Sunday – “Look, Up In The Sky!”
We’re heading into hard-core Summer season now. Only five more days until the Independence Day celebration, which is also creating a 3-day weekend this year (and next). Recreational activities pick up steam this week and will continue on for at least eight more weeks. There will also be lots of parades this Friday, so get those apparatus polishing cloths ready. This will be a lot of fun for all.
We have a little vintage warplane news to pass along today, too. Almost everybody is interested in the old fighter planes and bombers and we all still stop and look up to see what’s passing overhead when we hear the sound of airplane motors. It’s just a natural human response that’s bred into us.
An article published Friday by Wired e-magazine is informing us:
The last Avro Vulcan, one of the coolest warplanes of the Cold War era, takes to the skies again this weekend.
The plane, born of the days when the world seemed constantly under threat of nuclear war, was meticulously overhauled some time ago, but has flown intermittently because keeping it aloft is so expensive. The nonprofit Vulcan to the Sky Trust, which owns and operates the plane, is bringing it out again for the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The Vulcan was the world’s first delta-wing bomber, a long-range aircraft developed in the 1950s to give Britain the ability to drop a nuke or two on Russia should we ever reach DefCon 2. It never came to that, of course, and the plane didn’t see combat until the early 1980s when the UK went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands.
The Vulcan entered service in May 1956, and flew in the RAF’s nuclear deterrent force until 1969. Soviet missile advances ultimately made the jet—which relied upon speed and high altitude for defense—obsolete as a nuclear bomber.
When the Falklands war broke out, the mothballed Vulcans were quickly (within two months) brought out of dormancy, had their engines upgraded for more thrust, and had the bomb bays converted to disgorge regular bombs instead of the nuclear variety. But following that brief conflict, the plane was taken out of service permanently and most of them destroyed or donated for use by airport fire brigades for live fire training.
One of the very few remaining Vulcans was purchased by a private, non-profit group dedicated to preserving their plane by collecting donations. Keeping it flying is next-to-prohibitive because of the scarcity of parts and the high cost of flying it. Again from Wired:
It isn’t easy or cheap to fly an obsolete airplane; as time goes on, engineering know-how and parts become harder to come by. Vulcan to the Sky had to raise £6.5 million ($11.06 million) to make XH558 airworthy, and had it airborne in August, 2007.
Two years ago, the group announced XH558 would make its final flight in 2013, but the group managed to raise another £400,000 ($681,000) to modify the wings and keep it flying through 2015.
The pilot for this weekend’s flights will be a Falklands combat veteran. Read the entire ARTICLE HERE.
Now we need to make sure our own combat vehicle is ready for business today, so let’s get started on the equipment check while Cook gets the Sunday breakfast spread ready. I’ll get the coffee started, then see you back in the digital day room.
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