XH558 is the last flying Avro Vulcan, one of the most iconic examples of all-British technology from a period when our engineers and airmen were widely recognised as the finest in the world.
Based in the modernised World War II hangar from which she operated during much of the Cold War, she is owned by a charity that depends on public support to maintain her and to fly her at airshows across the UK. She costs a mere £2.2 million a year to maintain!
A group of us paid her a visit in March and we were treated to the history of the aircraft; from the early days of the design to her antics in warming up the cold war; and the vital role she played in the Falklands Conflict.
The aircraft in Hangar 3 is XH558 and she is lovingly looked after by a small team of volunteers.
Initially designed to carry nuclear bombs, she helped to keep the world on track by simply being a deterrent to the cold war powers - yes, she could be scrambled and deliver devestating nuclear bombs, would the cold war enemies take the chance? Fortunately not and here she sits with her custodians telling us the interesting stories.
Even more interesting is that one of our number - Adrian Sumner, is an ex-Vulcan pilot who actually flew her and her sisters. He told us many interesting stories about her flying days in the 10,000 hours he clocked up!
Well worth a visit if you get the chance to pop along to Robin Hood airport, formerly RAF Finningley where XH558 lived and breathed in her working days.