Monday, September 03, 2012

Aviation history - the Vulcan

As an aviation history buff, I appreciate the planes that took aerospace engineering in a new direction. The Royal Air Force's Vulcan's creation in 1952 is one of the unique moments, when a nation in search of a nuclear deterrent commissioned a radical new bomber. The four-engined Avro/Hawker Siddeley Vulcan was to soldier on, first in strategic and then tactical roles, until its retirement after service in the Falklands War. Today an enthusiats' club on shoestring financing keeps one Vulcan flying.  I saw one at an air show in the mid-70s when the RAF was still flying it, and I remember the giant delta-wing was amazingly maneuverable for its size.  It was also suprisingly quiet while it was approaching you - but it made a heck of a roar when it passed. Its only surviving contemporary is the USAF's B-52, which may soldier on until the airframe has 100 years on it, like like some sailing warship of the 18th century.  (Britain, alas, no longer has the capability to build any type of warplane indigenously: the US can build a new bomber, but it keeps losing budget dogfights before it can even reach the design stage.) . Here's to a great old bird.

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