Plans for last Vulcan to fly on into next year unveiled

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THE world’s last remaining flying Vulcan bomber could soar on beyond this year, the group behind the iconic aircraft has hinted.

There were fears from among aviation enthusiasts that the plane, based at Robin Hood Airport, would bow out after its flying season this summer due to a lack of funding and technical issues in keeping XH558 in the air.

But now Robert Pleming, chief executive of the Vulcan To The Sky Trust, has suggested the Cold War bomber could fly on into 2014.

In an open letter to all Trust employees, Mr Pleming said: “Many of you will have noted 2013 being portrayed as the last display season for XH558.

“This is a distortion of what we announced in 2012 - we actually said we are planning for 2013 to be the last season, because we still don’t have any certainty that we can continue flying after this year.

“It is only prudent to plan for the possibility we have to stop.

“However, with the unanimous agreement of the Board of Trustees, I want to let you all know that it is the absolute determination of the Trust to keep XH558 flying for as long as possible, subject to safety and available finances.

“The research into the technical requirements to fly on for 2014 is continuing.”

He added that a successful fundraising campaign over the last three months of 2012 reached nearly 95 per cent of its £400,000 target - enabling the Vulcan to take to the skies at a series of summer air shows.

Mr Pleming said: “The fundraising will of course continue. We will be embarking on a new round at the beginning of February.”