Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sep 4 2008 by Ben Schofield, Liverpool Daily Post

THE Cold War’s iconic Vulcan bomber will fly at this weekend’s Southport Airshow.

After years of being grounded and following a major campaign to return it to flight, the plane will now open the event on Saturday with an aerial display.

It will be the first time the aircraft has flown over North West skies in more than 15 years after being taken out of RAF service in 1993.

But following a £7m restoration the XH558 is now fit to fly and Southport Airshow organisers have worked closely with the trust known as Vulcan to the Sky to secure the plane’s appearance this weekend.

The Heritage Lottery Fund donated £2.7m to the trust and a groundswell of 3,500 enthusiasts joined the campaign to restore the plane.

The restoration included removing corrosion, re-installing 14 fuel tanks and four Rolls-Royce Olympus 202 engines, as well as a modern global positioning system. The airframe has also been strengthened. The plane’s flight on Saturday has been helped by a £12,000 donation from businessman Eddie Forrester, of aviation software company, Aerobytes.

Sefton Council tourism events manager Peter Sandman said: “We are delighted the Vulcan bomber will be part of this year’s Southport airshow. It is an incredibly loud and impressive icon to open our show.

“With the Red Arrows appearing, a world record attempt by microlight pilot David Beech and now confirmation of the Vulcan bomber, it promises to be the best air show we have staged.”

This year, many of the performing aircraft will take off from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and fly along the Mersey as a tribute to the city’s Capital of Culture status and the airport’s 75th anniversary.

The Vulcan bomber is scheduled to appear on Saturday at about 1pm.

To find out more about Southport Airshow click on or call 01704 540011.