A team of aircraft enthusiasts have spent more than 30 years restoring one of the last three remaining Vulcans to top condition.

New airshow regulations ended its annual Wings and Wheels festival, preventing the public seeing it start its engines and taxi.

But even though it has made it harder to attract new volunteers, the work goes on to keep the aircraft in ground-running condition.

Former Vulcan pilot Mike Pollitt has led the volunteers who have devoted the last 33 years to working on the Cold War bomber.

"Flying the Vulcan was tremendous. She was so powerful and so manoeuvrable. It was genuinely like flying a fighter.

"Normally in an aircraft this size, the pilot would have a yoke to operate the aeroplane but this has a stick because she is so manoeuvrable."

Vulcan restoration

At the height of the Cold War, the Vulcan's five-strong crew could be airborne within four minutes.

Designed for high speed and high altitude, the aircraft were originally painted white in order to prevent detection from the ground.

Powered by four Bristol Olympus engines with a 30-metre wingspan, Mike says the Vulcan is surprisingly nimble.

"For an aeroplane with this size of wing and the lift it generates our limit of operational load was 2G, which doesn’t very sound much at all.

"This aeroplane you can stand on her tail and stand on her wingtips - she is phenomenally manoeuvrable."

"She could out-manoeuvre any Soviet fighter of the period."

The Vulcan’s original role was to deploy the UK’s nuclear deterrent and to operate as a traditional bomber. However, as technology advanced and the Royal Navy took over the nuclear role with the Polaris, the Vulcan force was retired in 1984.

"The Vulcan is an icon, a masterpiece of British engineering," says Mike.

"It is a beautiful design and a beautiful aeroplane and it played a key role in the Cold War."

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