Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 17:32 UK

Vulcan bomber flight lands early


Vulcan bomber taking off and landing

A restored Vulcan bomber which took off on a test flight from RAF Cottesmore in Rutland has landed early after a problem with the landing gear.

The Cold War bomber took off to fly the 30 miles (48km) to Bruntingthorpe airfield in Leicestershire at 1345 BST.

The aircraft had to land about two hours earlier than planned at Bruntingthorpe after the pilot reported a problem with the landing gear door.

He told the BBC that a door was open when it should not have been.

Pilot Martin Withers said: "It's a very big door which is hanging down in the wind - and so we're limited to the speed we can fly, and if we'd carried on with the test then there's a fair chance we might have damaged the door.

"And that would have meant much more work and so on."

The Vulcan also made an emergency landing on Monday after a false alarm.

After Monday's problems, project manager Andrew Edmondson said the fault on the aircraft was just one of a few teething problems.

He said: "There's people out there who've restored motor cars and everybody knows that once you've restored it, for the first six months, you get a few teething problems.

Vulcan History
137 of the aircraft were manufactured starting in the 1950s
First Vulcan flew in 1953
Introduced to counter the threat from the Soviet Union
Took 14 years to restore
Retired from service in 1984

"We're getting the same thing and they're just bulbs that are blowing, a micro switch not quite working, so it's not very significant."

The test flight is in preparation for an application to the Civil Aviation Authority for a permit to fly during air shows this summer.

Organisers hope the bomber will fly in about 18 air shows over the summer - which will cost about 1m - but say a major sponsor still needs to be found to ensure it has enough money to continue flying.

Some 20,000 people worldwide have helped contribute to the restoration of the bomber - with 2.7m contributed by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The plane last flew operationally 15 years ago after being used for years as a deterrent in the Cold War.

It was first introduced as a four-engine nuclear bomber to counter the growing threat from the Soviet Union.

Vulcan bomber takes to the skies
16 Apr 08 |  Leicestershire
Test flights for restored bomber
14 Apr 08 |  Leicestershire
Vulcan bomber suffers fire alert
14 Apr 08 |  Leicestershire
Vulcan may offer flying adverts
04 Feb 08 |  Leicestershire
Vulcan bomber returns to the sky
18 Oct 07 |  Leicestershire

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