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Avro Vulcan: The RAF V-Force.

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Avro Vulcan Nuclear Bomber.

Sketch of a Avro Vulcan Bomber.

[Avro Vulcan: Sketch by Joe Bosher.]

The Avro 698 Vulcan Design.

The Avro 698 Vulcan was designed by A V Roe and company at Chadderton near Manchester. Technical drawings were starting on the revolutionary delta-winged bomber in January 1947 to fulfil the requirements of the Ministry of Defence specification B35/46. This specification required an aircraft to be able to travel 3,350 nautical miles at a speed of 500 knots with an operating ceiling of 50,000 feet carrying a "special" payload of 10,000 pounds.

Unconventional 4-Jet Delta Wing Aircraft.

The Avro 698 Vulcan was, for its day, quite unconventional in design, being a 4-jet delta wing aircraft. Avro's chief designer, Roy Chadwick, designer of the Avro Manchester, Lancaster and Lincoln bombers, had already started work on the aircraft when it was realised the a jet powered bomber would be needed for the RAF.

The Role of the Avro 707's.

Aircraft taking off.

[Photo: Avro 707: Taking off at the RAF Finningley Air show 1960 photo supplied by Ian Sadler whose dad took the photo during his days of national service.]

Efforts to keep the weight below the 120,000lb mark resulted in the brave decision to dispense with a conventional fuselage and tail to save weight and increase efficiency. Not much was known about delta wing aircraft in Britain at the time, so Avro designed and built five one-third scale test aircraft, the Avro 707 (A and B, and two-seat 707C). These semi-scale prototypes provided Avro with much useful data. The first example, VX784, made its maiden flight on 4 Sep 1949, piloted by S.E. Esler, from Boscombe Down Airfield. This aircraft tragically crashed only a few weeks later, on 30 Sep 1949, killing Esler.

Vulcan B1 for Bomber Command.

The first prototype Vulcan medium bomber flew on August 30, 1952. The Avro Vulcan B1 long-range medium bomber entered production in 1953, with the first production model flying on February 4, 1955. Planned re-equipment of  Nos 44, 50 and101 squadrons of Bomber Command and No.230 Operational Conversion Unit squadrons, with this type was completed by the beginning of 1960. The B Mk 1A had electronics in a bulged tail-cone but was otherwise similar to the B Mk. 1. Both versions carried five crew members, and progressively more powerful turbojets were installed during the production life of the B Mks. 1 and 1A versions of the Vulcan.

The Vulcan B2.

The Avro Vulcan B2 was an extensively developed version of the basic design, featuring a wing of reduced thickness/chord ratio with more pronounced compound sweepback on the leading edges and slightly swept trailing edges. A prototype flew for the first time on 31 August 1957, and the first production aircraft flew a year later. Deliveries to No 83 Squadron commencing in July 1960, and No. 617 Squadron was the second unit to receive this type as well as being the first to receive the Avro Blue Steel Mk. 1 stand-off missile which was the standard weapon of the Vulcan B2. The Vulcan B2 was initially powered by 17,000 lbs thrust Olympus 201 turbojets but was progressively re-engined with the Olympus 301.


Non Stop Flight from England to Australia

[Editor] Another helping hand to our many non-74th site visitors. This visitor, Phil Taylor, was successfully directed, by yours truly, to the National Aircraft Museum.

The Request from Phil.

" I was actually just reminiscing about past times, My Father Clive Taylor Navigated this Non Stop Flight from England to Australia, I still have his flight Log Books and Signed Photos from the occasion.

"Unfortunately, he passed away a few Years ago shortly after attempting to reunite the crew.

"I really was hoping for some thoughts on what I could do with these flight logs and Photos as I would like to donate them to somewhere or someplace where they might be of interest.

"Phil Taylor
Group EH&S Manager.
Indodrill Group of Companies."

The Vulcan Flying Record.

On 20-21 June 1961 the first non-stop UK - Australia flight was made by a Vulcan of  No 617 Squadron. The flight involved three aerial refuellings (over Cyprus, Karachi and Singapore) and covered the 11,500 miles (18,510 km) in 20 hr 3 min - an average speed of 573 mph (922 km/h).

Vulcan BMK1A XH 481

Aircraft taking off.

The Crew.

Aircraft crew.

The Original Newspaper Cutting.

Newspaper Cutting.

The Recent Newspaper Cutting.

Newspaper Cutting.

Sketch of a Avro Vulcan Bomber crashing.

Witnessing a Vulcan Crash at Wingate.

The closest I ever got to a Avro Vulcan was in 1971 when I was a teacher, on duty at playtime, in the schoolyard of Wingate Secondary School, County Durham. The kids and I just stood and watched, immobilised, as we witnessed the Vulcan crash at Wingate in the field next to the school.

The Aircraft Ablaze but All the Crew Escaped.

Press report reads "On January 8 1971 XM610 from No 44 Squadron based at RAF Waddington and captained by Flight Lieutenant G.R. Alcock encountered trouble while taking part in a low-level sortie in Northumberland. Whilst climbing away from a low-level manoeuvre, two engines caught fire and, although they were both extinguished, the left wing continued to burn.
The crew baled out while the pilots attempted to reach RAF Leeming. However, as the aircraft became more uncontrollable, they decided to clear the Tyne area and direct it out to sea. But now the rear fuselage was well alight and when fuel tanks started exploding, the pilots ejected. The aircraft crashed in a field near Wingate, County Durham. Flt. Lt. Alcock received the Air Force Cross".
The kids loved it.


I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has any stories about this aircraft; humorous, technical or historical. Please use the Feedback Form to contact me briefly, in the first instance.

Joe Bosher (74th).


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