Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Snow tips North East Air Museum Vulcan bomber skyward

Tipped up Vulcan bomber - pic courtesy John Kelly

The weight of snow on a museum's prized Cold War bomber has left it seemingly frozen at take-off.

The Avro Vulcan B2 was found tipped backwards at the North East Air Museum in Sunderland.

Staff have stacked railway sleepers under the 97ft (30m) aircraft's front wheel, so it does not come crashing down when the snow melts.

Museum owner and manager Keith Davison will now have to hire in a crane to set the Vulcan right.

I thought blimey, that's different
Keith Davison, museum owner

He said: "I opened the museum on Saturday morning and it was the first thing that I saw. I thought blimey, that's different.

"The sheer weight of the snow on the wings had tipped the plane backwards, lifting the front landing wheel about 8ft from the ground.

"Now its rear fuselage and the trailing edge of the wings are on the ground.

"It's the first time it has been in that position since it was flown here from RAF Waddington on January 23 in 1983."

The Vulcan served with squadrons 617 (The Dambusters), 44 and 83 which were based at either Waddington or Scampton.

It was the second B2 delivered to 617 squadron on 20 October 1961, and is one of 20 existing, still-complete Vulcans.

The plane was part of the UK's nuclear deterrent against the Soviet Union, and was also used in a conventional bombing role during the Falklands conflict.

There is just one Vulcan bomber left flying in the world today. The rest are in museums.

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