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Spirit Of Great Britain
Avro Vulcan XH558 “The Spirit Of Great Britain” is the only airworthy example of the 134 Avro Vulcan V-bombers that were operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984. Vulcan XH558 served with the RAF between 1960 and 1985 in the bomber, maritime reconnaissance and air-to-air refuelling roles. The RAF operated XH558 as a display aircraft from 1986 until 1992, when budget cuts forced its retirement. It is operated at present by the ‘Vulcan to theSky Trust’ as a display aircraft, funded entirely by charitable donations and the UK Lottery's Heritage Fund. It is registered with the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority as G-VLCN but has an exemption to fly in Royal Air Force markings as XH558. The first Vulcan took to the air for its maiden flight on 30 August 1952.The world’s first delta-winged bomber to reach operational service, the Avro Vulcan was one of the cornerstones of Britain’s nuclear deterrent during the height of the Cold War. In later years it was adapted for conventional bombing and saw active service in the Falklands War.The largest delta-winged aircraft in service in the world, was capable of very
The V Bomber - Avro Vulcan
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high subsonic speed and climb to heights in the region of 50,000ft. Its very large bomb-bay accommodated either conventional or nuclear bombs, both of which could be delivered with the aid of a radar-controlled blind- bombing system. The delta bomber was involved in one of the most ambitious British bombing raids since the Dambusters raid of World War 2. On April 2, 1982 Argentinian forces invaded the Falklands by surprise. A quick response was required and a retaliatory plan was devised named ‘Operation Black Buck’. On 30th April, A Vulcan bombed Stanley airfield in the first of the Black Buck raids. Three Vulcan’s, drawn from Nos. 44 and 50 Squadron then on the verge of retirement, were deployed to Ascension and from there one flew 3,500 miles - with airborne refuelling - to drop twenty one 1,000lb bombs on the runway from 8,000ft at 0438 hours local time before returning to Ascension. It had been refuelled 17 times en route by Victor tankers and was airborne for 15 hours 45 minutes to complete the longest bombing mission on record at that time.