Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Vulcan Flies

After years of fundraising, setbacks and painstaking work, a retired Avro Vulcan, once the UK's most deadly attack bomber, flew from Bruntingthorpe airfield in England, 14 years after it was retired.

A delta-winged four-engined bomber, the Vulcan, along with the oddly elegant Handley Page Victor and the Vickers Valiant, was one of three British V-Bombers designed to drop nuclear weapons during the Cold War.

Of the three, the Vulcan was to me the most impressive. Its massive delta shape was almost intimidating, as opposed to the curvy lines of the Victor and the straight forward approach of the Valiant. Designed for nuclear deterrence, it saw most of its action in the Falklands war in 1982 and as a tanker and reconnaissance plane.

Bombers, especially nuclear capable ones, are by definition terrible machines. They are designed for one purpose... to kill lots of people quickly. But there is no denying their frightening beauty as machines, swift, elegant, authoritative. I am glad one is flying, as with the gun boats and frigates that ruled the seas, the Vulcan and its UK, US (B-52, B-1,) USSR (TU-16 Badger, Tu-95 Bear) counterparts are a part of our history, like it or not.

Bravo Vulcan XH558 now G-VLCN. Long may you fly.

No comments: