Hopes for a Vulcan flight

PUBLISHED: 10:50 13 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:36 05 July 2010

HOPES are sky high that the world's only flying Avro Vulcan will exhibit at this year's Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival now it has completed its final test flight.

HOPES are sky high that the world's only flying Avro Vulcan will exhibit at this year's Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival now it has completed its final test flight.

The iconic bomber is scheduled to appear on both days of the show on Thursday and Friday, July 24 and 25, but organisers have had to keep an anxious eye on the progress of the restoration following a series of setbacks.

Now with all the necessary checks completed, an application can be made to the Civil Aviation Authority for a permit to fly at air shows, meaning the chances of seeing it here are much brighter.

A final decision is expected in about four weeks and Lowestoft could be one of the first air shows in the country to see the delta-winged Vulcan flying again following a 15-year project costing over £6 million.

About 20,000 people worldwide have contributed to the restoration of the RAF's last flying Vulcan, XH558, and £2.7m has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

If the Vulcan does make it to Lowestoft it will complete an exciting programme of four hours of flying each day in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Royal Air Force.

The RAF will be strongly represented with the world-famous aerobatic team the Red Arrows topping the bill on both days.

A variety of aircraft representing aviation from the past to the present will also be taking to the skies over Lowestoft's Blue Flag beaches for the town's 12th air festival.

They include the legendary Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the solo Hawk and Hawker Hunter jets, the Blades aerobatic formation team of former Red Arrows pilots and the unique Curtiss P40 Kittywake.

Biplanes of an earlier age will also be on view. A Fairey Swordfish from the Royal Navy's unique collection and two Boeing Stearman of Team Guinot, the world's only formation wing walking team are set to appear.

As last year, the air festival will be followed on the Saturday and Sunday by the UK's largest offshore powerboat series, the Honda Formula 4-Stroke Grand Prix - and all four days are free.

Air festival organisers are hoping that record crowds will attend this year's event and show their appreciation by making a small donation. This is the fourth year that it has been organised by a private not-for-profit company run by unpaid volunteers. They are responsible for raising the £300,000-plus cost of the event.

Managing director Paul Bayfield said: “If everyone puts a pound or two in one of the collection buckets it will not only help to meet the cost of this year's event but will help to ensure the future of this great community effort.”

Sponsorship is a vital part of meeting the cost and this year the company has been fortunate in finding a new main event sponsor in the shape of government funded community action group, Lowestoft Together, who have given a £30,000 contribution.

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