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Sadness at news iconic Vulcan to fly no more
A FORMER bomber navigator has spoken of his sadness that the last air- worthy Vulcan will stop flying after next year.
Thousands of pounds have been raised to keep XH558 air- worthy but it will soon need complicated repairs to its wings and parts which are not available.
The Vulcan to the Sky Trust, which operates the plane, plans to raise enough money to keep it flying for air shows in 2013.
But repairs needed to keepXH558 airworthy after that have been deemed too expensive.
Anthony Lloyd, 67, from Kingston Bagpuize, was a navigator on the plane during the Cold War, when it was part of the UK’s nuclear deterrent against the Soviet Union. and based at RAF Brize Norton.
He said: “I feel very sad because she is simply and utterly iconic.
“Not only has she been part of my life since 1966, when I flew in her, she has been the part of lots and lots of people’s lives.
“It is a personal loss to those millions of people at airshows who are not going to see that beast again and hear her howl.”
Mr Lloyd, who is managing director of the Fallowfields Hotel in Kingston Bagpuize, added: “My fondest memory of her was in the late 1960s during the Cold War.
“We were all in kit running out to the airplane and there was a little bit of mist and fog in the air.
“That picture, running out and seeing the Vulcan just standing there all plugged in so that you only had to press four buttons and, whoosh, you were off, was magnificent. I also have an amazing memory when I was in Malaysia and we knew that a Vulcan was going to do a flypast for some reason.
“As she came over our runway the captain pulled her back into what looked like a 60-degree climb. To see that great beast pull up at that angle was incredible.”
Since it was restored, XH558 has been seen by more than 10 million people at airshows.
Dr Robert Pleming, chief executive of The Vulcan to the Sky Trust, said: “At the end of next year, she will need a £200,000 modification to her wings to increase her flying life.
“We know that people would do their utmost to fund this work, but for a number of reasons we have decided not to ask them to take this risk.”
The trust said any mistakes during the “risky” repair would be impossible to rectify and parts, including a new engine, are no longer available.