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Vulcan bomber tests to continue

15 April 08 11:13 GMT

The team behind a restored Vulcan bomber say it will continue test flights later in the week despite an emergency landing.

The Cold War bomber, which took years to restore at a Leicestershire airfield, had a false fire alert during a flight on Monday.

It landed safely and engineers are fixing the fault.

Project Manager Andrew Edmundson said further test flights are still planned from RAF Cottesmore on Wednesday.

Vulcan to the Sky Trust chief executive Dr Robert Pleming said: "When this was investigated there was no fire found and we suspect this was just a false indication. But the aircraft was absolutely fine."

Hit 'snag'

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

Mr Edmundson said the trust still needs a major sponsor to ensure it has enough money to continue flying.

It is estimated the plane, which last flew operationally 15 years ago, will cost more than £1m a year to operate during the air show season.

The trust is aiming to attend 17 to 18 air shows this summer.

"We are still moving forward - we hit a snag but we have a good set of engineers here and we have great support and we should be flying on Wednesday," Mr Edmundson said.

"These test flights are a schedule of work in the cockpit - when completed and the aircraft is ready, it will go forward to apply for the permit.

"We need a major sponsor to help us through the display season as it costs a lot of money to keep the plane flying."

Some 20,000 people worldwide have helped contribute to the restoration of the bomber - with £2.7m contributed by the Heritage Lottery Fund. A total of 137 of the bombers were manufactured, starting in the 1950s.

The Vulcan was first introduced as a four-engined nuclear bomber to counter the growing threat of the Soviet Union.

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