Vulcan XH558 Newsbytes – conveying the sad news of the death of Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown.

Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown CBE, DSC, AFC, MA, Hon FRAeS, RN
Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown as caught in a video feature for The People’s Mosquito last year.
We were saddened to hear of the death late on Sunday evening of a true icon and hero of British aviation. Often, those two words are overused, but certainly not so in the case of Eric.

His life was filled with such memorable occasions and notable firsts. Sadly, one of the few aircraft types out of the 487 he flew did not include an Avro Vulcan, but what a list! Easily one of the most gifted and respected aviators of our time.
In 2014, the war veteran was picked as the subject for the 3,000th edition of Desert Island Discs
(listen here), during which he was described by presenter Kirsty Young as a “real life hero” and a “remarkable dare-devil”.
“When you read through his life story, it makes James Bond seem like a bit of a slacker,” she said.
His death at the great age of 97 after a short illness, will be felt my many friends and colleagues in the aviation world.

Our thoughts are with his immediate family and close friends at this sad time. Howard Wheeldon is a Fellow of The Royal Aeronautical Society and knew Eric well. He has kindly allowed us to reproduce his thoughts in an article he compiled yesterday. It will be with great sadness to all those who, young and old alike, had the great pleasure and honour of meeting or having at some point known Captain Eric “Winkle” Melrose Brown to learn of his death over the weekend at the age of 97 following a short illness.
The Royal Navy will be greatly saddened to have lost a man who over the past 46 years since he retired from his final Lossiemouth posting in 1970 has been nothing short of a ‘living legend’ ever since. What a man; what an extraordinary career as a test pilot; what an amazing set of records he set and that will unlikely ever be bettered. What a brilliant job of work that he did and rightly, how grateful the UK aerospace industry is to him for what he did for them over so many years. What a fantastic example “Winkle” Brown has been and has set for us all and particularly the many that subsequently followed him into the Royal Navy and indeed, the Royal Air Force too. What a truly delightful man that he was particularly when one was able to talk to him about the many events, the many excitements and dangers of being a test pilot and of so many different aircraft and helicopters during his long, interesting and very eventful life. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE
Mapping out the upcoming winter service
Now that the first part of the winter service has been completed with the deactivation last week of the crew ejector seats, Taff and the team have been able to finish off the design and timeline plan for the service work that will recover XH558 back from her current long-term storage condition to be fully operational in the ground running environment envisaged this season. This all-new work structure for the team has been compiled by careful reference to the Avro and RAF service manuals. Everything will be done ‘by the book’ with regard to keeping XH558 in the best possible condition.

One of the next tasks will be to change one of the engines, re-installing the low-time unit that had registered high metal debris count in its oil. The source of the debris was traced to a faulty gearbox, which has been changed, so we are expecting this engine not to register any further debris problems, although it will be “run in” through further engine runs. As it is, we have an engine pool that can keep XH558 active on the ground for years to come.
Practice your workshop manual skills under the close-supervision of one of XH558’s engineering team members.
‘Vulcan Assistant’ opportunities.
One of the exciting and interesting additional offerings we will introduce this year during regular scheduled maintenance activities on XH558, will be the ability for members of the public to pay to join the engineers under close supervision as ‘Vulcan Assistants’, effectively providing additional man-power during some of the regular maintenance tasks, such as tyre inflation, oil and gas monitoring, landing gear lubrication and structural and wiring inspections across the entire aircraft which will also include a system functional.
Maintenance tasks will be signed for by the individual; these then get signed-off in the aircraft log-book by the controlling supervisor. A certified copy of all the tasks completed will then be given to the Vulcan Assistants.

Due to the fact that one-to-one supervision is necessary, places will be limited and will involve coming to the hangar on a weekday. We hope that the opportunity to get “up close and personal” with XH558 will be attractive to a number of people!
These all-day opportunities are priced at £125 per person (to include lunch). With demand expected to be high, you will need to be quick to book as dates become available and they will be announced exclusively here in these newsletters.
Our first dates are next week. Bookings Open Wednesday 24th from 10:30am
 Look out for news on the next opportunity in a newsletter very soon!
Join XH558 this Thursday for our next Coffee Club meeting
This Thursday at 11am, we open the hangar for our next Coffee Club meeting. You can arrive at reception to book in at any time up to last entry at 3pm, and then enjoy viewing XH558 and the hangar exhibits for an hour or so over coffee and biscuits.

The cost is just £5* and is ideal for those living within the vicinity of the hangar to meet up on a regular basis to see all the latest developments.
Entry is subject to capacity, so do telephone first if you are travelling from further afield. Ring the Vulcan Experience reception on 0845 124 7285.

There are no formal tours offered during these Coffee Club meetings but various members of the staff or volunteer teams will be on hand to answer any questions as their time permits.

*Please note that all other visits must be pre-booked and additional charges apply.
If you can’t make the Coffee Club, why not consider a tour of the aircraft hosted by one of our expert guides? Perhaps you talked to someone over the holidays who would love to join you.We have
pre-booked Tours available for all levels of knowledge, from first-time visitors to experienced enthusiasts.
* Scroll through the calendar with green dates indicating availability
New rewards available with XH558’s shares for early 2016
We have split some of the unavoidable costs involved in maintaining XH558 in her current excellent condition into ‘shares’ that enable you to support whichever aspect you choose in bite-sized donations, whilst returning tailored rewards that recognise your support as it grows. You could help with insurance, fuel or hangar maintenance, or alternatively you can select a share that will go directly to helping progress towards the future.
Our first range of share options for 2016 is now available. Each share supported comes with a dedicated 2016 share certificate, while if you support shares that total £60 or more, you will receive our new season art card, featuring a superb photograph of XH558 over The Solent captured by award winning photographer John Dibbs.

Support shares to the value of £150 either in one transaction or in any cumulative combination between now and 31st October 2016, to be entitled to the 2017 version of our A3 portfolio calendar.

Coming up on Friday
We hear from Adrian Sumner who was involved in planning the detachment leaving celebrations at Offutt Air Force base in Nebraska and in pulling XM573 through into the Strategic Air Command Museum in 1982.

Complete with rare pictures like this one! Do you have any other rare Vulcan images?
Please write send any images to:
Merchandise that supports Vulcan XH558
Mother’s Day is on Sunday 6th March, so now is the ideal time to pick that something special for the Mother and Vulcan fan in your life. We have selected eight items below that might be suitable and will show just how much you care. As always, all proceeds go directly to supporting XH558.

Copyright © Vulcan To The Sky Trust 2015