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Iconic Vulcan to grace Lowestoft skies?

PUBLISHED: 11:38 13 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:46 06 July 2010

HOPES are high that an iconic cold war bomber will grace the skies at this month's Lowestoft Air Festival despite an anxious wait for paperwork before it can be cleared to fly.

HOPES are high that an iconic cold war bomber will grace the skies at this month's Lowestoft Air Festival despite an anxious wait for paperwork before it can be cleared to fly.

The Avro Vulcan, which wowed crowds when it appeared in Lowestoft last summer after a 15-year restoration project, is currently grounded because its annual permit to fly has not yet been renewed.

The jet's owners and restorers, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, are waiting for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to rubber stamp the plane's permit, which has fallen behind schedule because of delayed inspections of the aircraft.

The Vulcan XH558, which saw action in the Falklands, is the only flying model in the world and was restored at a cost of £6m by the Vulcan to the Sky Trust.

It was forced to pull out of an airshow at RAF Waddington last weekend and although it is less than two weeks until the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival on July 23 and 24, the show's organisers are still hopeful that the popular plane will be granted a licence in time to appear.

Paul Bayfield, managing director of the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival, said: “We heard about the permit issue, but we haven't really heard any more. I'm assuming that no news is good news - I think it's just a bit of red tape which needs to be crossed, and then all will be well.

“We certainly hope it will come to Lowestoft again for this year's show.”

Richard Clarke, from the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, said: “At the moment, the paperwork is in the hands of the CAA and we are waiting for it to come back to us with further information.

“They're working really hard to get this done as quickly as possible.

“We expect the process to take days rather than any longer, but at the moment we don't know quite how many days. We certainly hope to be at Lowestoft. We're keen to have a big presence there as the Vulcan opened the show brilliantly last year.”

The Vulcan is still scheduled to fly in a show celebrating 100 years of naval aviation at Yeovilton, Somerset, today but last night the trust could not confirm whether it would appear.

A draft report about the Vulcan, which needed endorsement by engineers at BAE systems, has been revised and should now have arrived with the CAA for its consideration.

Last summer, the Vulcan bomber was only given the thumbs up to fly three weeks before the Lowestoft event because of another delay getting its permit to fly after it was forced to land early during a test flight due to problems with the landing gear.

The programme for the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival on July 23 and 24 includes the world-famous Red Arrows, a Spitfire, a Hawker Hunter, wing walkers and aerobatic displays.

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