Welcome to twitterVforce.com

What is the purpose of #twitterVforce?

As the title suggests, it all began on Twitter and it is related to the Cold War era V-Force Nuclear carrying Royal Air Force bombers.

The purpose of #twitterVforce Hashtag is to help to promote & raise awareness of the V-Force preservation projects, such as the Avro Vulcan & Handley Page Victor preservation.

When you tweet Vulcan, Victor, Valiant content on Twitter, don't forget to include a #twitterVforce hashtag! This ensures maximum exposure & retweets etc. which in turn helps to 'spread the word'!

Our new #twitterVforce Crest!


Yellow Sun Cider

2016-08-23 12.49.53

Welcome to the latest blog from us here at #twitterVforce – and from the messages that I have been receiving, a very anticipated blog.

Yellow Sun Cider

This all came about in the Autumn of 2015 when I teamed up with my local cider producer Nick Edwards at Ciderniks in my home village of Kintbury to help out with the years pressing of tonnes & tonnes of apples – general chat turned to V Force (as it always seems to do with me) and an idea sprang into both of our minds at the same time.

How about making a cider and name it with a V Force theme?

Instant agreement

Various ideas for names were thrown into the hat from Vulcan Cider to V Force Cider but to me that was not quite punchy enough.

Cue stage left and a very good friend John Wood @bombbayjohn (he of Avro Vulcan 60 glorious years, XH558 volunteer and  cake eater).

A quick message to John et voila ‘Yellow Sun’.

Why Yellow Sun?

Well, it was the name of the very 1st British Nuclear Bomb that was designed to be carried by the trio of the RAF’s V Force Bombers – Vickers Valiant, Avro Vulcan & Handley Page Victor and was developed & assembled locally here in the ‘Nuclear Triangle’.


Here is a Yellow Sun Nuclear Bomb with outer casing removed. This particular one is at Newark Air Museum (@NewarkAirMus) and sits proudly near Avro Vulcan B Mk.2 XM594. Many thanks to Howard Heeley (@DTEPHoward) at NAM for the photo.

A few pictures of ‘Yellow Sun’ with Yellow Sun will no doubt soon follow.

I could write a whole thesis on Yellow Sun but to make my life easier have a click on the link below to read all about this ‘Bucket of Sunshine’.




Apples, apples, apples – tonnes & tonnes of them awaiting the press, all gathered and gained from various locations.


Apples get placed into the ‘muncher’ (my description) where they are smashed to a pulpy apple mush)


The pulped apples then get built into ‘cheeses’. A slotted wooden square gets a layer of sacking, then the pulped apples, then another wooden square and so on and so forth until you have a good layered cheese


Squeezing time – a hydraulic press then squeezes the cheese and the juices start flowing. The smell in the cider shed by this time is outstanding, the heady aroma of apples really is mesmerizing.


Pure apple juice straight from the press


The pressed remains of the apple pulp are then removed from the sack cloths and placed into black plastic bags awaiting collection from the local Pig Farmer so he can give his porkers a tasty appley treat – though he has to get it quick before it starts to ferment or else we would be seeing rather wobbly & raucous pigs!



The apple juice is then pumped into 1000 ltr tanks where it is to stay for 12 months whilst the magic happens. Nothing is added to this elixir as there is plenty of natural yeasts floating around the cider shed that sets off the fermentation.


It had to happen – Cider shed ZAPPED by #twitterVforce


Onwards to August 2016 and the apple juice had now been transformed into cider. Time for blending to acquire a new cider especially for #twitterVforce.

This folks was not an easy task (as you can guess). It took hours to perfect, and the result was that we went back to the very 1st blend that we did (sound familiar gents?).

And in the traditional fashion, the blend is a closely guarded secret.


Now the serious bit, you may think that its all a matter of blending, tasting, fettling & more tasting however, you are wrong.

As you know, all alcoholic drinks contain varying amounts of alcohol. So how do you measure this?

This is where Chemistry comes in in the shape of an Ebulliometer.

As we all know, water boils at varying temperatures depending on atmospheric pressure, temperature & weather conditions. This device firstly measures the current condition allowing you to then ‘bring to the boil’ your product and by then using a guide looking like something that would not seem out of place on an engineers desk, measure the alcohol content precisely.

If you need to know more about this process have a look at the video below by following the link. The clip shows wine testing but it is exactly the same process for Cider



Blending day with yours truly, Warwick from The Catherine Wheel, Newbury and Cider Maestro himself, Nick Edwards.


The last 12 months have been a great learning curve for me in the art of cider making & I am heading back this Autumn to start the process all over again.

Yellow Sun cider will see its deployment on Monday 19th September 2016 at The Catherine Wheel (@cathwheelnew) after a days journey by barge from Kintbury to Newbury.

If you are passing Newbury please do pop in for a pint.

You can also purchase Yellow Sun Cider & others (the Cider Vinegar is stunning) via Nicks website:


You can also follow Nick on Twitter: @Ciderniks

Now here is the good bit …………..

For ever Pint/Bottle sold we will be making a donation to the Vulcan To The Sky Trust, so not only will you be getting Cider but you will also be securing the future of Avro Vulcan XH558.



#CakeBytes at #NAMTributetoVForce

#CakeBytes at #NAMTributetoVForce

Via Lindsay Rumbold (@Lins_Rumbold)


So, after a conversation on Twitter at the beginning of 2016, and a visit to Newark Air Museum just before Christmas 2015 (courtesy of my parents, who I seem to have made into plane geeks!), I offered, via Rod, to make a cake for the V-Force Reunion there this May.

Not just any cake. A Vulcan cake. Specifically, an XM594 cake.

So, how do you make a cake shaped like a Vulcan?

First of all, I had to decide how big it should be. The limiting factor here was the size of heavy duty cake boxes for transport – pointless making a cake if we couldn’t actually get it to Newark – and it turned out the biggest size easily available took an 18” square cake board.

As for the cake itself, I settled on a vanilla madeira; madeira is dense enough to support the icing, and also take the complex carving a Vulcan shape needs. [Fruit would be too lumpy, and some people don’t like chocolate cake. A traditional madeira would be lemon, but I’d have to zest far too many lemons for that.]

A sponge cake should be 2” smaller than the cake board it’s on. As a Vulcan’s largest dimension is its wingspan, this gave a target cake wingspan of 16”.

For shaping the cake, I had actual blueprint images to make into cutting templates, and the team at Newark sent me many photos of XM594 from various angles for me so I could get her right. So, I scaled the blueprints and printed them out to make my templates – in A3. Gulp. I knew it was going to be big, but I hadn’t visualised quite how big till then!


The next task was to work out how to assemble a Vulcan from madeira; at 16” wide, multiple bakes were a necessity, but I wanted to have as few separate cakes with as little wastage as possible.

A Vulcan may be a delta, however, it’s only when you try and fit bits of it into a square that you see just how much the B2 wing varied from the original, true delta planform.



I calculated that 2 x 8” square cakes (wings and central fuselage), plus an additional 6” square (mostly nose and cockpit), would do the trick. This meant I could make it in stages: each madeira (even the small 6” one) pretty much took a day to prepare, mix and bake. Once cooled, each cake was well wrapped and placed in the freezer, ready for assembly day.

After a lot of thought, and research, I planned to cover the carved cake in white fondant, let it dry, then paint her camouflage on freehand. The vertical stabiliser would have to be painted freehand anyway.

For the vertical stabiliser, I had to make that well in advance using pastillage. This, if you’re interested, is a type of icing which dries rock hard and is the least affected by humidity or temperature (compared to flower paste, for example). However, it forms a crust very quickly, making it a pain to shape, and it’s also very brittle once dry – as I learnt with TSR2 when I kept snapping bits. But after a bit of practice (and sandpaper for final shaping once dry) I ended up with reasonably representative vertical stabilisers.


Painting my first pair of vertical stabilisers provided the first trial of the icing paints: a set of gel colours which can be mixed in various ways to produce almost any colour you like.

So I knew where to paint, I marked out as best I could the camouflage pattern on the dried pastillage with a grey food safe felt pen. For her other markings and squadron badges, I used more food safe pens to make sure I can capture the finer detail. (Food safe felt tips are awesome.)

I ventured online and saw LOTS of discussion regarding correct Vulcan paint colours, not much of which was helpful from an icing perspective. In the end, the best way to match colours was the Mk1 eyeball and numerous photos of XM594 herself.


Various experiments later, and I finalised colour recipes for forest green, medium sea grey, and the browny-gold of the aerial locations. For some reason, the sea grey was the WORST to replicate.

The result: two painted vertical stabilisers that looked pretty good, especially with squadron markings added with the felt tips.


[If anyone is particularly interested in the exact details, just ask me – I will be developing a Victor tanker khaki, and probably a Typhoon grey, at some point soon as well.]

Tailpipes were a bit of a challenge. Finding representative 301 series tailpipes to use as a model was actually rather tricky: all our Corgi Vulcan B2 models have 201 series tailpipes. Grr.

Anyway, with the help of some photos from Rod and John, I somehow managed to use black flowerpaste to sculpt what Dave called a pair of gorilla noses which were a set of Olympus 301 tailpipes that would sit in slots on the back of the cake. I even made them different for port and starboard. Once dried, the outer surfaces got dusted with silver edible dust (so the inside of the tailpipes was black, the outside silver).

Have I mentioned I’m a bit anal about detail?

In the meantime, I’d decided to ice the cake board in a kind of sky effect (as I did for TSR2 ), just because I felt it would look a bit better than a plain silver board. When I did the trial bake, I realised we had quite a bit of free space at the front by the nose, so I messaged Rod to suggest we put the #tVf and #NAMTributetoVforce logos on for the final product.

Once the cake board was iced and had had a day or so to dry, it was cake carving and assembly time. This was the most complex single operation with multiple steps:

  1. Level cakes (as cakes tend to rise more in the middle than the edges).
  2. Lay the cakes in position, then cut out the Vulcan B2 planform.
  3. Carve all the other detail in the cakes, such as the cockpit lump (technical term) and shape things like the ECM pod and all of that. Cut slots for the vertical stabiliser and tailpipes.
  4. Final assembly: put the carved cakes in position on the board and stick them together with buttercream.
  5. Cover the whole cake in buttercream.
  6. Cover the cake with fondant icing and shape.

For various reasons, I was behind starting the trial cake. Things got even more complicated when, trying to level the (still frozen) trial cakes for assembly, I sliced two of my fingers badly enough to require a trip to A&E.

At this point Dave, probably not wanting to see me hack anything else off myself, wondered if a putty knife would be useful for cutting and carving the cake.

He fished out one of his, washed it, and we tried it on some of the cake offcuts. To our surprise, it worked far better than expected – so we went out and bought a brand new putty knife, purely for cake use.

Seriously, if you’re new to the whole cake carving thing, a putty knife makes it very easy to carve complex shapes. Plus, it spread buttercream evenly over the carved cakes with minimal effort. (You may need to sharpen the edges a tiny bit, though. Just make sure you buy a stainless steel one.)

Once the cake was carved and thoroughly covered in buttercream, the next task was to roll out the fondant icing (over 1kg of it – which took some rolling) and gently cover the assembled cake in it. Once I smoothed the fondant over the cake, I added details, shaped around the cockpit and defined panel lines, referring to photos and the model.


I also wedged the vertical stabiliser into the slot I cut in the cake and fondant – and it fitted. And it stayed upright. Without wobbling or snapping. The black flowerpaste tailpipes also fitted into their slots with no issues.

Then, the icing had to dry before the next stage – painting.

This was the fun part. Now, anyone who’s listened to Craig Bulman (or read his excellent book) will know each Vulcan is unique – and I was keen to make this cake specifically XM594. Thankfully, Rod and the team at Newark provided me with many pictures of XM594 from various angles.

My next task was to draw her camouflage on. Freehand. And by eye.


I used a grey icing pen (as I did on the vertical stabilisers) to sketch on the rough lines and mark which colours went where. On the final cake, I had a last-minute panic when my grey felt pen ran out partway through marking her up – requiring a 30 mile round trip to dash to the nearest place I knew would have them in stock!

It was round about this time I started wishing I’d just done XM603 at Woodford … 😉

Then, it was painting time. Thankfully, the recipes I developed for the vertical stabilisers did indeed prove repeatable, and I carefully followed my lines to colour her in. First, a couple of coats of green, and then the sea-grey after a few hours of drying. I used felt pens to colour her roundels and add a few other details, and painted her intakes black.


A cocktail stick, painted with a couple of coats of different blue and silver nail varnishes, doubled as her refuelling probe.

And then … we had a cake. A Vulcan cake.


I carefully stuck on the edible icing logos Rod sent me a few days earlier, and relaxed a little – though I didn’t breathe a full sigh of relief until we safely delivered Cake XM594 to Newark that Saturday.


I was honoured that Vulcan Test Pilot Tony Blackman OBE, MA FRAes and Squadron Leader Anthony Wright BA unveiled the cake – and even more so when the cake was ceremonially cut on Saturday afternoon by Squadron Leader Dick Russell (of Black Buck 1 fame – I think he enjoyed the opportunity to hack a Vulcan to bits!).




It was humbling to hear the frequent “wow” and “look at that cake!” from those passing. I was just pleased to have made a cake which was definitely a Vulcan and recognisably XM594 (from her vertical stabiliser, at least).

In return for a slice of the cake, we asked people to contribute to Newark’s Project Panini – fundraising for their new café facilities.

I found it interesting that people really didn’t want to hack through the cake fuselage – maybe it was a bit too Vulcan like for comfort!


I would like to thank all at Newark Air Museum for their hospitality, and especially Howard Heeley for his help with images of XM594, and also the fact he trusted me (a complete stranger!) to make such a cake for their special occasion.




Dave’s design input – #twitterVforce Insignia

An addition to the #twitterVforce Insignia design blog via Dave who created the planform overlay V Bombers:

Well here was the thing, neither of us had ever designed a squadron type crest before – So it was a rather nice little design project for us to tackle!

The challenge was to create something eye catching and fitting to the subject matter.  Should we do something modern and simple, like the #twitterVforce stencil header of the main website or traditional?  If modern we didn’t want to look corporate or a company as we aren’t one – If traditional then should we make it look like a squadron crest or even an adopted squadron badge style?  We opted for traditional, but naturally the crown had to be substituted or removed completely, since we’re not actually an RAF squadron or affiliated to the crown armed forces Her Madge might get a bit miffed otherwise!

Typically the traditional squadron crests have a laurel leaf type border so we thought we’d stick with that plus keeping a banner and latin moto would be fitting also.  So then came the tricky bit, how to incorporate the V Bombers into the design!

The easiest and most obvious one to start with would be the Vulcan.  Everyone (pretty much) recognises the Delta shape aeroplane, especially looking down (or up) at it’s impressive wingspan, iconic slender cockpit & nose section, so it made sense to use that same profile.  That has been used in lots of publications, patches, badges, even t-shirts over the decades so was a good start.  There have been a number of patches which have used a similar layout, such as the ‘triangular Vulcan patches’ with camo Vulcan and the aircraft serial beneath or probably most recognisable the Vulcan Display Team badge with the white Vulcan profile and overlaid panther head.  I also have a rare patch with similar camo Vulcan and all of the individual Vulcan squadron crests surrounding it. So that was the Vulcan sorted, stick with what has been used by many for decades, including RAF Vulcan squadrons!

The other two aircraft, the Handley Page Victor and Vickers Valiant wouldn’t be so easy!  –  Real avgeeks might recognise the Valiant in either side or wingspan profile but is certainly the least recognisable of the three.  The Victor is probably most noted for it’s face on profile, those large wings, underwing pods, the imposing and iconic air intakes plus the ‘don’t mess with me’ cockpit design.  That all adds up to the Victor being most recognisable looking straight at her, rather than from the side or above/below.  In fact when you put them side-by-side the Victor and Valiant above/below profiles are too similar so that wouldn’t work.

Right then, how do we get all three in there so they can be recognised? – Rod had tried the layout of all three, one on top of the other but didn’t seem to work…

Flash of inspiration time! – I grew up in a small rural village, in fact only a few miles away from what was RAF Finningley, now Robin Hood Airport, the home of Vulcan XH558.  Since an early age I’ve been an outdoors sort of person, I even spent many winter days as a baby wrapped up warm and stashed in a pram under the propped up garage door cos I just cried if taken inside!  From the age of about 15 I was into shooting as a hobby, sport and general pastime.  All kinds of shooting, from simple airguns to high velocity sniper rifles, small bore pistols to high calibre handguns and shooting in competitions against armed police units alongside former special forces soldiers and operators, plus game and vermin shooting… Now those last couple provided the inspiration for the planform insignia, surprising as that might sound!

The sight of Land Rovers was common, we used one for off road access onto land for shooting, as did many others, many of these sported a badge or logo in the windscreen, a bit like a National Trust Badge as often seen nowadays.  In the country, the most commonly seen windscreen sticker is that of the BASC – British Association for Shooting & Conservation

Their logo is rather simple, three easily identifiable and associated profile shapes – A pheasant, a wildfowl and a gundog, all overlaid.  Very simple and apt.

So, now to fit them into a small circle!  –  The Vulcan was the obvious starting point, it’s three pointy bits, nose, two wingtips fitting into the circle nicely without stepping out of line then somehow to get the other two in there somehow.  Since none of the V Bombers looked anything like a pheasant, wildfowl or gundog and the BASC had pipped me to that post it needed a different take.  Getting them to look right, identifiable and scalable was the key.  Grey Vulcan, white Valiant and black Victor seemed to work.  The face on Victor profile looks good, coming right atcha out of the insignia, showing off her ass kicking side!

So there you go, sent over to Rod and onwards to Stuart to do the rest of the design and make it just right!



Farewell to the Vulcan – A Photographic Odyssey


This is a blog about my personal relationship with Vulcan XH558, and an eight-year quest for a perfect photograph. I apologise now for any self-indulgence, but it seemed important to mark the passing from my life of the last flying Vulcan, so I decided to compose a retrospective in words and photographs. I hope at least the latter will be of interest to other fans of XH558.

It may seem unusual for a writer specialising in naval aviation to blog about an RAF aircraft, or indeed to become a little bit obsessed with it. This obsession began when I saw the RAF’s Vulcan Display Team flying XH558 at the Southend Airshow in 1990. In fairness, the Vulcan has had a long connection with maritime and naval operations, from supporting the predominantly naval and amphibious campaign to recover the Falklands to 27 Squadron’s spell as a maritime reconnaissance unit with the Vulcan B.Mk2 MRR variant. (See ‘When God of Thunder became Mighty Hunter’, http://navalairhistory.com/2012/05/06/when-god-of-thunder-became-mighty-hunter/). But anyone who has seen the Vulcan, particularly in those days, should understand. If you know what I’m talking about, there’s no point in my trying to explain it. If you don’t, the same probably applies. Suffice to say that as a 13 year old boy who had already been going to airshows for several years and was largely into piston-engined warbirds, the Vulcan had a profound effect on me.

I’ve tried to analyse this a bit over the years. The phrase that came to me then, and refuses to be replaced with anything better, is the one that Douglas Adams used to describe the Vogon spaceships in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, ‘hanging in the air the way bricks don’t’. I was used to Spitfires and the like. The Vulcan just didn’t fly the way they did. As it ghosted along off Southend seafront, impossibly slowly, engines hardly audible, it was hard to see how it stayed in the air. Then, a sound like distant thunder, seemingly unconnected to the aircraft before me, growing and growing, and suddenly the huge aircraft was standing on its tail, the ground was shaking beneath my feet and the air vibrating in my lungs. That’s not hyperbole – it was actually happening. Then, to cap it all, it tipped into a vertical bank that shouldn’t have been possible in such a large aeroplane…

There are aircraft displays you see and hear. They might be spectacular and deafening. But there aren’t many displays you feel in your feet and chest, where your brain tells you your eyes can’t be seeing what they seem to be. For whatever reason, I didn’t see ‘558 again with the RAF, but in a way I didn’t need to. The memory of that blazing hot summer day in Southend stayed with me.

I had been into photography in 1990, in a solitary, self-taught way and with nothing better available than the 35mm compact camera that was all my parents could afford. There was no point taking photos of aircraft in flight (you would have needed a magnifying glass to make them out) and it wasn’t until I could afford an SLR (a second-hand film Canon EOS 500) in my 20s that I began to try. After a few years with the film body I picked up a second-hand digital 350D. My first ‘airshow’ lens was a Canon 100-300mm AF, which was a good place to start, but didn’t give me enough magnification so I found a 2X teleconverter. The combination was unwieldy as hell – autofocus didn’t work so I learned to focus manually, and with the 350D’s cropped sensor I had something near 700mm available, which in retrospect was nuts.

It would be fair to say I was overjoyed when the prospect of XH558 returning to the sky became a reality, and she first got air under her wheels in 2007. Back then, the aviation commentariat was riven by vocal idiots who were implacably opposed to the Vulcan’s return. They insisted ‘558 would never fly and the supporters’ donations would be wasted. If it did fly, they said, it would be once or twice. Maybe three times, for the big shows, and then she would be retired from the sheer cost of operation. (At least one of these failed jeremiahs has since gone on to profit handsomely from ‘558 by releasing a book on the aircraft).

Against this background I was determined to see the Vulcan at least once more – and the naysayers may have had something of a positive effect in that they persuaded me to donate more than I could reasonably afford in the hope that it would help. There were three big shows in 2008 that ‘558 was sure to make an appearance at – Waddington, Farnborough and RIAT. Farnborough was the nearest to me, so I duly booked up. I wanted to experience that physics-defying display again, and capture just one decent photograph if I could.

Farnborough International Airshow July 2008

It was a gloomy, gloomy day. I was still using my ridiculous lens combination at the time. In hindsight I didn’t need the teleconverter, even for Farnborough which has a pretty long flightline meaning the displays tend to take place at a fair distance, wherever you are along the crowd line. Looking back at my photos from that day, there must have been a bit of sun poking through the cloud just as XH558 took off as her upper surfaces are shining as the tiny skin ripples pick up the light.


For all sorts of reasons, the display was probably more conservative than the one I’d seen before, but for a couple of moments the air was filled with the Olympian roar that seems to cocoon you in sound, and I was right back on that Southend seafront. I must have been intent on the display as I only took a handful of images. Perhaps I couldn’t zoom out enough to frame the aircraft! My best photos were of the take-off and landing. I can still almost feel her thundering by, wheels about to hit tarmac.


Biggin Hill Air Fair June 2009

The 100-300mm/teleconverter clearly wasn’t working, so I scraped together the cash for a new lens. I’d spoken to people at airshows who used the Canon 100-400mm lens with auto-stabilisation, which seemed to be the standard ‘serious amateur’ lens. I couldn’t begin to afford this, but Sigma did a much cheaper 120-400mm lens with ‘Optical Stabiliser’, so I bought one of these from Japan on eBay.

I don’t think I ever went to a Biggin Hill Air Fair where the weather wasn’t perfect. In the mid-late 2000s it was my favourite airshow, and, at that time, on my doorstep. In order to see the Vulcan twice, I bought a ticket for both the Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was blazing hot, and the airshow organisers clearly knew what they were about – as XH558 arrived, running in from crowd left, Avro Lancaster PA474 was waiting at the end of the runway to take off and XH558 virtually flew right over her. I managed to get a couple of shots with both aircraft in frame, hopelessly distant and rippled by heat-haze.


Since switching to digital, I was learning fast but still on the steep part of the learning curve, and basics such as using the light metering to best effect were beyond me. I experimented with shutter speeds and apertures, and though I didn’t really get it at the time, Biggin Hill wasn’t the best site for photography as the South East-facing crowdline (at which I invariably parked myself at the wrong end) meant shooting towards the sun much of the time. My best images from this show were of the underside of the Vulcan. As I was learning, there are generally preferred angles for aviation photography and as a rule the front and top of the aircraft seems to be considered better than beneath/behind – although the Vulcan, with its distinctive shape, can break many of the accepted ‘rules’. Still, the underside is often in shadow, and it wasn’t until I improved at working with my pictures in Photoshop that I managed to get any of my Biggin pics to an acceptable standard. Even then I was hardly delighted with them.



I didn’t go to the Sunday show – I had allowed myself to get horribly sunburned on Saturday and was sick in bed most of the day. XH558 didn’t go either. In those days she suffered a number of technical niggles that sadly prevented her from getting to a number of shows.

Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford, July 2009

The Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford was a bit of a no-brainer for Vulcan-spotting. At the time, XH558 was based at Brize Norton, just a few miles away – any technical issues would have more time to get fixed, and the chance of poor weather affecting the transit were minimised. Fortunately, XH558 was problem-free at RIAT on the Saturday. Interestingly, XH558’s operators had engaged Martin Withers as chief pilot. Withers had piloted Vulcan XM607 on Black Buck One, the daring Falklands raid that put the Port Stanley runway out of action for Argentinian fast jets early in the 1982 conflict. This struck me as a bit of a coup, especially with Rowland White’s fantastic 2006 book ‘Vulcan 607’ having raised the profile of the Black Buck missions.

I was somewhere to the left of the display line this time, unlike Farnborough, so I was able to see the ‘display take off’ from the other side. I managed to mess up what would have been reasonably spectacular photos and none of them are pin-sharp, but the Vulcan’s great wake of jetwash was well in evidence giving a certain amount of dynamism to the shots. I decided to try converting to B&W to help cover up some of the errors and make the shots a bit more atmospheric. I was using a reasonably large aperture, so the foreground and background are a bit out of focus, which helps emphasise the aircraft.


In retrospect, I might have been having trouble keeping the Sigma lens, which was very heavy, steady. It would be several years before I managed to make the Optical Stabiliser work satisfactorily.

The 2009 display routine was slightly more dynamic than the 2008 one, where the speed never went over 180kt. Martin Withers introduced a new opening with a curved run-in to show the topside off, and a high-speed ‘bombing run’ accelerating up to 300kt. It certainly felt on the ground like the team had made things a bit more spectacular. Over the years, various tweaks would be made to the routine to help show off different aspects of this wonderful aeroplane.

Saturday 18 July 2009 was as dull a day as Farnborough had been the previous year. One thing I was finding out from bitter experience was that it was much harder to take decent photos in low light. It sounds obvious, but I lacked the capacity to get the best from my camera in these conditions so most of my photos of ‘558 in flight from this period are pretty awful, but I did manage one OK close-up of the nose during the landing roll, at a fairly low shutter-speed to give a bit of motion blur in the background. Typical of my luck, a slight rise in the ground has obscured the wheels.


RAFA Shoreham August 2009

I’d been a fan of the Shoreham Airshow since I first went in 2007, so when I heard that XH558 would be performing there on both days in 2009 I bought a ticket for each day again, hoping for better luck than I had with Biggin Hill. Finally, a good day with light in a reasonable direction meant I was able to get a pic I was pretty happy with. In the 2009 routine, ‘558 would follow the initial high speed run with a level break and curve back round towards the display line, then turn along it and climb steeply to 1,200ft. It was this moment I captured, and whenever I see the pic I can feel the engines thundering.


I went back the next day, full of excitement for a repeat of the display. Unfortunately, due to one of those little technical niggles, there was a breakdown in communication and the crew couldn’t hear the controllers giving them clearance to display. We could see the aircraft holding offshore – it was pretty frustrating! Eventually, contact was made and ‘558 came in for a truncated display before heading down the coast to Bournemouth. Even so, when the aircraft went into its final spiral climb, she almost seemed to be directly overhead. It was pretty special.


Dunsfold Wings and Wheels August 2009

I’d been to Dunsfold Wings and Wheels once before – my brother was part of the team that restored Ayrton Senna’s 1984 Toleman and I was invited down to photograph its first run out in public. In 2009 I took advantage of the Vulcan To The Sky Club’s enclosure which was available to all members. Sadly, it was another dull day with a low cloud base that restricted XH558 to relatively shallow climbs so the customary thunder was not quite as much in evidence as usual. As I had found before, low light really hurt my photography and I must admit that to this day I’ve never quite got on top of this.

One feature that was a bit more evident than usual against the pale grey cloud was the exhaust from the four Olympus 202 engines, which under certain throttle conditions seem to put out an inordinate amount of smoke. The dull conditions sapped any colour from the images, so I tried black & white on a few again, one of which showed a pleasing curving trail of exhaust smoke.


Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford, July 2010

By 2010, it was apparent that the naysayers had been proved spectacularly wrong. Not only had XH558 flown again, she had managed a pretty full display season with shows at everything from the big shows, Farnborough and RIAT, to smaller, friendlier seaside shows like Dawlish and Lowestoft, and even displayed in a couple of shows on mainland Europe.

I had enjoyed RIAT so much in 2009 that I decided to go again in 2010. The weather was much better than in 2009 and although the hoped-for topside shot eluded me, I did get one I wasn’t too unhappy with of ‘558 banking away, blue sky and white clouds in the background, light just beginning to illuminate the nose and leading edge.


We were treated to a great deal of ‘aerodynamic braking’ on landing, where the pilot kept the nose up for much of the landing roll, using the drag of that big delta wing to bleed the speed off. (Apparently it costs several thousand pounds to re-pack the braking parachute, so this isn’t used unless it’s strictly necessary).


In the landing pic, it’s possible to see part of the large crowd, all intent on the aircraft. From XH558’s return to flight the phenomenon known as ‘The Vulcan Effect’ was quickly in evidence, and nowhere more so than at RIAT. As the aircraft taxied to the end of the runway before a display, you would invariably see people springing up from chairs everywhere, pushing towards the fence. The sound of turbines spooling up would be punctuated by a tattoo of camera shutters. There’s no denying it is a very special aeroplane to a lot of people, and wherever it goes it turns heads.

Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival August 2010

The East Anglian seaside town of Lowestoft had had an airshow since 1997. The Southend airshow no longer existed, but shows like Lowestoft and Clacton had started in the meantime, and I was thrilled at the opportunity to see XH558 over the sea again. My parents live in Essex and occasionally come to airshows with me, so I stayed with them the night before and we went along in the morning.

Lowestoft has a huge, broad, sandy beach that faces East South East. Once again, I failed to appreciate how this might affect photography. This was a minor concern compared with the weather. It was distinctly chilly for August, and heavy rain showers had been sweeping through all day. I was resigned to ‘558 staying away. I just didn’t see how the aircraft could make it through the weather. Then, at around three o’clock, the clouds parted and there was XH558’s unmistakable profile in the distance as she held offshore.

I don’t know whether the aircraft sounds different over water or whether it’s just perception, but it seemed to. There was more of an echo to the roar. In among all the rainstorms, the light had a sort of bilious, yellow quality which was reflected against the nose and tail as the Vulcan pulled into its final climbout. The angle of these photographs is not dissimilar to the Shoreham ones, but the odd light and the brooding sky give them a very different feel.



I was lucky with this show. The entire middle of the British airshow season was wiped out by appalling weather, and XH558 missed four shows on the trot, including Shoreham which I had tickets for.

Abingdon Air and Country Show May 2011

The naysayers had been proven well and truly wrong about the sustainability of the Vulcan, and it was now a regular fixture on the airshow circuit. Nevertheless, I was determined to see ‘558 as many times as I could. I was, quite simply, hooked. By now I was booking airshows solely based on whether ‘558 was going to attend.

I’d never been to the Abingdon Air and Country show before, but since moving to Southampton in November 2010, the Oxfordshire airfield was within easy reach. The weather was typical of the fine late springs we had for a number of years. It was a charming little show with a surprisingly full and varied lineup – crowned of course by the Vulcan, which was due to close the show. I chatted with Phil O’ Dell, the Rolls Royce test pilot who had been added to XH558’s list of left-seaters, and he was thoroughly charming and fascinating, signing my programme and chatting about the aircraft. (I was always a bit overawed and star-struck on the occasions I met Martin Withers so this was nice).

On this occasion, XH558 arrived from crowd right, and for once I was reasonably well-placed to capture the curving approach! The clouds had started to build but the light was still good and I managed a topside shot that I have not really bettered since. Result!


The display was wonderful, noisy and dynamic and I think much closer to the display line than I had seen before. Another favourite moment came during the simulated landing, and I managed to capture ‘558 as the landing gear folded away and the jets opened up for the final climb out.


A great display and a wonderful way to wrap up the event. And finally some more decent photos after over 18 months of trying!

Yeovilton Air Day July 2011

The Yeovilton Air Day was another new show for me, surprising perhaps as a naval aviation enthusiast. Having moved house the previous year, it was now much more within reach. As I’d come to expect for July, the weather was dull, and RNAS Yeovilton has a South-facing flight-line. Still, I was (more by luck than judgement) at the right end of the display line to catch the topside approach, and to cap it all, XH558 did a couple of formation flypasts with my other favourite aircraft, the de Havilland Sea Vixen XP924 – the V-bomber and V-fighter together was a real treat! My photograph of the two aircraft breaking formation makes it appear that they are only feet from each other – they aren’t, it’s the foreshortening effect of the telephoto lens.


Still, the extent of the dull weather made the photos very ‘noisy’ and washed out. They still weren’t what I was looking for. Even the upgrade of my camera to a second-hand Canon 450D didn’t help much.

For a second year, ‘558 failed to make it to Shoreham so that was my 2011.

Clacton Airshow August 2012

It was almost another year until I saw XH558 flying again. A week after the aircraft poignantly led a flypast to unveil a new Falklands War memorial, two engines were damaged beyond repair and had to be replaced. This led to the beginning of the display season being missed, but ‘558 was back in time for RIAT, where pilot Kev Rumens stunned the watching crowd by appearing to roll ‘558 almost inverted at the top of the takeoff climbout. The display routine seemed to have been made a bit more dynamic each year – the spiral climb had been moved from the end to the middle, making for another high-power manoeuvre in the set, for example. The addition of Kev to the left-seat roster made things more dynamic still. I still kick myself that I wasn’t there to see it.

As I slowly, painfully learned how to be a better airshow photographer, I was finding that it’s not enough to have a perfectly lit, sharp and framed photograph. It needs to have dynamism and movement. No-one wants to look at a photograph of an aircraft sitting there placidly as if it’s not even moving. At almost any angle of pitch and bank, the Vulcan starts to look exciting. When straight and level though, photos don’t really do the aircraft justice.

For the first time since 2008, I only went to one airshow where ‘558 displayed. This was Clacton, in August, an airshow near my parents’ house, which I usually attend every year. It was a nice bonus to see the Vulcan booked at what is effectively the ‘spiritual successor’ of Southend’s 80s and 90s seafront airshows.

Before that, I had see another Vulcan, this one strictly ground-bound, with the wonderful XM655 fast-taxi at Wellesbourne in July. My 400mm lens was way too much, and I ended up at the wrong end of the runway when I let poor advice overrule my instincts, but I managed to capture the moment that pilot Mike Pollitt lifted the nosewheel and half the port main bogie too!

Later that month I managed to keep up my record of seeing ‘558 at least twice every year since ’08 when, thanks to Twitter I managed to spot the aircraft over my house as it transited between the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Yeovilton Air Day.

It was a beautiful day at Clacton, deep blue skies and a few white fluffy clouds. Phil O’Dell was piloting, and while he didn’t throw it around quite like Kev Rumens, it was a spirited display. I have since found out that the Vulcan is an easy aircraft to climb, with its powerful engines and huge wing area, but hard to lose height in. For that reason, the pilot rolls into a banked turn when the desired altitude has been reached, and quite often they go ‘over the vertical’ to help drop the nose to descend for the next manoeuvre, and I was able to capture one of these steep wingovers. I find it a reasonably interesting shot, regardless of the fact that it’s of the back and underside, with a bit of jetwash rippling the tail but the rest of the airframe sharp.


‘558 had been repainted this year – contrast the somewhat faded appearance in some of the previous shots to this one. She was looking very glossy and sharp.


Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford, July 2013

Since I’d gone freelance in 2010 I was generally less able to afford airshow tickets, especially RIAT, which tends to be at the pricier end, but thanks to a photographic competition run by the Royal Aeronautical Society, I won a ticket to the 2013 event. The photograph I entered? The balked landing climbout shot of ‘558 from Abingdon two years before.

At RIAT, Kev Rumens was flying again and while he didn’t quite repeat the almost-half-roll at the top of the initial climb that he had the previous year, it was by far the steepest wingover I’d seen and maybe up to 45 degrees beyond the vertical! The photos were rubbish but they capture the moment, so here’s one. It was the cloudiest, gloomiest day I’d experienced at RIAT, but Kev’s flying made up for it. I’m only sorry none of my photos was remotely presentable. I only took a few, perhaps I was gawking too much.


Not content with just being spectacular in the air, Kev landed ‘558 with the longest ‘nose-up’ roll I had seen, the tail bumper hovering inches above the tarmac (I’m not sure it didn’t touch once).


Clacton Airshow August 2013

The organisers of the Clacton Airshow, with some savvy, had decided to book XH558 for the Thursday and the Red Arrows for the Friday, so there was a big draw on both days. Once again the weather was superb – until shortly before the Vulcan was due to display when a thick mist rolled off the North Sea! The perils of seaside airshows. This killed any hope I had of decent photos.

It did have a side benefit though. The famous ‘Vulcan Howl’, which I haven’t mentioned before but is such an important part of the aeroplane’s display, seems to be amplified in humid conditions.

The howl, for those who haven’t heard it before, happens when the throttles are opening and seems to be a function of huge volumes of air being sucked into a narrowing intake by two engines set side-by-side. Oddly, the 200-series Olympus engines make the sound but the more powerful 300-series don’t. It’s an unearthly sound. A single, low-pitched note that sets the hairs on the back of the neck standing on end, and it drops in tone as the turbine-whine increases. You can only hear it at certain angles to the aircraft. It’s yet another characteristic of the Vulcan that sets it apart. To my eternal regret, you can’t photograph a howl, and it’s a bit late for me to get into sound recording.

It doesn’t get more humid than a seaside covered in mist, and as the Vulcan tipped into a spiral climb the crowd was treated to not one but two of the loudest howls imaginable as she came round each time.


Yeovilton July 2014

By 2014 it was apparent that we were in the last couple of years of Vulcan operation. Even though the cynics had been proved utterly wrong, there was only so much airframe life, engine life, and engineering experience. What goes up must come down.

I’d gone down from four ‘Vulcan’ shows a year to one or two, but in XH558’s last years I was determined to squeeze more sightings in, partly to say goodbye, partly to savour the experience as much as possible, and partly because I was still hunting for that perfect photograph.

Once again I had to wait until July before I got my first sighting – Yeovilton Air Day. Blisteringly hot for a change. In an effort to minimise shooting towards the sun, I stationed myself at the right end of the crowd line, which turned out to be the wrong end for any topside passes. New for 2014 was a change to the display take-off – instead of pulling into a climb and rolling out at the top, the pilot pulled the aircraft straight into a banking turn virtually as soon as the wheels had left the ground. This was, I’m told, a favourite feature of many of the display flights from the 80s, and it was pretty spectacular. If the photos revealed the angle of bank to be less than it had seemed at the time, seeing an aircraft manoeuvre like that with its gear down still seems pretty astonishing.



More or less all of the images during the flying display I managed to screw up, leading me to wonder if I had in fact learned nothing in the past six years.

On landing the aircraft, though, Martin Withers evidently felt there was too much speed or not enough runway and streamed the braking chute, which I’d never seen this before – as mentioned previously, it was a rarely-used asset because of the expense of repacking. By chance I captured the moment the drogue released, and managed a couple with both aircraft and chute. I posted the drogue shot on Twitter and was asked to provide some pics of the chute itself by one of the team that had helped pack it, which I was only too happy to oblige.



Clacton Airshow August 2014

Clacton again. It’s always a bit special to see the Vulcan circling out over the muddy grey North Sea, the spectator boats and wind turbines as a backdrop.


It was another lovely day at the seaside show, and I managed to get a couple of decent photos too. Nothing to match the Abingdon ones, but a nice shot of the beginning of a climb, and a side-on shot as she curved away at the top.



Dunsfold Wings and Wheels, August 2014

A day of mixed weather at Dunsfold on the Saturday – there was a little blue sky, but barely enough to make a Dutchman a pair of trousers. Once again, I was in about the right place to catch ‘558 as she curved in from crowd left, showing the top of that distinctive delta profile, and despite the gloom, a decent photo or two resulted. Pretty noisy, but sharp.


Duxford Airshow September 2014

The final show of my Vulcan year was at Duxford, a place I had never managed to see the Vulcan before. (I’d been to one show where she was on the bill in October 2008, but weather prevented her from coming). I’d never managed to see ‘558 in formation with the Red Arrows, as she had done several times in both her RAF and post-RAF career, but at Duxford, a flypast was staged with two Folland Gnats, one wearing Red Arrows colours and both streaming smoke, so this was the next best thing, and I was pleased to see the Gnats in formation as I’d missed the first such flypast by going to the wrong day at Dunsfold. Again, the foreshortening makes it look as though they are closer than they really were – the starboard Gnat seems to be resting its nose on XH558’s wing!


The sun shining in bars through the dense cloud formations provided some artistically interesting aspects.


There had been a few more changes to the display, potentially to favour engine life over airframe life. One such alteration was that the final climbout was entered at higher speed so lower power could be used. The result of this, I’m told, was that the climb and wingover at Duxford was the steepest yet experienced! The picture certainly seems to bear this out. The upper surface of the wing was in shadow, but there was some nice liquid light on the nose.


Naturally, as she rolled right into the wingover, presenting her entire upper side to the light at a still-impressive angle of pitch, far closer than I’d ever been, I ballsed up the photo.

Old Warden July 2015

One show in 2012, three in 2014 and four in 2015, the last year of Vulcan operations. I’d have happily made it five or six if I could have afforded the tickets and the time. The first was the Old Warden Military Pageant at the Shuttleworth Collection’s Bedfordshire home. I’d last been to an Old Warden airshow in the 1990s and it was lovely to be back. It was the Vulcan’s first and last appearance there. The weather was pretty good – generally sunny, with only the one or two light showers and a bit of cloud affecting proceedings.

The wonderful thing about Old Warden, where the Vulcan is concerned, is that it has an L-shaped flightline. This meant that in almost every case where a normal display would have had a straightforward flat flypast, XH558 flew a curving, topside pass! I was in photographer’s heaven, and finally managed to take a couple of more-or-less classic topside shots to equal or better the ones I had taken at Abingdon with my old camera back in May 2011.



Bournemouth Air Festival August 2015

I had a ticket to the Shoreham airshow, intending to go on the Sunday. The tragic Hunter crash led to the display being cancelled. After thinking about things for a while, I decided to go to the Bournemouth Air Festival instead. The shock did not seem to have sunk into the airshow world the day after the accident, and in many respects it felt like a normal airshow, somewhat different to the two shows I went to over the following seven days.

After I got thoroughly soaked for several hours in the morning, the sun decided to come out in the afternoon and it was a glorious day by the time XH558 arrived, early (presumably due to the cancellation of the Shoreham display) at about three o’clock. There was no topside pass, but it was a great display with some wonderful, haunting howls. The last of these, as the throttles were opened for a last pass, was possibly the loudest and longest I had heard. A development for the 2015 season was the ‘zoom climb’ – an acceleration to 300 knots, and pitch-up into a steep climb that takes the aircraft all the way to 7,500 feet! As XH558’s nose tipped up, I saw a phenomenon that was new to me – beautiful, tubular contrails formed, streaming off each wingtip, and turned rainbow colours in the sun.


As she roared up into the blue, in an ever-steepening climb, sun burning off her paintwork, it was one of the most beautiful, moving sights I had ever experienced.


Clacton Airshow August 2015

Clacton was a relatively late booking for 2015, and turned out to be the first major airshow held after the CAA had imposed restrictions on vintage jets. Ironically, these didn’t apply to airshows held over the sea, but it was clearly having an effect on aircraft operators and airshow organisers, as for whatever reason, the Clacton display was the gentlest Vulcan display I had seen since Farnborough in 2008. Moreover, the aircraft was so far away from the crowd that it was hard to feel any connection to the display. It was totally understandable, but felt anti-climactic. Only in the final climb and wingover did something of the old magic return, and I was pretty pleased with one of the photos of her, ‘hanging in the air the way bricks don’t’.


Dunsfold Wings and Wheels August 2015

My last chance to see XH558 in the air where she belongs was Dunsfold Wings and Wheels – my third airshow in seven days. The weather forecast was poor for both days, so I hoped for the best and went on the Saturday. It started bright, but got steadily duller as the day went on. XH558 arrived at around three o’clock again. The display, in the hands of Kev Rumens, was much more like the old display than the one I had seen at Clacton, and the intake howl rang out over the airfield two or three times, although the zoom-climb was no longer permitted, and bank-angles were restricted. Good photos were in short supply. It didn’t seem to matter. As she rolled level at the top of the climb and cruised away, the rain began to come down, steadily, and then more and more heavily. The sky was weeping for the last flying Vulcan, soon to have her wings clipped forever.



Not quite yet. During the drive home, as I reached Hamble I saw out over the sea through the murk a long, thin form, thickening in the middle. It looked like the Vulcan does as she flies directly away. Surely just my eyes playing tricks? Apparently XH558 had flown to the Isle of Wight that afternoon, and thought I had caught my last, indistinct glimpse.

Shuttleworth Uncovered October 2015

Of course, then it was announced that ‘558 would do one more airshow, at Old Warden. After nearly wearing out the refresh button on my computer (demand crashed the Shuttleworth website) and spending half the next morning on the phone, I had tickets. Understandably in view of what had happened in between, the display was less spirited than the one earlier in the year, but the crowd still got its howls and roars, and a touching flypast with a distant relative, Shuttleworth’s Avro 19 Anson.



Farewell to the Vulcan Tour, Middle Wallop October 2015

The roads around Middle Wallop and the Museum of Army Flying were full like I’ve never seen them. Cars and people lined the roads for miles. Every so often, little ripples would pass through the crowd, as someone following Twitter would reveal a new update and it would scatter through the mass of people waiting to catch one last glimpse of the delta silhouette. Typically, she caught us out, curving in from behind the main hangars nearly five minutes ahead of schedule, and treating everyone to an unexpected circuit and pass with the bomb-doors open. The sky had formed into odd, glowing scales of cloud, and as ‘558’s throttles opened up and she headed, roaring, smoking, into the beyond, it looked appropriately volcanic. They aren’t great photos, but they capture that lurid farewell.


If I have to remember her flying away though, perhaps the best way would be as she had been at Bournemouth – screaming into a blue sky, rainbow contrails streaming, casting shadows on the clouds, and finally swallowed up in the immensity.



Matthew Willis is a writer, editor and journalist specialising in naval aviation. He runs the blog http://navalairhistory.com and has been hooked on Vulcan XH558 since 1990.

Follow him on twitter via @NavalAirHistory


A piece on XH558’s award-winning final appearance at RIAT


A description of the Vulcan’s 2009 display routine



Vulcan XH558’s Final Flight


 The latest blog submitted to us here at #twitterVforce comes courtesy of Sam Scrimshaw.

Sam has been volunteering with XH558 for nearly 2 1/2 years in the Hangar and at Air Shows up and down the country in the Vulcan Village.

For those of you who attended #OperationFinningley back in March you may well remember him as being our Official #twitterVforce auctioneer.

Enjoy the read and marvel at the pictures.

Give Sam a follow on Twitter:



As you will know, Wednesday 28th October 2015 saw the final ever flight by XH558, the last airworthy 4-jet engined All-British Aircraft and V-Bomber in the world.

The flight was shrouded in secrecy over fears that too many supporters would turn up and block access to the airport, potentially causing catastrophic impacts to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, as any costs incurred would be passed on to them.

But, despite these fears, 558 was ready to go. Signed of as airworthy for the final time by ‘Taff’ Stone and the engineering team before being handed over to the aircrew, Just to wait for a gap in the truly Great British Autumnal weather. It didn’t look good – grey clouds, rain and fog shrouded the airport in gloom! However, in true British fashion, the gathered guests remained optimistic that XH558 would fly – despite the gloomy outlook.

At about 10:00 the visitors in the hangar were informed that the weather in the morning would not allow XH558 to fly, and thus would mean that XH558 would miss the timeslot allocated by the airport to her.  (Sigh, I guess we might not see one more flight).


‘No morning flight! Not what anyone wanted to Hear, Talk or See”


However, the airport had agreed to offer 558 another opportunity to make the historic final flight later on in the day, where the weather looked more promising (Yay!).

Tours were offered around the aircraft to the journalists to help to pass the time, with some trying their hand on the Vulcan flight Simulator – Most flights ending in balls of flames and twisted wreckage to remarks of “How do they actually fly it? You can’t see where you’re going!!” (Now imagine doing it over the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War when you had curtains across the windows, It really isn’t easy!) – While others took the opportunity to film interviews with the crew for the day.

With lunch being served, the news filtered through that the weather conditions had improved enough to allow XH558 to fly; the rain had stopped; the clouds were breaking and the fog was lifting. Once again, 558 had her guardian angel watching over her, as had been the case so many times during and since the restoration.

The aircraft was ready, the crew were ready and (Finally!) the weather was ready too. The six great hangar doors were opened and XH558 exited to fly for the final time.


‘the light beckons’


‘that famous Wristband’ (& a #twitterVforce one)


There was already a gathering of people outside the fence, most had been there all day (some had been there all week just hoping that they would see that final flight!), but they had sat outside through wind and rain and this was what they had come to see.

News spreads quickly, especially when it’s the final flight of one of the most loved display aircraft ever, and more people were turning up. By now, XH558 was out on the pan with the team carrying out final checks before engine start whilst the assembled press were piling into minivans to take them to their vantage point out on the airfield.

With the live stream up and running, thousands of people were able to witness XH558 start up, Taxi and take off for the final time before being grounded. And what a take-off it was! The wet runway creating a dramatic spray behind XH558 as she thundered down the runway and leapt into the air for the final time, with Bill Ramsey holding 558 at around 100ft while the gear retracted before pulling up into one of the most perfectly executed wingovers I’ve seen.




‘hold it level while the gear retracts’




‘banking over’


Lovely stuff! Wide circuit, then time for a fast pass down the runway.


‘fast pass’


Airbrakes deployed, Break left, wings covered in fluff and contrails from the wingtips!


‘airbrakes deployed’


Wide circuit, Gear down, lined up, Gear up, pass beck down the runway, climbing break left, more fluff!


‘fluff on the wings and contrails from the wingtips’


Gear down again, final approach, Touchdown! Well, that’s it. XH558 has landed for the final time – or so we thought! Airbrakes retracted, Engines spooling up and up she goes again!  Getting us all emotional too early! Circuit back around, gear down, airbrakes out, FINAL final approach and touchdown. Brake parachute deployed, and the tears start to flow from all around.


‘the final landing in front of the brilliant engineering team’


‘streaming the brake parachute’


We always knew this day would come and that XH558 would always have a final flight, but now that it’s over the realisation strikes. That was the last time anybody will see a Vulcan fly. The long taxi back to stand took forever. Maybe it was just the sadness sinking in, maybe it was the crew wanting to savour every last minute of those final moments they had. Maybe it was both.

As XH558 turned onto the pan, the airport fire and rescue service paid their tributes. A fitting Water Salute making a perfect arch over the last flying Vulcan. Damn, that’s set everyone going again!


‘the water salute’


‘an emotional salute to a Cold War icon’


And with that, the engines are shut down and the crew emerge from the ‘coal hole’. Martin Withers DFC, Bill Ramsey, Johnathan Lazzari and Phil Davies. (Smile and Wave boys, smile and wave!)


‘those magnificent men and their flying machine’


But it isn’t just the aircrew that deserve all the applause. The tireless work of the engineers, more often hidden away behind the hangar doors than not, that actually allows the aircrew to take 558 and show her off to so many people, deserves huge plaudits. 10 years ago, if you asked anyone if a Vulcan would ever fly again, they would have told you that you were mad! Without the hard work and dedication that they have put in over that time, none of this would ever have happened. So naturally, they posed for a photo too!


‘great work guys’


And that is nearly it.  XH558 was towed into the hangar, nose in. A new configuration for a new era!


‘mission accomplished, return to hangar’


The fence was full. Everybody wanting to catch that final glimpse of 558’s second life who could get to Doncaster was there, and, in a gesture of thanks, Andrew Edmondson invited them all to come into the hangar to get up close with XH558.


‘Martin Withers (beer in hand) speaks to 558’s adoring fans’


And so the day ended as many had done so throughout this summer. XH558 surrounded by her fans, but this time there wasn’t the sense of excitement you have at an air show, it was more of an air of sadness with a very generous helping of pride!


‘reflecting on the end of an era’


And so that brings an end to XH558’s wonderful, magnificent, inspirational, awe-inspiring (I’m running out of nouns here!) flying career. There’s been highs and lows, good times and bad, but through thick and thin, she has had the most amazing support from you, the general public. It may be over now, but her flying life will live on. In tales told by people who watched in awe as she howled overhead, to the multitude of YouTube videos showing her greatest moments.

“This is not the beginning of the end. This is the end of the beginning.”


‘who would say no to a free bar’

With thanks to Andy Hellen (@AndyHellen65) for the permission to use some of his excellent images 


#twitterVforce – Our NEW Insignia – A development story

 The desire to have some kind of insignia for #twitterVforce has been mulling around for about 3 years now however, as usual having a pipe dream is one thing, reality is a different kettle of fish.

How, why, what, where, when & who springs to mind. As most of you are aware, I do, at times, come up with some crazy ideas for #twitterVforce, some have been achieved (#OperationFinningley & #OperationCosford being a couple) and the no no’s, well they will stay between myself, Dave & Sam.

The biggest thing for me was to find an artist who would take on the challenge to make the insignia come to life so through the power of Twitter (again) I sent a DM to one such artist and simply asked him

“How do you fancy this challenge however I have NO cash?”

The reply came back nearly instantaneously

“Yes, no problem whatsoever especially as it’s #twitterVforce”.

A big grin appeared – I am totally indebted to Stuart Fowle for undertaking the challenge and producing an absolute masterpiece.

You can follow Stuart on Twitter @ColdWarJets

Make sure you have a look at his superb website:


As you will see below, I have added plenty of images of the progression with a little bit of explanation as to the subtle differences to each one.

A couple of folk have helped me out with the ‘design concept’ & ‘proof reading’ of the insignia as its been in development so many thanks to Dave for the planform overlay V Bombers design & Squadron Leader Anthony Wright BA RAF for his technical input.

 Oh, and if your asking the Latin motto translates as:

‘Where there is harmony, small things (will) grow ‘




Initial designs were hand drawn by my fair hand, as you can see I’m no Van Gogh. This is just one of the many scribbled efforts to get a basic ‘feeling’.




The basic designs were sent up to Dave and from a distance I could hear the occasional snigger. This shot was taken off of a PC screen and was the first design sent down. As you can see it included the 3 Company Logo’s for the 3 V Force Bombers – Avro, Handley Page & Vickers


Now, not to get into any kind of legal wrangling’s with the companies the logo’s were dropped, so as you see we had a basic planform design of the V Force – Vulcan, Valiant & Victor.


Lets drag a Squadron badge off of t’interweb and stick on the planform. This was the image that was finally sent off to Stuart to see what he thought and if it was possible. The Crown had to go immediately to be replaced with a ‘shorthand’ version of the #twitterVforce tag




The 1st image back from Stuart and WOW – looking rather fetching already and the planform V Force sits in the centre a treat. The hard work was yet to come ……


As you are all aware, Squadron badges wouldn’t be Squadron badges without a Squadron Number – so in went our ‘unique’ number(s) 2010 – symbolising the year that #twitterVforce was founded (I realised later that I had done a blooper as you will read later).




The hardest part of the whole design was to get the laurel leaves around the outside of the design & on top of that to get the scroll in place. As you will notice an extra Gold band was inserted at this point to counterbalance the gold of the reef.



A bit of Stuart’s wizardry happened for the next incarnation for the design to try and get the laurel reef looking more realistic – Hand drawn markings to ‘bring to life’ the leaves.


At this point I was feeling quite chuffed with the project but wanted an experts view on the design. Enter Ex Valiant & Vulcan Nav Rad Sqdn Ldr Anthony Wright. the design was duly sent to him for his expert view – 1st thing Anthony noticed was that the Valiants wingspan was not wide enough as in reality, she is wider than the Vulcan. Not an easy thing to adjust as it would upset the whole balance of the Insignia however when Anthony suggested a roundel in the centre and that the roundel should be based on the ‘Anti Flash White’ roundel it was kind of ‘Roger that Sir’ – so in it went.


The balance of the design still looked a bit ‘out of kilter to me’ and so we decided to elongate the scroll so that it was the same width of the Insignia. Also at this point Anthony informed that I had a typo with the latin inscription – I had put in ‘crescent’ instead of ‘crescunt’. This was duly changed. and we also decided to increase the colour of the roundel by a couple of shades to make it slightly bolder.


The finished result with its final ‘tweekings’. The ‘shorthand’ #twitterVforce tag had its ‘#’ removed and changed to gold – Ah, also the fatal typo that I had earlier made (and pointed out by Dave) was amended – Our unique Squadron number was change from ‘2010’ to ‘2012’ – the year of #twitterVforce birth.


Vulcan Zappers & Squadron Badges

Vulcan Zappers & Squadron Insignia

Folks, the latest blog from #twitterVforce comes courtesy of a very good friend of ours. 

 Sqn Ldr Anthony Wright BA RAF.

 Anthony has very kindly sent us pictures of various Squadron Insignia and ‘Zapper’ badges that he has accumulated over the years.

I have included Anthony’s bio below so you can see his credentials, in addition to this he has also co written ‘Valiant Boys’ alongside Tony Blackman and contributed to ‘Vulcan Boys’, both of which can be purchased via


Hope you enjoy this little insight into the ‘Vulcan World’ especially as Anthony has added a few little stories to the occasional badge.


‘Tony’ Wright joined the RAF in 1960. After initial training at RAF South Cerney, he trained as a Navigator at RAF Thorney Island, RAF Hullavington and RAF Stradishall (1960-1962), flying the Vickers Valetta, Vickers Varsity and the Gloster Meteor Night Fighter 14. 

As a Pilot Officer, and now a Navigator, he served both on Coastal Command and Bomber Command Communications Flights flying the Avro Anson at RAF Bovingdon and RAF Mildenhall (1962). 

After completing a weapons course at the Bomber Command Bombing School (BCBS), RAF Lindholme, flying the Hastings, and a course to fly the Valiant at 232 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), RAF Gaydon he entered the V-Force as a Flying Officer. He served on 148 Sqn as a Navigator Radar flying Valiants a RAF Marham (1963-1965). In 1963 he was selected to fly a Valiant for the Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC) to trial the first RAF low level flying routes in Canada at RCAF Goose Bay, Labrador. With the sudden demise (metal fatigue) of the Valiants in 1965, he went on to fly the Victor at RAF Gaydon. He converted to the Vulcan at 230 OCU, RAF Finningley and was then posted to RAF Cottesmore, serving on IX (B) Sqn. He was also detached to RAF Tengah, Singapore, RAAF Butterworth, Malaysia and RAAF Darwin and RAAF Amberley, Australia during Indonesian Confrontation (1965-1966). In 1966 he was posted to 35 Sqn, RAF Cottesmore also flying Vulcans and promoted to Flight Lieutenant. 

Flight Lieutenant Wright took part in the Strategic Air Command (SAC) Bombing Competition in Washington State, USA in 1966, and was selected again in 1967. That year he flew westabout, via the Pacific, to Singapore and back. He became Navigator Radar Leader on 35 Sqn in 1968. He took part in regular detachments and training exercises all over the world – Australia, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Italy, Libya, Malaysia, Malta, Norway, Singapore and the USA. He had become one of the very few who could claim to have flown all three V-Bombers. 

In 1969 he was posted to RAF Tengah, Singapore, as Station Intelligence Officer, and in 1970 served on the staff of the Commander-in- Chief Far East in the War Room at the Tri-Service HQ Far East Command, Singapore until the withdrawal of the British Forces in 1971. On return to the UK he completed the Staff Navigation Course at RAF Manby, flying Dominies, and became Station Navigation Officer and Combat Survival and Rescue Instructor at the RAF College Cranwell (1971-1975), flying Jet Provosts. During that time he completed Sea, Land and Winter Survival Courses in the UK, Canada and Germany, two Jungle Survival Courses, one of which was with the Malaysian Infantry in Malaysia and various escape and evasion and interrogation exercises. The most challenging escape and evasion exercise was with the SAS in the Pyrenees. In 1975 he was posted as an instructor to 230 OCU at RAF Scampton, flying Vulcans and Hastings, instructing on radar navigation and bombing for Vulcan, Victor, Buccaneer and Phantom aircrew (1975-1978).   He took part in the Icelandic ‘Cod War’ flying nine and a half hour sorties in Hastings spotting the Icelandic gun boats and reporting their positions to the Royal Navy ships patrolling the area so that the RN could intercept the Icelandic ships and thus protect our fishing vessels. He also carried out regular Oil Rig patrols in the North Sea in both Hastings and Vulcans. He was promoted to Squadron Leader in 1978. 

Squadron leader Wright served in Flying Wing as Squadron Leader Bombing and Navigation Systems Officer at RAF Waddington (1978-1981). He then served on 50 Sqn, RAF Waddington as Navigator Radar Leader flying Vulcans and was selected for the Red Flag night flying and bombing exercises in Nevada, USA. During the Falklands War he was detached to the War Headquarters at RAF Northwood for Operation Corporate as Vulcan adviser and helped plan and execute the Vulcan Black Buck raids on the Falkland Islands. After the Falklands conflict his squadron, the last remaining Vulcan Squadron, was converted to the Tanking role when he became the first and only Vulcan Tanker Leader. On disbandment of 50 Sqn on the 31st of March 1984 he was posted to the Nuclear Directorate in the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall. In 1987 he was posted to the RAF Armament Support Unit, based at RAF Wittering, where he was Second in Command and also Officer Commanding Training Squadron, responsible for the training and standardisation of all RAF aircrew and engineers specialising in the nuclear role. 

He retired from the RAF on 1st of July 1998. 

In August 1998 he secured a post at Headquarters Air Cadets, RAF Cranwell which was responsible for both the Air Training Corps (ATC) and the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) RAF. He was commissioned again, in the same rank, this time as a Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force Reserve (RAFR) in a post entitled Squadron Leader Corporate Business. He decided to finally retire on the 1st of January 2003 – his 61st birthday.

As you can see, it is an honour and pleasure to know Anthony, and with a service history to our country that he has, he has the utmost respect from us here at #twitterVforce

Sir, we salute you

(and if you like, you can follow him on twitter via @JohnWri1)


 50 Sqn Bombers and Tankers RAF Waddington 1984

50 Sqn copy

 35 Sqn and 27 Sqn

27 and 35 Sqns Copy

 Falklands RAF Waddington 1982 and 230 OCU RAF Scampton

Falklands & 230 OCU_0003 - Copy RCAF Goose Bay 1984

RCAF Goose Bay Waddington Zapper and 25th Anniversary of Vulcan At Scampton

Waddington and Scampton

(I attended the 25th Anniversary of the Vulcan in 1981 at Scampton and showed Roy Chadwick’s Elder Daughter around and in Vulcan.)

Red Flag 1982

Red Flag 1982

(I went on Red Flag at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas in 1982 as the 50 Sqn crew. Stayed in 2 Casinos for a few weeks! Most of us 5 RAF crews there were involved in the Falklands shortly after. These are the patches that we wore on our 50 Sqn crew).

 230 OCU Scampton

230 OCU Scampton

(230 Operational Conversion Unit patches we wore at Scampton. 1975).

IX (B) Sqn Various


(I was on IX(B) Sqn, Vulcans, at Cottesmore 1965 – 1966. Official motto ‘Per Noctum Volamus’ (We Fly By Night) Unofficial motto ’There’s Always Bloody Something’. These zappers much latter. Also on Tornados).

50 Sqn

 untitled (32)

Note top one is a tanker with HDU (Hose Drum Unit) underneath tail. Hose in. The Omega signifies the end.

 The Falklands 1982

Waddington 1982 Falklands

(Zappers the public loved for their cars).

SAC Bombing and Navigation Competition 1966

SAC Patch Big Flight 1966

(I was one of the three crews from RAF Cottesmore that took part in the 1966 SAC Bomb Comp in the USA, at Fairchild AFB, in the Johnnie Appleseed State of Washington. I was on 35 Sqn Vulcans. Hence my 35 Sqn and the SAC badges that we wore on our flying suits. I was chosen again in 1967 and the Bomb Comp was re-named Giant Voice. As we stepped out of the a/c on our very last training flight at Cottesmore we were told by our Sqn Cdr that the competition had ben called off by the Americans because of the Viet Nam war. A lot of our ground equipment had already been sent to the States by sea!

Whole story is in ‘Vulcan Boys’).

50 Sqn RAF Waddington Badge and Zapper


 50 Sqn Tankers 2 Types


Nav Name and Bomber Command


35 Sqn, IX(B) Sqn and 230 OCU


 RCAF Goose Bay


 50 Sqn and 558


50 Sqn at the End 1984


Just a zapper given on my travels



 Two Zappers Different Colours

Listener (2)  50 Sqn Plus Vulcan

IMG50_Sqn_Plus_Vulcan[1] 1066 Hastings Squadron

Hastings 1066 Flt

1066 badge. The reason: Bomber Command Bombing School (BCBS) RAF Lindholme, Doncaster Yorks near RAF Finningley, and now a prison, taught Nav Radars for all three V’s when they were bombers. Consisted of Ground School and then flying in Hastings a/c (one at Newark Air Museum). Staff crew at front. 2 pilots, nav and engineer. Down the back V-Bomber Radar bombing kit. One Nav Radar Instructor and a couple of students.

When RAF Lindholme closed the School, plus Hastings a/c, moved to RAF Scampton and became part of the Vulcan 230 OCU. Although actually a Flight, the Hastings lot called themselves unofficially a Sqn. Because they flew Hastings they called it 1066 Sqn! Hence Harold with an arrow in his eye.

I tell the story in ‘Vulcan Boys’ and also what we Nav Radar Instructors did as well as teaching V-Force students on Vulcan and Victor (we taught radar to Phantom and Buccaneer Navs as well on the radar), the Cod War and Oil Rig patrols.

My 148 Sqn badge is still on one of ‘ye olde’ blue flying suits in the roof somewhere. Never took it off for sentimental reasons. When I get re-united with it I’ll photograph sometime


Operation Finningley – #twitterVforce/XH558 From a Different Angle

Well folks, it’s finally time to announce the details for the forthcoming #twitterVforce 3rd anniversary get together.

We are very proud to announce that on SATURDAY 28th MARCH 2015 you are invited up to Robin Hood Airport Doncaster  (henceforth referred to as RAF Finningley) for an intimate 4 hours in the company of an iconic Cold War Warrior.

 Avro Vulcan B Mk.2 XH558


Avro Vulcan B Mk.2 XH558 at RNAS Yeovilton 2014

We are honoured that we have the pleasure of Craig BULMAN – author of the very successful book The Vulcan B Mk.2 From a Different Angle with us and he will be giving his very 1st public talk on the B2. Craig’s knowledge is 2nd to none and this is a fantastic opportunity to gain further insight into one of Avro’s finest aircraft. Craig has been lucky enough to actually fly in Vulcan XL388 from RAF Waddington to RAF Honington on 2nd April 1982 (XL388’s Cockpit is currently at Aeroventures here at Doncaster) and was also in the Rear Crew Compartment for Vulcan XM655’s 30th/50th anniversary fast taxi run at Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield last year.Those of you who subscribe to the XH558 Newsbytes or are VTTSC members who receive The Vulcan magazine will be aware of his detective work in ‘Vulcan Spotting’ – the guy is a legend and for the true Vulcan buff this is an opportunity that you cannot afford to miss.

Craig Bulman (left)

Craig Bulman (right) with Derek Parks (Ex Javelin & Vulcan Chief Tech) & Flt Lt John Ince (centre)

Also on hand will be a few of our followers who are also Volunteers/Tour Guides at Hangar 3 who will be able to show you around ‘558 and no doubt a couple of personnel from the engineering team will be on hand to answer any technical questions you may have.

A point to remember is that X-ray Hotel 558 will be in the middle of her Winter Service so no doubt you will see her in a different light.

We also have representatives from the other V Force Bombers – From Team Victor will be Andre Tempest, owner of Operation Granby veteran  Handley Page Victor K2 XL231 ‘ Lusty Lindy’ (victorxl231.blogspot.co.uk) based just up the road at the Yorkshire Air Museum,  Elvington and from Team Valiant we have Flt Lt Al Stevenson who served with both Vickers Valiant and latterly HP Victor and is currently Lindy’s Crew Chief (read about him here: http://victorxl231.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/sqn-ldr-al-stephenson-aeo.html)

The time of the visit will be between 13:00hrs and 17:00hrs.


Andre Tempest proudly displaying his #twitterVforce wristband

Tickets are limited to 100 and are only available from the Vulcan To The Sky Trust website with all money taken from the sales going directly towards keeping XH558 airworthy.

To purchase your ticket please follow this link:


Tickets for the event are priced at £20 and will include 4 hours with XH558, Craig Bulman’s presentation and Tea/Coffee & Biscuits and of course plenty of time to admire XH558 at your leisure. There will be other ‘edible goodies’ available made by one of our #twitterVforce followers (you will have seen the euphoria created when ‘prototype’ pictures of the Gingerbread V Force were posted on Twitter) to which a small donation towards ‘558 would be the proper thing to do. The usual range of ‘558 merchandise will also be available to purchase.

When you have bought your ticket(s) please let us know that you are attending by tweeting us here at @VForceHQ – Make sure you add our #tag …….. #twitterVforce

There will also be a secret auction for you to bid on – At the end of the day you could be walking away with a genuine piece of Avro Vulcan XH558 with full documentation (Cert of authentication and ‘Unserviceable’ label).

Also on hand will be Jo Ayres (regional VTTSC Fundraising co-ordinator for the South Central Region @VulcanSCentral) who has kindly agreed to be our official #twittervforce photographer for the day so if you fancy a special momento for the day, keep an eye out for her.

We have lots more planned for they day so please buy your tickets ASAP and join us for what is going to be an historical afternoon.

It certainly will be a celebration not only for us, but also of our mighty V Force

See you there

Rod, Dave & Sam




#twitterVforce Meet-up Jan/Feb 2015


We are at the very early planning stage for the latest #twitterVforce meet-up which we are looking to arrange  for a yet to be finalised date during January/February 2015.

Our last en masse gathering was for our 1st anniversary at RAF Cosford, however this was kept to a very limited ‘by invitation’ only and since that meeting we have been inundated with heaps of requests to be included in any future events.

So, if you would be interested in attending our next get together (& it’s going to be a cracker – trust us on that), please register your interest by dropping an email to:


Please add your twitter i.d so that we know who you are, as we will not be DM’ing individuals this time round.

As usual we won’t pass on your details to anyone else, we’ll just keep them nice and safe here at #VForceHQ


Rod, Dave & AVGeekette


Avro 3 Sisters

I arrived at RAF Waddington in complete excitement of what the day was about to bring.

21/08/14 a date for the history books (mine).
As anticipated the turn out was massive. A large crowd had formed at both the WAVE and PAVE at Waddington with the PAVE selling out just after 9 o’clock. But I had my spot.
The word from the crowd and web was the Lancaster’s were due in at 10:00 as XH558 had travelled down the night before. but before the main event we had a ED-3 Sentry keeping us entertained.
I kept checking Twitter and Facebook for any information to keep myself up to speed.
Then it began…
2 Hawks from 100 Squadron came in low and fast to signify the day had started. They did several circuits of RAF Waddington in close formation.
100 Squadron Hawks (Dale Myers)

100 Squadron Hawks (Dale Myers)

As the crowds of people were watching a few mutters rippled though the crowd. Looking towards the south just over the tops of the trees were two black lines one in front of the other. The Lancaster’s were coming!
The Lancs arrive (Dale Myers)

The Lancs arrive (Dale Myers)

As ever they arrived in style with a fly past down the runway for the crowds to see.
Now I’m not normally one for crying but seeing these two old Avro’s together with the sound of 8 Merlin’s did bring a tear or two to mine and many others eyes.
The two Lancaster’s then split and turned to the left to come in for landing.
A massive buzz came though the crowd as they taxied into position ready for the meeting.
It was now XH558’s turn to be the focus as she began taxiing into position.
Into position - XH558 (Dale Myers)

Into position – XH558 (Dale Myers)

Now at this point to keep the crowds entertained we got a fly past from the RAF BBMF Dakota and a Typhoon which also did a touch and go. Not bad to say it was £5 for my ticket.
The stage was set as the aircraft were moved into position.
VeRA (FM213)  to the left, XH558 in the middle and Thumper (PA474) on the right. the media then began to get their photos and stories. Speaking to the folks around me one had travelled from Cumbria to witness this one off event and thanks to the help of MP’s and police I got some shots from in front of this great trio.
The formation begins (Dale Myers)

The formation begins (Dale Myers)

The time then came for this historic event to end! Watching the 8 Merlins smoking as the fired up was a joy to see followed by the ignition of the Vulcans 4 Rolls-Royce Olympus.
Thumper taxied out first followed by VeRA to hold for take off. XH558 followed them down the taxi way and parked infront of me!!! Got some great photos at that point. Then as quick as it started they were off for the Historic formation fly past. All day the rumor was the formation would fly over Waddington even though the RAF Waddinton website said not.
In my opinion XH558 did a fantastic take off, holding on the brakes with the engines on full chat!!
She then rocketed down Runway 20 and jumped into the sky!!!
That was it the day was over… Or was it?
While getting myself ready for my travels back up north on my motorbike the crowd which was dispursing started mumbling followed by shouting “there coming back” and low and behold there they were in formation heading towards Lincoln. The Vulcan with a Lancaster either side and a Hawk to complete it.
A fantastic day for all there and involved.
Avro 3 Sisters (Dale Myers)

Avro 3 Sisters (Dale Myers)

Well thats enough from me.
Dale  (@dalermyers)
Footnote: Dale currently holds the record for long distance #WristbandSelfie by posting a picture of his #twitterVforce band from Melbourne, Australia.