Rare Avro Vulcan bomber comes ‘home’

A CHANCE sighting has led to the unveiling of a rare and ‘priceless’ aircraft model in the foyer of a renowned aerospace engineering company.

A 6ft wide version of the last remaining Avro Vulcan bomber, XH558, built by a Takeley model maker Terry Dowbyn has gone on display at Kearsley Airways near Stansted Airport.

It was spotted by general manager Martin Bowman as he was walking down the High Street in Braintree and, being in charge of the company that helped restore the only remaining working full-size version, he could not resist enquiring about it.

“I saw it and thought wow,” he said. “I wanted to get in touch with the man that built it and it turned out to be Martin – it is an incredible model and we have agreed to put it in our foyer as well as take it around various trade shows to put on display.

“Safe to say it is causing quite a stir in the company as people walk past it.”

The names Kearsley and Vulcan have gone hand-in-hand in recent years as the company, based near Stansted Airport, have helped overhaul the landing gears and hydraulic components to keep the aircraft appearing and flying at air shows and trade fairs.

The replica model is a stunning homage to the much-loved aircraft that is under threat as cash continues to be a stumbling block in maintaining such an important part of RAF Heritage.

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Stansted Servisair employee Mr Dowbyn, a self proclaimed airplane enthusiast and expert model maker, says that his model is only one of five in the world and is “completely priceless”.

He explains: “It was actually built around about 12 years ago by using a wooden aerodynamic model used in wind tunnels by British Aerospace as a cast.

“Using fibreglass I covered it and built the model, complete with the XH558 RAF colours – it is so rare that it is impossible to really put a price on it.”

Mr Dowbyn, who has completed a number of models in a professional career dating back over 20 years added: “It is wonderful that Kearsley, who have such a connection with the aircraft, have accepted it as it really completes the whole story.”

Fact file

- The Avro Vulcan is a delta wing subsonic jet strategic bomber that was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1953 until 1984.

- In service, the Vulcan was armed with nuclear weapons and was a part of the RAF’s V bomber force, the United Kingdom’s airborne deterrent against aggression from other powers such as the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

- It was also used in the secondary role of conventional bombing near the end of its service life in the 1982 Falklands War against Argentina during Operation Black Buck.

- Only one example, the XH558, was recently restored for use in display flights and is constantly underthreat due to funding shortages.

For more info and to find out how you can help fund this little bit of aviation history visit vulcantothesky.org.