To: (Separate email addresses with commas)
From: (Your email address)
Message: (Optional)



16 Things You Never Knew About The Avro Vulcan

It just took its last flight...ever. Here's what it accomplished over its incredible history:

1) The Avro Vulcan's first flight was August 30th, 1952, only 7 years after the end of World War II.

Sgt. David S. Nolan

2) The Avro Vulcan was designed to carry the Blue Steel missile, which was Britain's primary nuclear deterrent until they started operating nuclear armed submarines in the late 1960s.


3) During the design phase, engineers knew the operational requirements would require a unique design. German WWII swept wing research was used to come up with the design.


4) Because the wing was so thin, designers placed the two pairs of engine side by side, as opposed to their preferred stack design.


5) 8 months into the project, Roy Chadwick, the project's technical director, was killed in a crash in an Avro Tudor 2, due to crossed aileron cables.


6) The Avro company had no experience with delta wing designs. They built small-scale models for testing, but the first model crashed, killing test pilot Eric Esler.


7) The Vulcan had an auto-mach trimmer to pitch up the nose when it approached high-subsonic speeds. Before the system was installed, the aircraft had a tendency to enter an uncontrollable dive at high speed and altitude.


8) In 1955, the second production Vulcan showed off its capability by performing a barrel roll at the Farnborough Air Show.

Royzie555's channel

9) The early versions of the Avro Bomber were painted in anti-flash white, designed to reflect thermal radiation from a nuclear explosion.


10) The Vulcan carried a crew of 5 people on two levels. The pilot a co-pilot sat on the top deck, and the radar navigator, plotter navigator, and air electronics officer sat rearward on the lower deck.


11) In the event of a bailout, the pilots had ejection seats, but the other 3 crew had to exit from the aircraft door.

Diorama Sky

12) Although it wasn't designed to have a low radar cross-section, the Vulcan had a relatively low radar echo.


13) The air-intake arrangement creates a 'howling' sound when the engines are powered up.

Ronnie Macdonald

14) The only combat missions the Vulcans were used in were during the Falklands War. The aircraft were flown from Ascension Island in the Atlantic, with air-to-air refueling to cover the 3,800+ mile trip.

Donald Morrison

15) One of the bomber's fuel probes broke on a mission to the Falklands. The aircraft had to jettison its missiles over the Atlantic and divert to Rio de Janeiro. The crew was detained until the end of the conflict, which was 9 days later.

Kenneth Ian Griffiths

16) The Vulcan was fully decommissioned in 1984, however, one model was kept in airworthy condition for airshows. But with its last flight happening just a few days ago, this piece of flying history is officially a part of the record books.


Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

Images Courtesy:

Recommended Stories

Latest Stories

    Load More
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email