The weather was perfect for a visit to Cosford to watch Vulcan XH558 on one of its farewell flights. We allowed plenty of time to get to Cosford because I had a feeling the car parks would be fairly full. We had to queue to get in and cars were being squeezed onto every available grassy verge. The Vulcan’s pilot treated us to a spectacular ten minute air display where he banked sharply, climbed steeply and  impressed us with the noise of the Vulcan’s after burners. It was a treat to watch the world’s last flying Vulcan in one of its final flights.

After the flypast we decided to to go inside the hangars for a while until the queue of cars trying to leave the RAF museum calmed down. As I was looking at the WW1 aeroplane display, I heard one of the curators say that they hadn’t been expecting quite so many people and that the gates had had to be closed. When we went inside for a drink in the Refuel Restaurant we noticed it had run out of food. The visit wouldn’t have been complete if we hadn’t gone to see the Cosford Museum Vulcan in the Cold War Hangar; the Vulcan is a magnificent machine.


The Avro Vulcan is an iconic example of British aerospace engineering at its world-beating best. Its impressive list of technical achievements includes being the first successful large delta wing aircraft, leading directly to Concorde and the Space Shuttle, and delivering performance and agility so close to a jet fighter’s that it was given a fighter-style control column in place of the traditional bomber pilot’s yoke. Today that agility allows XH558 to deliver amazing air displays, which unfortunately must finish this year as her time as a flying aircraft draws to an end.

But XH558 is not just for the pleasure of seeing her giant delta profile appear low over the trees and pull up near vertically as she climbs high into the sky. She is an iconic example of that remarkable period of intense post-war innovation that made British aviation technology the envy of the world. As the many displays at her hangar demonstrate, this allowed her to play a fascinating role in keeping the peace during the Cold War, a period of terrifying global tension. It’s a truly remarkable story.



22 Comments CherryPie on Jun 27th 2015

22 Responses to “Salute to the V Force”

  1. ubermouth says:

    You and Mr. C( or ,should I say, a ‘gentleman of a certain age’) must take great delight in making such a compatible match. What great company you are for each other, given your same interests. :)

    My one regret is I changed my mind about taking the Concorde when I learned just as narrow it was, but now regret it ,under the circumstances. But other than that, no fascination for planes. In fact, I hate to fly or I would travel far far more than I do.

    • CherryPie says:

      Mr C and I have what I (and he) would call overlapping interests. We don’t always appreciate our mutual interests in the same way. We like to linger on different details ;-)

      My fascination for planes is that the technology is amazing. For example, how exactly does it stand vertically and not fall to the ground? Or indeed how do the manage to stay in the air at all… Heavy bit of metal floating on the air, shouldn’t it just fall to the ground?

  2. Fabulous. I am green with envy! Spectacular photos – you must be really pleased with them. curiously enough, Vulcans cropped up in conversation this evening — there’s one at the RAF Museum in Hendon too.

    • CherryPie says:

      I was pleasantly surprised that I got some half decent photos. I am glad you like them :-)

      It was a great experience and I am tempted to find another convenient location to do it all over again before the Vulcan stops flying at the end of this year.

  3. amfortas says:

    I am envious that you have such an opportunity and I don’t, to see a flying Vulcan. But you will be as deprived as I am next year, more’s the pity, as this is the ‘last’ year of it being airbourne. No more Victor, either, as the last one flew into Shawbury last year to be taken to Cosford. No more Vulcan howl: no more Victor magnificence.

    The Vulcan doesn’t have afterburners though. The roar is sheer ‘ordinary’ power, albeit 100%

    • CherryPie says:

      However the roar was achieved as the pilot turned the plane on it’s end and remained vertical with nose to the sky, stationary for several moments of time was amazing :-)

      I know you would have enjoyed the experience if you could have been there today :-)

  4. Mark in Mayenne says:

    I love the Vulcan, it’s one of my favourite aeroplanes, alongside, oddly enough, the Hercules as well as the Spitfire .

    • CherryPie says:

      In an office I used to work in we frequently saw RAF planes passing close by and even overhead as they flew too or from Cosford. Sadly this stopped after 9/11 when some people got a bit twitchy about planes flying so close by.

  5. james higham says:

    I was about to say that Amfortas would like this and then there he was. :)

  6. wiggia says:

    Had the pleasure to see the Vulcan some years ago at the end of season show at Duxford.
    When on reaching the end of the runway on his final pass the pilot stood the plane on its end and just went straight up and kept going it was a sight and sound I will always remember, the ground literally shook with the power, sad it’s going to be a static display.

    • CherryPie says:

      It would have been quite something to see the Vulcan do that. That was not possible yesterday as it had to do a fly past at it’s next destination on the proposed flight path.

  7. No coloured smoke?

  8. ....peter:) says:

    we spent some time there together a last year Cherie… your images of the Avro Vulcan in flight are magnificent….peter:)

    • CherryPie says:

      I enjoyed the time we spent together there, it was lovely to meet you :-)

      I am glad you like my photos of the Vulcan, she was lovely to watch in flight :-)

  9. anne says:

    Wow this would of been amazing too see. I mist find out what aircraft my dad worked on when he was serving. Unfortunately my dad died when I was 10 bit I have photos of him at work. Everyone who loves aircraft would be queuing ..so it must of been pretty packed !!! Thank you for lovely comment on my blog ..eill be back soon. xx

    • CherryPie says:

      We were disappointed that we couldn’t get to the Cosford airshow this year and we thought we had missed seeing the Vulcan. We were pleasantly surprised to find out about the fly past a couple of weeks later. It was something we could not miss :-)

  10. Ayush says:

    this is a great post. fine shots of the aerial and static display