The campaign group responsible for getting the Avro Vulcan Bomber XH558 back the skies had an original 1940s PCL tyre pressure gauge which they thought couldn’t be mended.
But PCL was able to recalibrate it ready for general use on the Vulcan and all was well…until the Vulcan was ready to be moved recently for an engine test as part of a programmed schedule of ground maintenance.
It was then discovered that the gauge was not able to measure the top pressure required for the Vulcan, and it looked like the project was going to be set back, so they sent out another SOS call to PCL’s Sheffield HQ.
By an amazing coincidence their technical sales expert Brian Beech had a calibrated TPG54 Aircraft Gauge in his car, and he promptly drove over to Leicestershire, where the Vulcan takes pride of place in a hangar at Bruntingthorpe Airfield.
Colin Marshall, Logistics Manager for the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, was delighted, as every penny counts in such a large-scale project – which has cost £6 million so far.
In order to preserve and protect the Vulcan whilst getting her off the ground for the public to enjoy, they have had to rely on the generosity of voluntary supporters to supplement the £2.7 million provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Trust’s first goal was achieved in October 2007 when the Vulcan flew for the first time in 14 years, then in May the mighty aircraft made a series of flights in order to complete and pass the tests a celebratory flight, having passed all of the tests required to apply for a Permit to Fly.
However the Vulcan still needs around £50,000 a month to make it to the first airshow season this summer.
Mr Marshall said: “We needed a lot of equipment to get her back to full working order, and have had to be as economical as possible.
“When it came to getting the tyre pressure gauge fixed we had been told by another company it wasn’t possible, so we decided to ask the original manufacturer, PCL – and they did it with no problem at all. Then, when we needed a higher range gauge after all, Brian saved us at the 11th hour with a brand new one. Without it we would have had to defer the engine test, and therefore our progress with getting the Vulcan ready for displays.
“Brian and PCL have been extremely helpful and we are very grateful for their support. With a project of this magnitude it really is a case of every little helps.”
If all falls into place the Vulcan should be flying at displays by June. She will perform for 600 hours over 10 years, and her last flight will be to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford to give her back to the nation.
Simon Shorter, Director PCL, said: “Vulcan to the Sky’s restoration of the Vulcan is aimed at “Honouring the Past, Inspiring the Future”, and as a traditional yet dynamic, forward-thinking company we are honoured to help bring such a precious piece of British Heritage back to life.”