The Vulcan Bomber XH558
A Photographic Tribute
The Atomic age was announced violently with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan, shortening and ending the second world war but ushering in the the beginnings of the Cold War; an uneasy peace made possible not by reducing weapons, but the creation of weapons so powerful that fear of them prevented there use.
The Vulcan bomber photographed on this page was Great Britain's answer to the nuclear deterrent. For 24 hours a day 7 days a week RAF crews stood on quick reaction alert ready to take off in the event of Soviet attack delivering either Hydrogen bombs or the Nuclear tipped Blue Steel Missile. In 1969 the Navy took over the nuclear deterrent role. But Vulcan continued in other roles, including conventional bombing. In 1982 two bombing raids were made on the runways at Port Stanley on the Falkland islands, the only time the Vulcan had ever been used in anger. Flying 12500Km and taking nearly 16 Hrs, supported by 7 refuelling missions, it was a near impossible sortie the Vulcan had never been designed for. By 1984 only 2 Vulcans remained in RAF Service.
XH558 Continued in RAF Service until 1993 as a display aircraft, amazing crowds and delighting photographers. Sold to private investors she was eventually returned to flight. Sadly 2015 sees the end of her time in the air, and after a career that began in 1960 it would not be right to endanger pilots, spectators or aircraft - far better to bow out gracefully and be enjoyed on the ground.
These photographs have been produced during her last display season. For me photographs of the Vulcan and all subjects need to be more than just a record. these Vulcan photographs try to capture the character of the aircraft. Vulcan in flight showing off her unique features and lines. Classic monochrome photographs in black and white capture her shape and form against a lightly textured sky, warm sepia toned variations hint at her 1950’s vintage, leaving a dirty smoke trail in her wake. There are also colour photographs of Vulcan XH558 as she is now photographs against grey skies, bomb doors open and showing the sunlight picking out the edges of the mighty delta wing.
I have a collection of photographs that are available to purchase as framed, unframed Prints Visit the Vulcan Bomber Photography Gallery to view them all
The Photograph below is my final photographic tribute to the Vulcan B Mk.2 XH558 with a career starting with the RAF in 1960 and ending her flying career in 2015. This special Tryptich is available to purchase through my Fine Art outlet. Designed as a 40" Wide photographic print it also available in a wide range of other sizes and media.