Last flying Vulcan needs home

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The Independent Online
'ONE CAREFUL owner. Beautifully maintained. Needs good home.' The owner is the RAF and the homeless merchandise this last flying Vulcan bomber, writes Christopher Bellamy. The men from the ministry want to be rid of it.

The 'Save the Vulcan campaign' fears it will fall into the hands of scrap merchants, and today they will carry a model of XH 558 to Parliament to demand the threatened Vulcan, on display at RAF Waddington, is given to the nation.

Next Tuesday sealed envelopes containing offers for the 40-year-old nuclear bomber will be opened. The MoD wants to be rid of it by the end of next month and the RAF Museum already has the one it wants - the aircraft that dropped thermo-nuclear weapons in tests.

XH 558, 109ft long and weighing 50 tons, is airworthy and crewmen are on stand-by to deliver it to its new owner.

To keep the aircraft flying much longer will require pounds 2.5m of immediate maintenance and then an estimated pounds 292,000 a year. And then there is insurance . . . .

If the nation cannot bear the cost of retaining the Vulcan, RAF Waddington would like to keep it airworthy at least until 3 July - the station's air day.

A dignified send-off could be provided on

1 April at a royal review at RAF Marham to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the RAF's foundation as an independent service. There are, however, no plans to include the aircraft in what is a private function.

(Photograph omitted)