Marking the final flying season of the Vulcan XH558, the U.K.’s Royal Air Force Aerobatics Team, the Red Arrows, took its final flight with the mighty Cold War bomber on Saturday, September 19 at the Southport Air Show. With only three scheduled displays left, the Vulcan will be grounded for good in October.
The Red Arrow’s nine British-built Hawks formed a V-shape in front of the Vulcan as they flew near the north-western British coast for airshow crowds. The last airworthy member of the U.K.’s V-Force fleet, the Vulcan first flew in 1960, playing a key role in bombing, air-to-air refueling and reconnaissance missions for the Royal Air Force during the Cold War.
Earlier this year, the Vulcan in the Sky Trust released a statement explaining that the three companies who have kept the aircraft flying since 2007 can no longer support the program. Cost and safety are the greatest factors that have lead to grounding the historic aircraft. The Vulcan’s maintenance costs about $3 million per year, and the airplane and its systems have logged more hours than any other of its kind, making safety an increasing concern.
The final display of the Vulcan is set for October 4 at the Shuttleworth Uncovered Airshow.
Check out some stunning snapshots from their final formation.
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