Vulcan back in air for first time since Shoreham air disaster

The Vulcan XH558.
The Vulcan XH558.

The last flying Vulcan bomber, based at Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster, was due back in the air today after being given the green light to continue flying.

The Civil Aviation Authority, which regulates UK airspace, imposed restrictions on displays by vintage jet aircraft at all airshows over land after a crash involving a Hawker Hunter last weekend.

High-energy aerobatics are no longer permitted.

But Martin Withers, operations director and chief pilot of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, confirmed the Vulcan will still be able to fly.

He said: “I am pleased to report that I have received assurances from our contacts at the CAA that XH558’s 2015 display routine is not classified as aerobatic and so, consequently, we are hoping to continue to fly on through XH558’s last season with minimal changes to our display.”

It means the Vulcan will fly today at the Clacton Airshow.

The restrictions were brought in after a Hawker Hunter jet, from the 1950s like the Vulcan, crashed during a display at the Shoreham Air Show.

So far 11 people are feared dead in the crash after the plane hit a main road near the display.

A statement from the Vulcan to the Sky Trust said: “Following last Saturday’s tragic accident at the Shoreham Airshow, our thoughts are foremost and uppermost with all those affected by the accident, their families and friends.

“As investigations into the cause of the Hawker Hunter accident commence, the extent of the incident has made national and international headlines. The details have been a great shock to all.

“Despite a previously excellent safety record, due in great part to a world-leading safety culture, it’s already clear that there will be some significant changes to the way airshows will be run in future.”

Four victims have so far been named and two others are missing, feared dead.

Sussex Police say it is likely the final death toll will be 11 after initial fears it could be as high as 20.

The removal of the Hunter jet from the scene uncovered no further evidence of victims, although forensic examination of the site continued.

The remains of the plane have been sent to Farnborough, Hampshire, where Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigators will seek to find out what caused the crash. An interim report is due in the next few days.

Video: Watch the Vulcan flying:

Video: Doncaster Vulcan flies at RAF Waddington Airshow

Vulcan in final flight of 2014 season