‘Eden Project’ plan for Vulcan bomber

Pilot Martin Withers with the Vulcan in its Doncaster hangar
Pilot Martin Withers with the Vulcan in its Doncaster hangar

Doncaster could become home to an ‘engineering version of the Eden Project’ under ambitious plans being drawn up.

The Vulcan to the Sky Trust is looking to develop a major tourist attraction next to Robin Hood Airport, which they believe would be the technological equivalent of the Cornish nature-themed destination.

Aimed at youngsters aged seven to 14, it would give visitors the chance to get a hands-on experience of technology. It would be called the Etna Project, after the workshop of the Roman god Vulcan, and would have activities similar to those run at the Big Bang Fair at the NEC in Birmingham.

Dr Robert Pleming, chief executive of Vulcan to the Sky Trust, was today due to outline plans for the Vulcan now that it is no longer flying. He has also revealed that the trust is now going to restore a Canberra jet bomber to flight, which will also be based at Robin Hood Airport.

He said: “We are confident that it has a great future with tourists.

“As we expand in three to four years, we’ve got great plans for a new building to inspire the younger generation with technology.

“You look at the Eden Project in Cornwall and we would do something similar. They do hands-on experience with biology and plants. We want to do that with engineering. We are working on a strategic plan to make it a reality. There is a site identified and once we build we can move the Vulcan and the Canberra there.

“It is a live airfield and that is a natural attraction for children as they can see aircraft coming in and landing.”

In the meantime, the trust will be running conferences and events in the Vulcan hangar and opening it up for pre-booked tours.

The Vulcan itself will be brought out for powered runs down the runway at speed, but will not take off.

Meanwhile, the experts who restored the Vulcan have revealed they are now looking to restore an English Electric Canberra jet which was once the world record holder for the highest flight.

It wants to bring it back to a state where it can fly again at air shows.

English Electric Canberra WK163 shot into the headlines around the world in 1957 when a prototype rocket motor fired her to 70,310 ft and a new world altitude record.

Since her final flight in 2007, the famous aircraft has faced an uncertain future.

Now she is to be restored. A fundraising campaign in underway and there are plans to bring it up to Doncaster shortly.