Mar 03 2009

Save XH558!

Published by at 1:51 am under Misc,Russia,Tech

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Around the time I arrived in Moscow, in mid-2007, Russia resumed long-range patrol flights by its fleet of strategic bombers. For a few months we had fairly regular media excitement as the Tu-95s embarked on a tour of the Frozen North – Scotland, Norway, Canada, Alaska.

Around the same time, thanks to the heroic efforts of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, Avro Vulcan XH558 took to the skies for the first time in fifteen years. XH558 is a truly special aircraft, the last airworthy reminder of a force which once threatened some sixteen million Soviet citizens.

Both Vulcan and Tu-95 were technologically impressive. The Vulcan, with its delta wings and four Olympus engines, was hailed as being decades ahead of its time. And its Cold War rival, the ‘Bear’, remains the fastest propeller-driven aircraft nearly 50 years after its introduction.

Here, though, the similarities end. Russia currently has 64 Tu-95s in service, and expects to keep the type operational until at least 2040. India has another ten. The UK has one flying Vulcan, XH558. And if the Vulcan to the Sky Trust can’t raise £500,000 in the next three days, XH558 may never fly again.

Even in the current global economic gloom, there must be someone out there with a spare half-mil. And hey, the pound’s cheap at the mo.

via Theo

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