Page last updated at 18:45 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Vulcan bomber faces last outing

Vulcan bomber
The Vulcan could make its final appearance unless cash is found fast

A Cold War bomber could have sounded its engines for the last time unless "miracle" funding is found.

The Vulcan first flew in public last summer after 15 years of repairs, but financial problems could bankrupt the Leicestershire trust behind it.

The aircraft has had its 28-day systems checks at Bruntingthorpe aerodrome but engineers fear this may have been the last time the engines are fired up.

The Vulcan to the Sky Trust needs to find 1m by 6 March.

The trust's spokesman, Richard Clarke, said emotions have run high. "As she roars into life, it does stir the emotions, she has that effect on people, certainly anyone who sees her has their heartstrings pulled.

"It looks as if it is the end of the road for the Vulcan unless we can pull off a miracle between now and 6 March. We need to raise an amount of money to keep us going and also gives us some hope for the air shows this year.

"We've been pulling out all the stops to try to find a supporter or supporters to help us but that hasn't happened. Negotiations will still carry on."

Celebrity support

A letter from high-profile supporters, including Sir Richard Branson, appeared in a national newspaper last week calling for the government to intervene.

The open letter, also signed by Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, author Frederick Forsyth and Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Knight, demanded the Vulcan be given a place on the RAF's memorial flight.

Vulcan XH558 was restored at Bruntingthorpe aerodrome with more than 2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and 5m in other donations.

The aircraft, which used to be based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, took part in several displays last summer in front of an estimated 1.5m people.

But the costs of simply keeping the aircraft in flying condition, about 80,000 a month, have not been met because corporate sponsorship has been falling.

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SEE ALSO
Vulcan bomber facing cash crash
11 Feb 09 |  Leicestershire
Bumpy return for Vulcan 'dream'
06 Jan 09 |  Leicestershire
Vulcan bomber team asks for 1m
01 Dec 08 |  Leicestershire
PM petitioned over Vulcan funding
24 Oct 08 |  Leicestershire
Vulcan grounded by engine trouble
02 Oct 08 |  Leicestershire
Funding woes for restored Vulcan
03 Sep 08 |  Lincolnshire

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