The Vulcan’s swan song

The last airworthy Avro Vulcan nuclear bomber will be grounded once and for all at the end of this year, having exceeded its design lifespan and being too old to restore once more.  Designed and built by the same firm that produced the legendary Avro Lancaster bomber of World War II, it’s been an airborne icon in Britain over the past few years.  Its passing will be mourned by many.

Photographer Andy Rouse has captured some spectacular images of the Vulcan in flight over Beachy Head on the coast of England.  Here’s just one example.  (Click the image for a larger view.)

There are many more photographs at the link.  They make a wonderful memorial and farewell to a great aircraft.  In due course, high-resolution prints suitable for framing or mounting may be available from the Vulcan To The Sky Trust, which owns and operates the aircraft.  Watch their Web site for details.



  1. If one should desire to see up close and personal how large is the Vulcan, get thee to Castle AFB air museum. Merced, California.

    Try as I might, I imagine this bird on takeoff. I picture multiple F-4 Phantoms in full burner.

  2. It was AWESOME! It's four engines were at least as loud as a B-52's eight, and had an unearthly howl to them instead of just an ear-and-soul-piercing shriek and clouds of black smoke from the water injection on take-off. It maneuvered almost like a fighter (which some early critics of the Phantom II used to describe it, too). The Vulcan made a hell of an impression at airshows. I saw one entirely by accident while trying to catch a MAC flight on standby at McChord AFB, Tacoma, WA, in May, 1982. I'd have figured all those not on nuclear alert would've been aimed at the Falklands, but no. I got lucky. 🙂

  3. Naval Station Midway played host to a squadron of Vulcans over the Bicentennial celebration in 1976, and my 16-year-old self got a tour of one. What a magnificent machine. Very cramped flight deck, however.

  4. XH558 is barely older than the oldest flying B-52H… which is still in service and expected to remain in service for another 30 years.


  5. I was in the graduating class at RAFC Cranwell in Dec 1990; the Vulcan was our flyover and the pilot's son was in the class. It was low, slow and LOUD.

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