Vulcan is star of the air show - for the final time

The Vulcan at the air show in Yorkshire
The Vulcan at the air show in Yorkshire
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SHE was undoubtedly the star of the show.

In her last ever display in Yorkshire this weekend was the soon-to-be retired Vulcan XH558, the last airworthy example of the country’s famous V-Force and a powerful reminder of a remarkable period in British history.

Brandon Sheard, 12, from Bradford watches the skies with his camera ready.

Brandon Sheard, 12, from Bradford watches the skies with his camera ready.

Some people were moved to tears by the sight of the Vulcan climbing into the sky in a dramatic display which thrilled an 18,000-strong crowd at the Yorkshire Airshow at Leeds East Airport on Saturday.

Other planes which sent pulses racing included Britain’s first fighter jet, the Gloster Meteor, the revolutionary Douglas DC3 Dakota as well as a Spitfire and a Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Groups have already sprung up on social networking sites to keep the Vulcan flying.

However the charity which owns and operates her, Vulcan to the Sky Trust, said the technical authorities which support her no longer had the expertise.

Without their support under Civil Aviation rules she no longer has permission to fly.

“She’s an old aircraft, 55-years-old and a lot of people have left and retired from the organisations,” said spokesman Richard Clarke.

“It is not down to money - it is purely down to the fact that we rely on the technical authorities’ support.”

The long term plan for the Vulcan - after a farewell tour on October 10 and 11 - is to build a new centre at her home at Robin Hood Airport, as a “living museum”, where people will still be able to hear the mighty roar and howl of her engines as she fast-taxis down the runway. One of the purposes of the centre will be to inspire young people to study engineering-related subjects.

Numbers at the debut event were far higher than expected and roads leading to the airfield were heavily congested.

Entrepreneur Chris Makin, who bought the airfield last December and only decided to host the event 10 weeks ago said they would be addressing the problem - and the lack of toilets - before a much bigger event hosting a big name star the likes of Lionel Richie, which they plan to host next July. The event was in the throes of being organised when the Shoreham air disaster happened, but Mr Makin, who is also a pilot, said the tragedy had not put off people.

They had moved the display line so it was not over Church Fenton, and next year would move it further east to take aircraft away from housing altogether. An official display coordinator had controlled the event. “Shoreham (the air disaster) has had no impact whatsoever on numbers coming”, he added.

In the last few days they had been “overwhelmed” by demand. “We thought if we could get to 10,000 people we would be doing well - but we were nearer to 18,000 in total,” he said.

They had used a traffic management company “who assured us they were very experienced and it was chaos,” he added.

“Next year it will be a two-day show and we are going to allow people to come on the Friday to camp over. We will have a music festival on the Saturday night and we are looking for a big star, so people will make a weekend of it. We are negotiating now with local landowners for more car parking fields - we’d like 50,000 to come for the weekend.”