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Messages - sickbag_andy

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Ways To Raise Funding / Re: Comments on the new hangar plans!
« on: October 28, 2017, 05:14:47 PM »
as the airport is probably the no.1 key player then yes it would have been logical to hold discussions AND a competent consultant should be fully aware of these sorts of issues, they must be pretty standard for airport works.

re the interference with radar signals, that should have been an obvious one to check. when I was resident engineer on the new Southend sewage works in the late 1990s we had to sent radio signals between the Southend site and Rochford sewage works which was close to the approach and the line of signals was almost parallel to it so that was the first thing I raised with the designer, he was an in house guy and a sewage treatment rather than aviation works expert and wasn't aware of potential issues but I suppose it was only my interest in aviation made me aware of it but in this instance it's on an airport site so really should be looking at potential hazards to the site owner. I am surprised if it wasn't discussed up front (and as the airport have raised it now it seems it wasn't).

Ways To Raise Funding / Re: Comments on the new hangar plans!
« on: October 28, 2017, 04:30:04 PM »
I did notice the comments on UKAR Clive.

I don't think any of these are show stoppers, it will probably end up with approval with the points raised listed as conditions to be met before construction commences, that is quite common. I has a similar situation a several years ago when I designed a golf course, it was passed on appeal but with various conditions placed on the approval all that had to be met to the satisfaction of the authority before construction could commence.

the bigger impact will more likely be on cost - all the investigation will cost money, some of it is specialist work so the provider is in an advantageous situation and any changes to the design are likely to push the cost up. What effect that will have on any sponsor for the construction I don't know but it may commit them to a higher budget than they expected. The cost of the investigations and reports etc may need to be borne by the Trust - bang goes some of the name plaque scheme monies earlier than expected!

Ways To Raise Funding / Re: Funding the new hangar - how?
« on: October 14, 2017, 07:38:52 AM »
Surely the money they have aquired thro the latest Names under the wing scheme will go towards the new Hangar??!!! ::) ::)

Wouldn't have thought so unless its for planning or lease costs. If the hangar is to be leased from an investor the would be no point in contributing to the construction costs

Ways To Raise Funding / Re: Funding the new hangar - how?
« on: September 25, 2017, 07:59:14 AM »
It reads like another 'Jam Tomorrow' spiel, or more specifically Jam in 2018 as long as you give us a barrowload of cash now.

As far as moving XH558 if this was a better option, is there a low loader out there with the capability of carrying the Vulcan whole?
(Bridges & flyovers aside!)

more like Jam in 2019 really when you look at the total timescale.

I don't think anything could move her whole - too heavy for the airlander and that's about all that could cope with the wingspan. That's why I feel we might have to resign ourselves to her being static only in the medium term if the hangar doesn't happen.

Ways To Raise Funding / Re: Funding the new hangar - how?
« on: September 23, 2017, 05:01:06 PM »
.........and even if they somehow get the money for the hangar where's the plan B if the funding for ETNA isn't forthcoming?

The initial hangar is comparatively easy as the investor has a usable asset at the end of it. ETNA will be purpose built so where's the commercial return even if they can build it?

Then of course if there is no sign of the funding for ETNA a year or three down the line the airport might offer the designated site to somebody else for commercial use and 558 will be put out to grass in the open, assuming of course there is still a space available somewhere by that time - that could be when the real crunch comes (not literally I hope!).

Ways To Raise Funding / Funding the new hangar - how?
« on: September 23, 2017, 08:48:38 AM »
2 extracts from this week's newsletter (

1: From Dr. Pleming's statement:
The work done on the design of the new hangar also generated an estimate for the total cost of construction and fit-out – some £2.8million, including start-up working capital. Unlike many other charities, the Trust does not have an endowment or capital reserves, so the plan is to find an investor or consortium to fund the build, with the added attraction of contributing to the development of the Airport.

In parallel with the planning activity, a Business Plan for the Heritage Hangar has been created, based on the successful business model in Hangar 3 of visitor tours, events, merchandising and catering. This Business Plan has been to subject of extensive review and will continue to be updated, as we need it to be as robust as possible. The Business Plan is aimed at demonstrating that an investor funding the construction of the new Heritage Hangar will be assured of an acceptable return on an investment.

We are already talking to prospective investors, and expect to gain valuable feedback on optimising the attractiveness of our proposition over coming weeks. As with any charity embarking on a new direction, we are drawing on advice from various quarters, especially from those who have experience of similar projects.  It’s difficult to be definite on timescales, but we very much hope to open for business in the new Heritage Hangar in 2018. If there is anyone reading this who believes they have the relevant experience to help, please contact me

and 2: from the Q&A section of the same (answers by Trustee Dr. Stephen Liddle)
At the moment, the Trust is working with the airport to deliver a new home for XH558 where she will be permanently under cover and accessible, much like she was in H3. The aircraft are currently outside, which given that they will be maintained, is acceptable for the short time proposed. The design for the hangar is complete and we anticipate planning permission to be achieved in the coming months. At the same time, the Trust is very actively pursuing the funding required to complete the project. The model proposed would see the hangar constructed and then leased to us for a period of at least ten years. There is a clear business case for this proposal, in that the developer would have a valuable commercial building on the site of a growing airport at the end. By that time, the Trust would expect to move to the final phase of the Etna project, in a new building that will be planned at the airport

The construction of the new hangar will take about one year in total. The Trust is confident from its experience of H3 that the costs of the lease can be met from the attraction itself.

I am concerned!
Back in or around early 2015 I posed a question about the funding and building of ETNA and the reply was that it was planned by acquiring funds was at an early stage with near to nothing actually raised - it was okay being optomistic abut was that being realistic? - it appears no.

Now we see a planning submission for a smaller establishment with promises that it will be ready by 2018, but once again the Trust is looking for investors so really it's deja-vu but the 'vu' is somewhat smaller. So that 2018 date, although it's planned has little or nothing in hard cash to make it happen at this stage. The submission has only just been presented so planning permission is probably going to take 2 months IF it's straight forward with no objections (i.e. end of November at the earliest), then assuming the funds are there to build it by then a contract has to be awarded - probably at least another 2 months (based on how long contract awards used to take in my days of civil engineering) so that's end of January. The newsletter/update says 12 month construction period so that immediately takes it with a sensible optomistic approach to end of January 2019. So how has 2018 been proposed?

The Trust is talking to prospective investors over the coming weeks - surely that should have been done before now, IF planning permission is granted (and I personally think it will be) albeit with a delayed start even if funding is in place then the funds need to be in place soon to avoid a year's delay. Why? those pesky newts:
from the government website (they have an extensive list of dos and donts re newts):
trap between mid-February and mid-June to remove breeding adults
remove vegetation that supports eggs

so it will be end of June before construction can actually start so unless that 12 month period includes the 4 months to remove the newts then it will be mid June 2019 before the hangar is completed.

The plan relies on an investor accepting a reasonable return for 10 years before ETNA is ready - so now it's 10 years for ETNA, can the Trust really predict 10 years ahead with any confidence? Supposing they get the investor for this hangar but after 10 years they are 'out on their ear' with no ETNA then it will have just gone  a 10 year full circle albeit with much higher costs. It seems that after almost 3 years since my question there is still no investor coming forward even for something which will have commercial benefit in both the short and long term for that investor or more importantly for ETNA - isn't this just delaying the inevitable?
 In 10 years time most of us who remember the Vulcan will either be dead, in nursing homes or (if young enough) will be watching other aircraft rather than one that has been generally stuck in a hangar forgotten by the many and only seen running by the rich few, in short I don't think the funding or the enthusiasm from the public will be there.

Previously I said I believed Doncaster was the right place during the flying phase but once flying finished then a commercial base was risky. There have been good reasons put forward for not going to Bruntingthorpe or Elvington and the commercial aspect applies certainly to the former but to try to create a one aircraft museum from nothing was over optomisitc I'm afraid. 558 should have gone to an existing collection even if it were only able to fast taxi in the short to medium term, lets face it , there hasn't been much taxiing to date and that was seen as a big carrot for being preserved at Doncaster, had she been somewhere in an existing collection where taxi runs could have gone on from the start at modest cost (not with the constraints of a commercial civil airport) then the interest at least during the short/medium term would have been greater and the chance of raising money to fund some sort of hangar (if one wasn't already available) would have been far greater.

We have to accept that moving 558 now is unrealistic unless she is dismantled and then reassembled as a static exhibit but if  the new hangar can't be funded (and it appears difficult) then maybe that is the best option as at least she can be back in some sort of public eye. I hope the funds materialse but to be honest to me the signs are not optomistic.

Engineering / Re: So that's it then?
« on: September 17, 2017, 09:29:38 AM »
Just a quick note.  I'm not being evasive but more important things have popped up at home (specifically, my father-in-law to be who was rushed in with DVTs and - after a few days - has now had most of one leg amputated) so that is now my main priority.  I will come back to the various points raised & do my best to answer them once I've got on top of the domestic situation (and the huge backlog of work).

fully understood Eddie, hope he recovers quickly. In the grand scheme of things answers about the Vulcan are far less important and the lowest priority for you - I'm sure we can all wait for however long it takes for your domestic and work situation to stabilise -

very best wishes

Engineering / Re: So that's it then?
« on: September 16, 2017, 10:18:38 AM »
I've got a pet one, it's very small.

In fact it's minute ;D ;D ;D

Engineering / Re: So that's it then?
« on: September 14, 2017, 12:26:29 PM »
Ooops !!  :))

Yep, fun and games if they've got them there.
From similar experience where I used to work, lots of delays & the additional expense of feasibility studies to get them relocated......then once they are relocated, more delays to ensure no more of them turn up.

that sums it up very well, for the authorised great crested newt guardians it was a licence to print money, I used to have them on sites regularly. As Clive says once you have moved them you then have to stop them coming back usually with newt proof fencing (I joke not!) around excavations etc.

The craziest thing about this is that they are everywhere in the UK so hardly endangered but Europe wide they are scarce in places (maybe the French eat them) so that they are protected under EU law - a bit like illegal immigrants so the whole of the EU is meant to protect them from harm regardless of how common they are in that particular country!

Engineering / Re: New aircraft for the trust
« on: September 14, 2017, 11:14:58 AM »
WK 163 has been moved down to hangar 1.

She is considerably better off than she was at Coventry where she was left outside for three years or so...

The money donated for the major has been ring fenced so can not be used for any other projects (tell me about it as no-one seems very excited about donating to a build a plane project...)

It would be good if you could post a link to where people are "moaning they want their money back"  Once we start the major the money donated will be used to pay for the work as it is carried out.  So far we have moved the jet from Coventry to Doncaster along with about 30% of the spares, we have transcribed over 700 job cards and carried out a survey of the jet to see where we are.  It's not like we have sat around and done nothing.

Yes all reference to the Canberra has gone from the Vulcan web page.  There is meant to be a new site dedicated to the Canberra and that will happen once we have sorted out a whole shed load of other stuff, bear with us - we are a little bit busy at the moment....

so where is that ring fenced money now - assuming the 'major' hit the buffers big time when the contents of this and '558's neighbouring site hit the fan it must (well should) be sitting somewhere but the last accounts only show £60 ringfenced and that for 558.

Sorry Sam but you must wish you'd never written this in the above quote now: She is considerably better off than she was at Coventry where she was left outside for three years or so... hindsight and all that. will she now be outside at Doncaster and beat the 3 year Coventry record?

Perhaps re my suggestion of a museum named BITS, the B part should have been plural

One thing I realised this morning and didn't include in my post was a point re the unrestricted funds (I touched on it but not in this detail)  - this presumably includes sales income from shows and the webstore, all of this income is recorded as unrestricted funds hence when joe public thought he was buying something to support XH558 it could actually have been spent on the Canberra and they would be non the wiser. I always thought the Canberra money came from a totally separate fund (source of which I never understood) but looks like that was just another £50k of money intended for 558 which was squandered away.

Why they ever bought that I really don't know and never will unless it was to prolong their income - maybe they should name it 'Spirit of the gravy train'

I have to admit I'm starting to think this whole episode really stinks - just like the final resting place . So sad.

Engineering / Re: So that's it then?
« on: September 14, 2017, 08:20:56 AM »
Correct me if I'm wrong but arn't hese accounts   for year end 2016 prior to the removal from hangar and downsizing of staff?
Didn't I read somewhere that Robert was now on part time, Mr Trotter, believe is a consultant also on part time? 
Will have to go back and see Sam's list of staff as I missed it..... Have now found it, am amazed more than I ever thought..... OMG

They are Denis but those changes you quoted weren't until around March this year so that cash drain continued for at least 5 months after the closing date of those accounts, I picked that up in my (rather lengthy) post last evening with an approximation of the amount it cost before the cuts. From memory annual cost for hangar £82K, salaries around £800k so a bit less than half of £880k say £400k more before the downsize and BITS initiative.

EDIT: sorry Denis, I should have checked - the staff costs were £854k for the year ending Oct 2016, so that total should be £936k (plus costs for Hinckley which also went with the cuts). And in fact there was probably rent and some of those salaries and rent paid up until at least the end of April so that £400k I estimated is likely to be nearer £470k. OUCH!

To save me looking back can anyone remember the dates when Hinckley closed and Hangar 3 contract terminated pls?

Well it's about funds so I thought this would be the best place to post this. some food for thought (and discussion). I thought that as it's a different topic than any of the others it's better to start a new one rather than drag an existing one 'off topic'

There’s been some discussion on the 2016 accounts of late and I’ve had a bit of a look through them and have found a few points which puzzle me a bit…..
On the income and expenditure statement (page 15) I’ve picked out a few things that concern me a bit for the years ahead:
There is a marked drop in the donations/legacies and charitable activities incomes – around 40% on each, I think we all realised that donations would drop significantly once flying stopped but bear in mind the final flights were at the end of October 2015 so this account probably picked up a fair amount of income in the last months of 2015 with the euphoria that was generated during those final few months of flying so those figures will surely drop significantly in the next year’s accounts as people cancelled their direct debits etc.

I do find it alarming how much the income v expenditure has swung in 12 months from a £223k profit to a £198k loss i.e. a swing of £421k and funds carried forward to the 2017 trading year of £1036k. That leaves just over 5 years before it runs out at that loss rate however they redundancy axe hit around the end of March(?) 2017, 5 months after the accounts date when the other cost savings measures were also introduced so there is likely to be a continued loss of around £83k up to that time based on a pro rata figure from the 2016 accounts.

BUT returning to that 5 years before it runs out that assumes that all assets could be realised and on page 16 it splits fixed and current assets and the current assets value is £450k so the time scale could be far less if losses continue even at a lower rate unless of course they dig into their fixed assets and sell one Vulcan bomber (purchaser to arrange collection?)
Now that loss does concern me, it is slightly confusing because the income is divided into donations and legacies, charitable activities, other trading activities and the mysterious ‘other’ in all totalling £1240k. Expenditure is broken down into raising funds (£1376k), charitable activities and a bit of tax, in all totalling £2598k and thus bringing about the £198k loss. Assuming that donations are mainly standing orders which surely need minimal administration (otherwise they aren’t worth doing) and legacies need an equally small amount of expenditure so lets assume that the majority of those costs went on the charitable activities, other trading activities and ‘other’ that’s a cost of £2598k to raise £1355k errr? Okay there’s a small bit attributable to the donations and legacies but that’s a heck of a loss and one has to ask why so much was spent to raise funds and ‘others’ for an essentially static airframe.

So why operate at such a loss in an attempt to raise funds when existing funds theoretically will be needed to equip a new hangar in a few months? I’ve heard of speculate to accumulate but this seems more like speculate to degenerate.
Donations (and legacies) are broken down on p.23 and shows a significant drop in percentage terms on most items, 2015 figures in brackets):
 Regular donations 184,026 (250,848) -26%
One off donations 73,792 (419,753) -83%
Corporate donations and sponsorship 200,000 (246,994) -19%
Other donations 258,435 (315,128) -18%
Gift aid recovered 31,795 (148,726) -79%
Legacies 297045 (nil)
So it would appear that a substantial number of standing orders were cancelled once flying ceased, something I think everybody expected (I hope my ‘everybody’ included the Trust), I wonder how many more have gone in the last 10 months with all the uncertainty over the project. I don’t suppose they have increased and as the chances of taxi runs and general enthusiasm diminished I anticipate that the next accounts will show a similar significant drop. Again with the one off donations, how many came in the first few months post flying, that’s a big drop over the year and I will stick my neck out and say it will be down to a trickle in the next account especially with the hangar appeal – people may have given to that and only that this year. I won’t discuss corporate, I don’t understand it apart from the fact that without Eddie F’s support it would never have got this far (thanks Eddie), ‘other’ donations dropped around 18%  - I don’t know what ‘other’ includes so what will happen to that this year I’ve no idea but can’t see the figure going back up. There’s a massive drop in gift aid presumably because in 2015  a lot of that was from Operation 2015 and it’s a bit harder to collect it from the one offs and others. One plus in 2016 was a large legacy sum (or several smaller but significant ones) from nothing the previous year but can we really expect that to continue year on year? I really do worry that these figures will drop similarly year on year and there will be a rapid dry up of funds. Okay some staff have gone to reduce costs but for a charity there still seems to be an incredible percentage of overheads.
On page 28 one thing that does strike home is raffle income down from £323k in 2015 to £109k in 2016 – approx. 2/3 down. That really does hit home, all those raffle tickets sent out but so many not returned, that is (to me) a big sign that even in early 2016 people were starting to forget the Vulcan  - out of sight, out of mind and surely those big raffle windfalls will rapidly dwindle away to become hardly worthwhile and that funding stream will soon dry up. Hands up – I admit I haven’t bought any this year and don’t remember if I bought many if any at all last year, in the flying era I always bought all that were mailed out - maybe I’m just another joe public now.

Staff costs – pages 27 and 28 show staff costs, p.27 shows activities carried out directly costs and p.28 support staff costs .
Direct costs in 2016 were £698239 (£831020 in 2015)  and Support costs 2016 were £246600 (£38134 in 2015). Add those together and the total for 2016 was £854839 and for 2015 £869154, for an aircraft that basically sat in the hangar and occasionally went out for a brief engine run – to me that’s an awful lot of money for very little return. Okay with the redundancies we should see those costs drop on the 2017 accounts but isn’t that shutting the stable door once the horse has bolted (with a fat bag of cash tied to it’s saddle)? Sorry but for that sort of money I really think we could/should have expected slightly more. Yes we can point the finger at the airport operators being stringent about operating procedures IF taxi runs were to be allowed, procedures which would have been far more relaxed at a non commercial airport but surely that should have been foreseen such that for a wage bill only £150k short of £1 million we saw nothing in the way of taxi runs in return, I said a while back that Doncaster was the correct choice while the aircraft was flying but not once it ceased and I think those figures bear that out AND don’t say hindsight is a wonderful thing – it was bleedin’ obvious from well before the final flight.
Staff numbers – the report gives the average for the year but we all know that there were large scale redundancies in March, the report gives the following figures:
The average monthly number of employees during the year was (2015 in brackets):
 Management and administration 22 (14) , Aircraft crew 14 (20);  total 36 (34)  so a reduction in aircrew (understandable really as it doesn’t fly now) by 6 persons and an increase in management / admin of 8 persons i.e. a nett increase of 2. Okay that has been addressed now but WHY do you need more staff for a non flying aircraft that has an aversion to sunlight such that it spends most of it’s time in a hangar or more latterly it’s shooting the breeze coming off the sewage works with a tarpaulin to keep the sun off it’s cockpit.  Sorry but unless somebody can explain the rationale behind this then it appears that one of those many mangers made a monumental cock up that has made an enormous hole in the funds. I really would like an explanation of the thinking behind that.

The trust spent in excess of £50k on the Canberra and after questions were raised when I donated I understood that I was contributing to the upkeep of the Vulcan and that all raised funds were ring fenced for the upkeep of ‘558 as restricted funds. When I look through the accounts I see that the only restricted funds are £60 as a left over from ’Operation 2015’ (see page 37) and this £60 seems to be the figure that crops up every time restricted funds are mentioned.
SO – answers please:
1: were there ever any other restricted funds?
2: What happened to them i.e. did they fund the Canberra purchase?
3: And why aren’t the remaining funds restricted in such a way? A good proportion of the money was raised on the back of ‘558 with donators assuming they were supporting that aircraft surely the public (those that still care) should expect to be assured that their donations went to where they intended them to go i.e. to the upkeep of Vulcan XH558.

Page 39 states a loss on operating activities of £328204 – for what? As far as I can make out there were virtually no operating activities in that year, just the last 3 flights and then stuck in a hangar with the occasional venture into the open for a private engine run with the sounding of an e-fanfare in the twice weekly newsletter AND why did we still have 2 per week for so long and why do we even need one per week now – just send one out when there is something significant to report, that way it will gain more attention and save on production costs (yes I know it’s e-mailed but someone must get paid for writing it).
The money that is being spent here on an aircraft that can’t fly, can barely move without all sorts of procedures and controls in place and is hidden away from the public for the foreseeable future (yes I know, we keep being told that plans are in for a hangar but with the level of funds available I don’t see it as sustainable for very long) defies all logic, that budget probably equates to virtually all the funds spent on all the other preserved aircraft in the country. Surely it’s time to throw in the towel and run it solely on a volunteer basis as per all other grounded preserved aircraft. Carrying on at this level of expenditure is simply a recipe for disaster.

A quote from the report:
 Heritage The aircraft has developed a loyal following of many thousands of supporters. She is and will remain the best preserved all-British four-engined jet aircraft anywhere in the world still capable of powered ground runs. XH558 has to be maintained in the current working state, albeit not flying, under the terms of the Trust’s contract with the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) until 6 February 2085.
I think ‘has’ can be deleted from the first line as that loyal following has largely dissipated. She may well be the best preserved aircraft but what is the point if she is never allowed to do taxi runs, there is always a reason why not, you could have a bingo card game with the excuses on it and cross them off until you fill a line there are so many of them (watch out here comes another fund raiser now I’ve opened my e-mouth). The two other running Vulcans in the uk / world are maintained to a sufficient standard to enable them to actually taxi and at a fraction of the cost and in the case of ‘655 in front of a watching crowd in close proximity so maybe the Trust need to look at them and consider if they are ever going to meet all the conditions and if so is a volyuntary team the way foreward. If it’s not because the airport want a ‘professional’ team to maintain the aircraft then that has already failed and the Trust must hold their hands up and say that post flying, Doncaster was the wrong choice.

Re the 2085 date – with all the sell offs of spares surely there won’t be any left to maintain it until 2025 let alone 2085 and being realistic how could she ever be, all those with the necessary expertise will have been pushing up the daisies for many years come 2085. And anyway, even if they want to run her, fossil fuels will have run out way before then so there will be nothing to run the engines with unless of course the sewage farm is still there and they can manufacture a biofuel!  But really, expecting to still be doing engine runs in 68 years time is just not realistic and surely the heritage fund will realise that so surely that condition can be bargained out.

Final thoughts:
My personal analysis of the last year is that far from the eviction from hangar 3 being a disaster for the aircraft it more likely actually prevented a disaster as it brought the Trust to it’s senses and realised that the draining of funds at that rate was unsustainable even in the short term let alone 85 years and forced their hand into doing something, sadly involving making a tribe of Indians redundant although a disproportionate number of chiefs remained. Whether that was a large enough reduction will remain to be seen but I personally just can’t see it being enough. Eventually the Trust will have to face the inevitable and make it a wholly voluntary operation.


Engineering / Re: How would you feel?
« on: September 07, 2017, 09:36:02 AM »
Despite all the PR bluster, WHAT MUSEUM??????

Well the museum could currently be called BITS. Bomber In The..... well you can guess the rest :D

Aviation Waffle / Re: Our Wonderful Media
« on: August 17, 2017, 06:59:20 PM »
I heard Mr. O'Hagan being interviewed on BBC radio this afternoon re the grounding. It's amazing how polite he can be when he wants/needs to be.

On UKAR he's having his usual digs but on the Beeb he spoke politely and glowingly about the BBMF and in a most informed manner, such a contrast in attitude. If only he could be like that on UKAR then I'm sure he would get far more respect and people like me would still be posting there. Such a shame.

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