Alistair Maclean's Web Site

In the late 1940's the Dept Of War decided that the RAF needed a new Jet bomber. With the advent of the Atomic bomb, and then the Nuclear bomb, both of which were physically large devices, the need was for a plane with a considerable range and a large weapons capacity. The V-Force was born. The first member was the Valiant, but cracking wings lead to it's untimely retirement. The second aircraft was the Victor bomber. Its crescent wing being well suited to high altitude flight but less so for tree top runs, it ended up as the air-refueling tanker aircraft the RAF relied on for years. The Vulcan, the third aircraft of the V-Force, was a delta winged aircraft with excellent high altitude performance, and adequate low level performance. Until the late 1970's the Vulcan was part of Britain's nuclear strike force, then it was relieved of that role to serve out it's years as a low level conventional bomber. The Vulcan saw service in the Falklands war, bombing the airfield at Port Stanley on a couple of occasions, and in the process establishing the worlds longest duration bombing runs (surpassed by the bombing runs of the B-2's on Iraq in 2003.)

Living for many years in Lincoln in England, I was directly under the flight paths of Vulcan's from RAF Waddington and Scampton. They were an everyday presence. Scrambles, the act of sending up a small flight of Vulcans at short notice, were activities that were felt more often than seen. The 4 Olympus engines at full thrust made a lot of noise, but also moved a lot of air. Airshow antic's involved pilots throwing the Vulcan around the sky as if it were a big fighter (it had a fighter like joystick, not an airliner like yoke), doing vertical climbs off the runway, and wing overs on both sides. It was almost always an impressive sight.

A single Vulcan is now being restored to flying condition.

Static display at RAF Conningsby airsshow

Vulcan Landing at Conningsby airshow


Vulcan upper surfaces

Vulcan Static display at RAF Finningly in 1978


Vulcan XM652 on takeoff

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