Crowds urged to stay away from this weekend’s Doncaster Vulcan farewell

The Vulcan XH558.
The Vulcan XH558.
  • Vulcan set for farewell tour this weekend
  • Last chance to see XH558 in the skies
  • But crowds told to stay away from Doncaster over fears flights could be axed

Crowds have been warned to stay away from Doncaster for the last flying Vulcan’s farewell tour this weekend - with warnings the flights could be axed if thousands of sightseers turn up.

Cold War icon XH558 is due to take off on a two day tour of Britain from Robin Hood Airport this Saturday and Sunday - the last time ever the plane is scheduled to take to the skies.

But people have been told to stay away from the farewell - and have been told that huge crowds could see the event pulled due to safety fears.

Police have warned owners the Vulcan To The Sky Trust that the flights may not be able to go ahead due to safety and security concerns if thousands of people descend on Doncaster.

Superintendent Caroline Rollitt, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Although I understand the passion of the supporters of the Vulcan over the past few months as we approach its final flights more and more spectators have turned up at events where the Vulcan has been.

“I must ask everyone please, do not come to Robin Hood to see her take-off and land. This has started to overwhelm local authorities and emergency services.

“My first priority is ensuring the safety of all road users and local communities. Doncaster airport is a small commercial airport that can accommodate its passengers.

“However, the infrastructure around it cannot accommodate a large influx of people hoping to see the Vulcan.”

Dr Robert Pleming, chief executive of the VTTS said: “The roads, villages and availability of parking around the perimeter of Robin Hood Airport are very restricted. As the final few flights approach, we must warn you that the chances of seeing XH558 take-off and land will be slim. There are no plans for any displays or repeated circuits over the airfield and the aircraft will come straight-in to land on her return.

“We wish to bring the aircraft to you – as much as possible, so please plan to go to one of the published locations on the final tour when they are announced, or one of the existing display venues, rather than come to Robin Hood.

“Please do not travel to Doncaster. We need to minimise the risk of flight cancellation.”

Dr Robert Pleming

“As the last few flight dates approach, spectator interest around the airport at Doncaster is reaching new heights, with huge numbers already being seen on surrounding roads. The police and emergency services, local authority and the airport are very much aware of growing issues. There is great risk of severe restrictions being imposed on our last few days of flight operations. We do need to minimise the risk of enforced flight cancellations on the grounds of public safety.

“We would request all our supporters try to view XH558 from another vantage point along a notified flight-path or display venue. Please do not travel to Doncaster.”

The iconic aircraft has been enjoying one long summer of flypasts and displays with thousands turning out to see her.

But while Vulcan XH558 may no longer be soaring gracefully through the skies, she will stay in Doncaster – as the centrepiece of a new museum celebrating her heritage as well as her life and times, in the former RAF Finningley hangar where she sat in readiness for fighting and bombing during the 1960s and 70s.

Dr Pleming said: “We have set out from the start to create a lasting legacy for the Vulcan by planning for the day when the aircraft will have to cease flying.”

Vulcan To The Sky chiefs have had to make the tough decision that this year will be her last - for safety and technical reasons.

Dr Pleming said that while the aircraft, affectionately dubbed the ‘tin triangle’ was still safe, the age of her airframe, engines and a growing difficulty to source skilled engineers to keep her airborne were all factors taken into account when deciding her fate. It also costs £2 million a year to keep the plane in the air.
Details of the farewell flight are expected to be revealed tomorrow.