For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly

More dearly than the spoken word can tell,

She was built for one thing, and one thing only, to deliver a massive retribution on the atomic scale against a Soviet Empire which, at one time, threatened all of Western civilisation. Her engines were never fired up or used in that promised carnage; but they came in rather handy in a conflict twelve thousand miles south, when Vulcan 607 managed to drop one bomb out of a stick of eight slap-bang in the middle of the Port Stanley runway; thus ending the Argentinean plan to base fast jets on the Falklands. With typical British lack of any kind of pre-planning, 607 was rescued from a planned scrappage schedule, sent down to Ascension Island, and in the single longest flight in Royal Air Force History, along with no less than fourteen Valiant tankers on a re-fuelling saga which enabled the ever-thirsty bomber to fly an astounding 8,000 miles round trip. I had the privilege to ride inside the beast some time early in 1966 whilst working on a ground-based TACAN beacon, but we only ever rode around the perimeter track.

She was a symphony of  steel, aluminium and passion; her sound was so distinctive it became known as the Vulcan Howl; there will never be another, and I hate to see her go!

A cloud in version in Swaledale / Wensleydale as seen from the Buttertubs in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, North Yorkshire. Swaledale Canvas. Swaledale Canvases. Swaledale Prints. Swaledale Landscapes.

6 comments for “For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly

  1. The Jannie
    October 18, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    I thought the early stop was due to an airframe time-out. I’ve read, though, that it’s because BAe and Rolls Royce and others won’t release the necessary paperwork on this fifty year old technology to allow it to be serviced to the necessary standards. Fuckwits.

  2. Mudplugger
    October 18, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    In the late-1970s I was working at a location which lay under one of the Vulcan’s turning points on its regular daily sortie across the country looking for whole counties to incinerate. You could set your watch by the precision of its arrival-time noise – a facet which must have been very helpful to the Russians, our apparent enemies then, and possibly now too.

  3. October 18, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    Noooooooooo, I’ve only just got that out of my head after spending
    six months on Gibraltar, it popped into my head in the last week, took me fecking ages to get rid of that ear worm and now it’s back “there’s a ship lies rigged and ready in the harbour, tomorrow for old England she sails ” aaaaaargh

  4. meltemian
    October 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm
  5. October 19, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Can’t beat a bit of Roger..! 😉

  6. October 20, 2015 at 8:13 am

    So many like you Mike will have very fond memories. I never had the pleasure of flying in one or even taxiing but I did crash the Sim, twice. I managed take-offs and flying it, but the final approach eluded my skills. And I was ‘instrumental’ in the safe and expiditious deployment of a fleet. I arrived at Akrotiri in late ’69 to find that the next ATC Corporal (that was me) was earmarked for building a Flt. Planning section for Bomber Wing. 2 Sqdns of the beautiful beasts. Many a happy hour was spent with the aircrews and I ‘created’ quite a few routes with all the associated maps and Dip. Clearances they needed; turning points, frequencies, all the nav aid info for the trips they made even as far afield as Nairobi ( which I called ‘The Safari Route’)

    I was also the ’cause’ of the only foam landing of a Vulcan at Akkas. After setting up the Flt Planning section and running it for a year I was sent back to the Tower as a runway controller. A Vulcan flown by Sqdn Ldr Joe LeStrange with a junior on a routine circuit and bumps training afternoon, touched down short in the scrub some 100 metres short of the runway. It bounced and landed heavy on the lip of the runway, breaking lumps of concrete from it in a ‘wheels shape’. I called it of course. That set in train an afternoon of (to me) hilarity, with my tiny caravan on the end of the runway crowded out by a succession of senior officers – the Bomber Wing Commander (Wg Co Christie I think), the Gp. Capt. OC Flying (can’t remember his name) and finally the CO, Air Commodore John Stacy. I made tea while they argued as to whether the event has even occured and what to do about it. LeStrange denied it vehemently but I stuck to my story. Heck, I had inspected the runway before taking over the watch and it was all there !! He flew by the Tower for a wheels check: a lightning went up and checked from feet away too. No damage could be seen. A.Cdr Stacy asked me (!!) for my opinion and I said “Lay foam”. Hahaha. He thought it a great ‘exercise’ so foam was laid (It took three hours with LeStrange flying around waiting, and fuming !! Hahahaha). He landed in the foam with half the Base watching from every vantage point and after a wash-down the wheels were found to be fully intact. A claim to fame of sorts !

    Many thanks for your tribute to this magnificent machine.

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