In front of a capacity audience at the RAF Waddington International Airshow last Saturday (5th July 2008), Avro Vulcan XH558 took to the air for her first public display since 1992. It was the culmination of years of effort, but the reward was beyond words. The spectators fell silent as XH558 lined up on the runway, the silence soon replaced by the unmistakeable sound of her engines as the spooled up to full power. Applause greeted both the impressive take-off, and at the end of the display, a perfect landing.
As if her display was not enough, the sight of XH558 flying in trailing formation with the BBMF's Lancaster was the icing on the cake.
Disappointingly on the Sunday, for the first time in the ten flights since the completion of her restoration, there was a technical problem which unfortunately prevented XH558 taking off. The problem was quickly and easily diagnosed; it was a fault on a voltage regulator on the alternator on No.3 engine. However XH558 did demonstrate an aborted take off at full power on a wet runway, which provided spectators with not only the sound but also the spectacular sight of the Vulcan in the midst of a huge plume of spray in the sunshine.
XH558 will be remaining at Waddington for the next few days to complete further display practices and a validation flight to Farnborough, prior to flying to RAF Fairford for The Royal International Air Tattoo.
Click here for an article and photos on the RAF Waddington International Air Show 2008 & Vulcan XH558 first display and celebrations.