The only remaining flying Vulcan bomber plane has returned to its original cold-war hangar, with a special ceremony supported by LS-Live.
A crowd of over 200 admired the Vulcan XH558 bomber plane at its new permanent home in Hangar 3 at Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster, Sheffield, the historic site of former RAF Finningley. The iconic aircraft, said to be one of the most popular planes in the world, will be open to the public and available for private and commercial events.
Plans are also being laid down for a facility for skills development, using the inspirational nature of the Vulcan to provide training and team building for engineering companies. In the longer term, a centre of expertise for the restoration and operation of heritage jet aircraft will also be developed.
"This is one of the biggest steps for Vulcan XH558 since her return to flight in 2007. It brings a new era of opportunities that will help to fund her future and provide new levels of access for her supporters," said Vulcan to the Sky Trust CEO, Dr Robert Pleming.
Aviation event company Directions CIC needed support in producing the event to celebrate the return of the Vulcan and LS-Live was happy to supply staging and production.
Directions CIC Company Secretary & General Manager Bev Moores, who came across LS-Live through working with its new training arm Backstage Academy, said: "I knew what effects I wanted at the event but didn't have much of an idea of what we needed technically. LS-Live provided everything I had hoped for and more.
"Their service was excellent throughout and the people were enthusiastic and helpful. Everything was done brilliantly from set up to strip down, as well as on the day."
LS-Live built a 24' by 12' stage from which the Mayor of Doncaster, Airport Director Mike Morton, Chief Executive of Vulcan to the Sky Trust Robert Fleming, and other guests made speeches. The company also supplied two step units and a truss frame around the aircraft and dinner tables to create a sense of intimacy for diners and to hold floodlights to light up the plane.
Moores confirmed they would be using LS-Live again to install a permanent viewing platform overlooking the aircraft, as well as other bespoke solutions for the internal dividing of the hangar.
Hangar 3 is one of the airport's crescent of Type C hangars built in 1935 and adapted from 1955-57 to take the RAF's new V-Bombers. All three V-Force types were based at the airfield – Valiant, Victor and Vulcan – including XH558 from 1960 to 1968. During this period, Vulcans stood on Quick Reaction Alert, ready to take off in just a couple of minutes in response to the detection of a potential nuclear attack, carrying Britain's nuclear deterrent deep into enemy territory. The original architecture, bomb-stores and even the aircraft holding pans are all well preserved, making this the ideal location for the new visitor centre, for education and events.
The Hangar 3 location will also provide a new events and hospitality venue, managed by Directions Community Interest Company, which facilitates all activities associated with Hangar 3 and Hangar 2. With staging, lighting, catering, audio visual facilities and flexible seating for up to 400 around the Vulcan, it will provide a unique venue for private and corporate events, and for smaller VIP parties which can also include a tour of the aircraft. Vulcan celebrity speakers, including aircrew, can be arranged.
Ideas are also in development for an engineering skills centre that will build on the presence of XH558 and her technical team to provide inspirational training experiences for apprentices and young engineers. "Initial reaction from industry has been superb, with suggestions and offers of help in setting up courses and providing expertise," said Technical Director Andrew Edmondson. "We would like to talk to any company that may find it useful to offer a truly inspiring environment for team building and basic training in areas that may include project management, audit, craft and trade skills, compliance and potentially a lot more. I'd like to understand your needs so we can evolve this unique resource to help satisfy them in an inspiring way."
The last flying Vulcan receives no funding from the RAF or from Government. She is almost entirely dependent on public support. To find out how to help keep her flying, visit www.vulcantothesky.org
Experience the Vulcan at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNDZvpScfIw