying in a world where they will inevitably require ever more rigorous maintenance, operational expertise and of course, runways that are in first class condition and meticulously cleared of debris that could damage irreplaceable engines,” he points out. “Having the support of Doncaster Sheffield Airport gives us confidence that we have a home where all of this is possible into the future and where other heritage jets will be happy to visit to be enjoyed by XH558’s supporters.”
The longer term goal is to establish a centre of excellence for the restoration, maintenance and operation of British Jet-Age aircraft, integrated with a new type of engineering inspiration centre to be called ETNA. The current plan provides an interim home and ensures a return to visitor access as quickly as possible. More details on this longer term vision are provided in the previous release, here: http://www.vulcantothesky.org/news/853/82/XH558-s-Survival-Plan.html .
Philanthropists offer to match public donations
To hibernate the existing operations, re-home the vital specialist tools, displays, period artefacts and other key assets, and secure Vulcan XH558 and Canberra WK163 in the new storage location, is expected to cost around £200,000 more than the Trust can afford, given the cessation of the significant income from tours and events. This is a one-off expense that will allow restructuring to a much smaller, more sustainable organisation with the opportunity to build the new visitor centre and engineering facilities.
Half of this has been promised as matched-funding by a group of philanthropists who believe passionately in the work of Vulcan to the Sky Trust, so every pound donated will effectively be doubled. “This is a very generous offer,” says Robert Pleming. “The Trust needs these funds urgently to survive. I encourage everyone who shares this vision to please do whatever they can to help today.”
To donate and have your funding doubled, please visit www.vulcantothesky.org/xh558-s-survival.html
The Trust is also holding a raffle with fabulous prizes that include a flight in a Spitfire, a taxi in Lancaster Just Jane and a dramatic flight with an aerobatics team. To find out more about the prizes, visit www.vulcantothesky.org where you can also find out more about the Trust and its aircraft.
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