30th/31st August, 2014 was the date of the annual Shoreham Airshow. It is a number of years since I have been to an airshow, and longer since anything of this size. One of the main reasons for me to go, was to see both the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster and the Canadian Lancaster both flying at the same time. However, an engine problem had grounded the Canadian plane, so only the BBMF Lancaster made an appearance, but more of that later.
Was I disappointed - most definitely not. Approximately 6 hours of flying, everything from WWI Tri-planes flown by Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, to the Eurofighter FGR4. However, one of the star performers was Avro Vulcan B2 XH558. This is the only airworthy Vulcan in the world and if newspaper stories are to be believed, this old girl may be coming to the end of her show career. Engines for XH558 are getting more difficult to obtain and her current show has been designed to place less strain on the engines than previous seasons.
Watching the display, you wouldn’t know that this was the “lite” display, the Vulcan howl was still present and the ability to go from level flight to vertical flight followed by roll like manoeuvres is still a sight to behold.
One thing that I still find amazing is that the Vulcan and the Lancaster are planes that are less than 10 years apart. Looking at them side by side one looks antique, the other still futuristic.
Let’s hope that XH558’s days are not numbered.