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XH558 Urgent Survival Plan (Read 562 times)
 
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XH558 Urgent Survival Plan
Jan 19th, 2017 at 5:07pm
 
Quote:
Urgent survival plan launched to save Vulcan XH558


Philanthropists offer to match public donations as Vulcan to the Sky Trust slashes costs to survive until new home is ready

Tough decisions made as wide-ranging redundancies announced at every level

Trustees determined to return Canberra WK163 to the airshow circuit and Vulcan XH558 to regular taxi runs


She was one of the world’s most powerful jets, a triumph of British engineering who protected our country through more than two decades of terrifying Cold War. When she landed for the final time just 15 months ago, she was the country’s most loved aircraft, followed by more people than the Red Arrows. Now she is facing an uncertain future, to be towed out of her period hangar home at the end of January, to be placed in storage.

Quote:
“Over the past six months we have been working with the airport on our plans to progress a superb, purpose-built hangar for XH558. While both parties are confident of a successful outcome, the short term challenge is that we must vacate Hangar 3 as our lease has expired,” explains Dr. Robert Pleming, chief executive of Vulcan to the Sky Trust, the charity that owns and operates Vulcan XH558. “This creates a funding challenge because the revenue-earning businesses that are vital for her care must be temporarily suspended. We have had to make some very tough decisions.”

Yesterday (January 17th), Robert briefed colleagues on the changes. At the heart of the cost savings is a dramatic reduction in employee numbers, from 22 to just eight full time, supported by volunteers and part-time staff. Both Robert and business development director Michael Trotter will be moving to part- time roles where they will continue to provide strategic direction for the Trust.

“I am very sad to lose many highly talented colleagues who have worked incredibly hard to achieve a remarkable eight years of display flying that many thought would be impossible. I speak for everyone who has enjoyed seeing XH558 fly when I say I cannot thank them enough,” Robert told staff and supporters. “This is a bitter decision, but one that is necessary to ensure Vulcan XH558 continues to be protected while the Trust is rebuilt around our goals for the future.”

Engineering director Andrew Edmondson, one of the world’s leading specialists in vintage jet restoration, maintenance and operation, is being retained to manage rapid progress towards a new beginning for the Trust. Chief engineer Taff Stone will move to a freelance role responsible for the on-going care of Vulcan XH558 and Canberra WK163. These and other cuts will slash the Trust’s monthly expenditure by 75%.
   
Aircraft to be placed in storage while new hangar is constructed

   
The first phase of the plan is to move the Trust’s aircraft and other assets that are currently in Hangar 3 to a temporary storage facility that the airport is providing free-of-charge until the end of April. During that time, the Trust hopes to conclude an agreement to build a new hangar at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, allowing resumption of tours, events, educational visits and engineering activities by the end of 2017. These businesses will then fund the lease of the hangar from the developers until the larger, more ambitious ETNA facility is ready.
   
Centre of expertise to keep vintage jets flying

   
The longer term goal remains to establish a centre of excellence for the restoration, maintenance and operation of British Jet-Age aircraft. “Post-Shoreham, there are questions over the future of this astonishing era of British aviation, when our engineers really did rule the skies,” explains Andrew Edmondson. “Only very high standards of care and operational integrity will keep these aircraft flying.”

The next step, following completion of the new hangar, will be to restart the restoration of the Trust’s unique English Electric Canberra, WK163, which in 1957 was fired to a new altitude record by a prototype Napier Double Scorpion rocket motor.

These operations will eventually be at the heart of a new type of education and visitor activity, designed to inspire new generations with the excitement of engineering, innovation and aviation, with its construction funded by national and regional grants and sponsorship. “By inspiring children early, before they make their subject choices, our ETNA Project will make a significant contribution to solving the UK skills gap that is currently challenging British industry,” concludes Robert Pleming.

Steve Gill, chief executive of Doncaster Sheffield Airport said; “Housing the Vulcan, a prestigious piece of British aerospace engineering, is an honour for Doncaster Sheffield Airport. We have long been supportive of their vision to establish the ETNA Project to meet the important objective of inspiring future generations to engineering and aviation, all from a dedicated tourist centre that fully meets their needs. As we have for many years, we are deeply committed to working with the trust to realise this goal and to working with them, this remains unchanged and of sincere importance to us.”

To deliver these objectives and play an important role in keeping heritage jets flying, Vulcan to the Sky Trust must survive until its new hangar is ready and her supporters can once again visit her and hear her four Olympus jets being brought to life. “The next couple of months are absolutely critical,” Robert emphasises.
   
Philanthropists offer to match public donations

   
To hibernate the existing operations, re-home the vital specialist tools, displays, period artefacts and other key assets, and secure Vulcan XH558 and Canberra WK163 in the new storage location, is expected to cost around £200,000 more than the Trust can afford given the cessation of tours and events. Half of this has been promised as matched-funding by a group of philanthropists close to Vulcan to the Sky Trust, against donations from XH558’s supporters and those who believe in retaining Jet-Age aircraft in British skies.

“Every pound donated will effectively be doubled. This is a very generous offer,” says Robert. “The Trust needs these funds urgently to survive. I encourage everyone who shares this vision to do whatever they can to help today.”

With the dramatic cuts implemented today, the Trust needs £100,000 to survive to the end of February, followed by another £100,000 during March, which includes costs associated with finalising plans for the new, purpose-built hangar. With match-funding, that means just £50,000 raised from supporters before February 28th, then a similar amount the month after.
   
You may donate easily and securely now, by card or PayPal, using our Just Giving page.





Please help to
#SaveOurVulcan
today


And when making your donation, you have the options to add your own message of support for XH558.
You can share on your own social media, and make your donation in your own name, a loved one or in memoriam.


Follow XH558 on twitter @XH558 / #SaveOurVulcan where we will be tweeting amazing Vulcan videos. Join the XH558 Facebook community: www.facebook.com/VulcanXH558

Eight seasons of dramatic display flying made Vulcan XH558 Britian's most popular aircraft.
   
A hangar is essential for protecting XH558 from the weather and providing an environment for maintenance to RAF standards. Vulcan XH558 must leave her home in an original Cold War hangar where she was also based during the 1960s. At the end of January, she will be towed out and placed under cover in storage. 
   
Keeping you informed

   
As part of the re-structure and cost-savings, our regular email updates will continue each Friday, but we will be ceasing our Tuesday edition with immediate effect. Our various social media streams will carry on unaffected and we would urge everyone who may not use one at the moment to consider joining. They are a great way of keeping informed. You will find all the links to the various networks at the top of this email.

If you are a Founding Guardian, the very first issue of your Guardian Magazine is being completed and should be with the printers in the next few weeks, ready to be with you before March. The aims of the Guardian scheme are unaffected for now, other than some delays due to the changing circumstances.  We will be writing soon to all those that are already central to continuing the work of historic aircraft preservation, restoration and operation.

On Friday, our regular mix of articles will be supported by a full Question and Answer section that will tell you more about the re-structuring that will keep XH558 at its heart, whilst securing the ambitions of using early-generation jet aircraft as the inspiration for new generations.

To donate and have your funding doubled, CLICK BELOW


   
Please help to
#SaveOurVulcan
today


With Just Giving, you can also see live updates on progress towards XH558’s target
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XH558 Survival Q&A 27/01/17
Reply #1 - Jan 27th, 2017 at 5:11pm
 
Quote:
Survival Q and A

Jan 27, 2017

Robert Pleming gives answers.

Since last week’s announcement, we have been reading through your comments on social media and have picked out the questions that occur most frequently.  It’s important that the supporters of Vulcan XH558 understand the reasoning behind our decisions, so have put together some more detailed answers that I hope will make the rationale more understandable.

Robert Pleming

Why Doncaster Sheffield Airport?


When we it became clear that 2015 would be XH558’s final flying season, the question naturally occurred of where her final landing should be.  Whilst VTST and XH558 had been based at Robin Hood for four years, we reviewed all of the alternative sites that had a runway.

The charity has as one of its objects, “to conserve and return to full working order other aircraft and engineering artefacts in general which are of significant heritage interest and to maintain such in a purpose-built facility”. 

In support of the Trust’s educational and interpretational objectives, we also want to encourage other flying heritage aircraft to visit us, in the same way that railway museums demonstrate locomotives from other museums. It was therefore important that wherever XH558 went, the possibility of easily operating other flying aircraft had to be assured.

Being at a licensed airfield will allow us to taxi XH558 regularly and safely. The damage that can be caused to heritage jet engines by even very small pieces of debris can be terminal, we need to avoid unmaintained runways.

Other criteria included long-term security, availability of hangarage, catchment for visitors, ease of development, local and regional authority support, heritage relevance. Some sites – Duxford, Cosford for example – were excluded because they already had a Vulcan. Conscious that other airfields – Elvington and Dunsfold are examples – are being earmarked for housing development as brownfield sites, we were wary of considering privately-owned under-used airfields.

Peel Airports have demonstrated their long-term commitment to DSA in terms of land purchases and strategic planning (FARRRS etc). We concluded that remaining at DSA as an operational airfield with a future was the correct decision.

What is DSA’s attitude to VTST?


DSA recently supplied us with the following statement: Steve Gill, Chief Executive at Doncaster Sheffield Airport said; “Housing the Vulcan, a prestigious piece of British aerospace engineering, is an honour for Doncaster Sheffield Airport.  We have long been supportive of their vision to establish the ETNA Project to meet the important objective of inspiring future generations to engineering and aviation all from a dedicated tourist centre that fully meets their needs.  As we have for many years, we are deeply committed to working with the trust to realise this goal and to working with them, this remains unchanged and of sincere importance to us.”

Why was the last flight not publicised?


In the planning for XH558’s last few flights in September and October 2015, the South Yorkshire police, local authority and DSA raised significant concerns about the numbers of people who they estimated would try to witness XH558’s final flight. Based on the crowds seen at sites around the country during the “Salute to the V-Force” tours in June, some 50,000 people were expected to try to get to DSA for the final flight.

Given the poor road structure around DSA, very severe congestion was forecast, meaning that there was the potential for major disruption and delays to airport passengers. We therefore gained approval from Marshall Aerospace and the CAA for a 50% increase in the permitted annual flying hours from 50 to 75, so we could take the aircraft across the country to as many people as possible. 

In the event, on the advice of the police and other authorities, DSA only agreed to the very last flight, occurring on 28th October, on the basis that it was not advertised, for the very same reason about crowd sizes. As it was, we did manage to release an announcement just before the flight, and to stream the video.

What happened to the lease on Hangar 3?


Up until the end of December 2015, VTST was a tenant of Directions Finningley, the company that was the Head Lessee of Hangar 3. With Directions’ lease ending on 31st December 2015, DSA asked VTST whether we would consider taking over the lease, which involved managing all of the other many tenants in Hangar 3, and benefitting from their rents.

VTST was persuaded that the benefits of taking over the lease and being in control of the whole hangar outweighed the downsides as it provided us with significant opportunities to grow the successful tours and events businesses around the hangar and the aircraft, the profits from which would be used to look after XH558 and to support the educational objectives of the Trust.

DSA had the right to cancel our lease after one year. Because of the growth in the airport’s cargo business, the airport needed to reconfigure the use of its available hangar space, and so consequently in August 2016 asked the Trust to move into a smaller space in Hangar 1, originally with the ability to carry on its important hangar tour and event business.

Towards December 2016, it turned out that the expense and time required to implement Department for Transport and Health & Safety requirements meant that the public would not be allowed into Hangar 1 after all. Our tours and events business – our major revenue stream – had to close.

Why did we need 22 people just to look after XH558?


We didn’t. The Trust inherited five people when it took over the lease of Hangar 3 to run the Hangar as a business. The rest of the team were employed: to manage our 60 volunteers, to run the merchandise business, to carry out charitable fund-raising, to promote the Trust’s activities, to liaise with supporters and administer the database of supporters, to provide engineering support to XH558, WK163, and the Spirit of Doncaster project, to comply with mandatory governance requirements and to manage the Trust’s activities. This team of 22 employees were responsible for a revenue of over £2,588,000 in the year immediately after the final flight ending on 31st October 2016 – an impressive £118,000 per employee.

Why did we buy the Canberra?


In early 2016, Mike Collett of Classic Air Force at Coventry approached us with an offer to sell us the entire Classic Air Force fleet. After some negotiation, we concluded that to purchase the whole fleet was beyond our capabilities, but agreed to purchase Canberra WK163, given its exciting history, and the fact that once it had been returned to flight, it was highly likely to be the only Canberra  - the RAF’s first jet bomber – to be flying in the UK. She will be the largest jet-age aircraft still flying in the UK, bringing a remarkable spectacle back to British airshows.

It will take a separately-funded project, probably including a Heritage Lottery Fund grant application, to return WK163 to flight, but given this aircraft’s uniqueness and importance, we are confident that we will be successful. After all, we have done this before…..

Other popular questions:

Aircraft / Storage


Q – Will the aircraft be safe in storage?

A – Yes. They will be inside in a dry environment in an area dedicated to the Trust. Chief engineer Taff Stone will ensure they are maintained in their current condition.

Q – Will engine runs continue?

A – No. Without the ability to carry out engineering activities, we have had to inhibit the engines to ensure their condition is maintained without running.

Q – What happens at the end of April when the free tenancy finishes?

A –We hope to extend the free period, but will be making other plans as a contingency.

Q – Could you move to a different airfield?

A – XH558 is no longer permitted to fly and cannot be moved by road.

Q - What will happen to the stores and the stock at Stratford?

A – It is important that we keep the spares in excellent condition, so the Stratford operation will continue unchanged.

Q – Are Vulcan supporters paying to look after the Swift? What will happen to that aircraft?

A – The Swift is moving to the same storage space provided free of charge by the airport, so there are no costs to the Trust. The Swift comprises a valuable addition to what we will be able to display to our visitors, so represents extra value at no cost to the Trust.

Canberra Restoration


Q – What will happen to the Canberra restoration?

A – We still intend to return WK163 to British airshows, but have postponed her restoration until funding is available. Until then, we will maintain her is her current condition.

Q – When will WK163 fly again?

A – That depends on how quickly we can raise the necessary funds specifically for this project

Q - I contributed to the Canberra Shares package. What has happened to the money I spent?

A – Donations to WK163 have been used to move her to our facility at Doncaster, to strip and analyse her airframe, remove the engines and to begin a restoration plan. Thanks to your donations, she is now dry and safe and it will be faster and easier for us to finish returning her to the skies when further funding becomes available. No money has been diverted from XH558 to WK163.

Q - How can I get involved with the ‘Independent Canberra Restoration Project’ activity mentioned in previous communications?

A – All developments will be announced in the e-newsletter (you can sign-up from www.vulcantothesky.org) and on social media. If you follow XH558 on any of those, you’ll also be amongst the first to hear when we restart restoration of WK163.

Q - If you are unable to get WK163 flying by 2018, when do you expect you will be able to get it flying?

A – That depends on how quickly we can raise the funding. We will re-launch the fundraising for WK163 as soon as we are sure that we have sufficient income to maintain XH558 in superb condition and to provide access for her supporters in her new home.

Q - Will the new Canberra organisation be separate from the Trust? A new charity?

A – No. There will be separate fund-raising for WK163, but she will still be an important part of Vulcan to the Sky Trust’s long-term ambition to become a world-class guardian of British jet-age aircraft

Q – How can I find out more about the Canberra?

A – There is an article here: http://www.vulcantothesky.org/canberra-wk163.html

Location, Visitor & Marketing Activities


Q – Will I still be able to visit for Tours?

A – Not while the aircraft are in storage as the airport does not permit public access and has not allowed us to make the necessary upgrades to the facility.

Q - When will I be able to visit after the move?

A – We hope to restart tours as soon as the new hangar is ready and the move complete. Currently we expect this to be around the end of the year.

Q – We were promised the Vulcan would taxi. Why did this not happen?

A – We have been working closely with the airport to make taxi runs possible and believe that all the issues are now covered, allowing taxi runs as soon as we have a new hangar for engineering activities.

Q – Why is she not at Bruntingthorpe?

A – There are many reasons, mainly related to the need to have a top-quality runway with emergency support so we can taxi XH558 regularly for her supporters. An operational airfield is also essential to allow flying of other important Jet-Age aircraft such as Canberra WK163. There are also very few locations that offer long term security and do not already have a Vulcan. More details on this will be published in the newsletter soon.

Q –Will I still receive my rewards for the Canberra / Transformation campaigns? And the Raffle?

A – The Trust will meet all its commitments including the Raffle, which is an important part of our fund raising. We still plan to have a board in reception where everyone who donated at the qualifying level will have their name displayed with our thanks and this will now be at the new hangar. We are looking at options for delivering the VIP events and will let you know soon.

Q – Will the webstore continue?

A – Yes. The webstore is an important part of our commercial income and will continue to offer many new and unique items, as will our eBay sales.

Q – Why are eight full time employees still required?

A – Three of these eight are subcontracted to the new lessee of Hangar 3. The others are working on a combination of commercial activities (such as the retail business), fund raising and progressing plans for the new hangar.

Q – Could XH558 be moved from Doncaster?

A – She is no longer permitted to fly and is too complex to disassemble and reassemble into a working aircraft.

Q – How will you pay for the new hangar?

A – The developers are paying for the development on land already identified by the airport. Vulcan to the Sky Trust will be leasing it from the developers so we will not need to invest any supporters’ money in the building or the infrastructure.
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Re: XH558 Urgent Survival Plan
Reply #2 - Feb 1st, 2017 at 4:44pm
 
Quote:
PRESS RELEASE - ISSUED 3pm WEDNESDAY 1st FEBRUARY


Today, Vulcan XH558 was towed into temporary storage as the charity prepares to rebuild for an exciting future with plans for a new visitor centre and Cold War Jets engineering facility


Great Britain’s most popular aircraft leaves her Cold War hangar home for the last time

Plans for a new visitor and Heritage Jets centre progressing rapidly

Today, Britain’s most popular aircraft, Vulcan XH558, was towed out of her hangar home for the last time. She is to be kept in a secure storage facility at Doncaster Sheffield Airport while Vulcan to the Sky Trust develops a combined visitor centre and centre of excellence for restoring and flying Heritage Jets, in a bespoke building at Doncaster Sheffield Airport where she is based.

Vulcan XH558 landed at the Yorkshire airfield (then RAF Finningley) for the first time in 1961, becoming one of the first Vulcan B.2 aircraft to be assigned to the new strategy of Quick Reaction Alert for Britain’s nuclear deterrent. During this time of knife-edge tension, XH558 was often housed in the hangar she returned to as the world’s last flying Vulcan in 2011.

Today, 15 months after her final flight, XH558 was towed carefully to a storage facility on the same site. The reasons for the move and its implications and the need for urgent funding are described here: http://www.vulcantothesky.org/news/853/82/XH558-s-Survival-Plan.html .

New Visitor Centre


“Since taking the painful decision to dramatically cut our expenditure, we have made good progress in developing a plan to deliver our vision in a new, purpose-built facility,” explains Vulcan to the Sky Trust chief executive, Dr. Robert Pleming. “This will provide a visitor centre around our aircraft, engineering facilities that will allow XH558 to taxi for her supporters, and educational facilities to inspire new generations with a passion for engineering and aviation. It will be an open facility, with aircraft being maintained and our record-breaking Canberra, WK163, being restored while visitors tour with expert guides.”

Steve Gill, chief executive at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, who is backing the Trust’s plans said: “Having the Vulcan based here is a big part of our history and we want to see it remain here long into the future.  We continue to work closely with the Trust on plans for a new space to hold the Vulcan which will allow visitors and a possible site has been identified.  We remain committed to working with the Trust to realise this next stage of the Vulcan’s home at our airport.”

Robert Pleming recognises the importance of the support offered by Gill and his colleagues. “Our vision includes helping to keep important heritage jets flying in a world where they will inevitably require ever more rigorous maintenance, operational expertise and of course, runways that are in first class condition and meticulously cleared of debris that could damage irreplaceable engines,” he points out. “Having the support of Doncaster Sheffield Airport gives us confidence that we have a home where all of this is possible into the future and where other heritage jets will be happy to visit to be enjoyed by XH558’s supporters.”

The longer term goal is to establish a centre of excellence for the restoration, maintenance and operation of British Jet-Age aircraft, integrated with a new type of engineering inspiration centre to be called ETNA. The current plan provides an interim home and ensures a return to visitor access as quickly as possible. More details on this longer term vision are provided in the previous release, here: http://www.vulcantothesky.org/news/853/82/XH558-s-Survival-Plan.html .

Philanthropists offer to match public donations


To hibernate the existing operations, re-home the vital specialist tools, displays, period artefacts and other key assets, and secure Vulcan XH558 and Canberra WK163 in the new storage location, is expected to cost around £200,000 more than the Trust can afford, given the cessation of the significant income from tours and events. This is a one-off expense that will allow restructuring to a much smaller, more sustainable organisation with the opportunity to build the new visitor centre and engineering facilities.

Half of this has been promised as matched-funding by a group of philanthropists who believe passionately in the work of Vulcan to the Sky Trust, so every pound donated will effectively be doubled. “This is a very generous offer,” says Robert Pleming. “The Trust needs these funds urgently to survive. I encourage everyone who shares this vision to please do whatever they can to help today.”

To donate and have your funding doubled, please visit www.vulcantothesky.org/xh558-s-survival.html

The Trust is also holding a raffle with fabulous prizes that include a flight in a Spitfire, a taxi in Lancaster Just Jane and a dramatic flight with an aerobatics team. To find out more about the prizes, visit www.vulcantothesky.org where you can also find out more about the Trust and its aircraft.

Follow XH558 on twitter @XH558 /
#SaveOurVulcan
where we will be tweeting amazing Vulcan videos.
Join the XH558 Facebook community: www.facebook.com/vulcantothesky/
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Re: XH558 Urgent Survival Plan
Reply #3 - Mar 14th, 2017 at 8:44pm
 
She's done it!!  Wink
And as of today, 14/03/17, there's still 16 days of the appeal to go!!  Cheesy

...
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Re: XH558 Urgent Survival Plan - Total Reached!!
Reply #4 - Apr 4th, 2017 at 4:44pm
 
...

Cool
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