I have had a super summer in 2009 display-flying the world's only airworthy Avro Vulcan bomber - an aircraft I first got my hands on in 1971 as a co-pilot at RAF Waddington with 44 Sqn. I went on to do a tour as a captain and later had the honour of taking the aircraft into battle during the Falklands War in 1982, on Operation Black Buck.
The hardest feature of displaying the Vulcan is not the flying of it, but keeping yourself correctly positioned. The view through the cockpit windows is a little like looking through a letter box, and you cannot see across the cockpit so if you are running in with the display centre on the right you need the other pilot to call "two, one, now" because you cannot see it. Similarly, when making a right turn you need him to tell you to slacken off or increase the bank as you are coming round.
This can make displays where there are operating restrictions more
of a challenge. At the Silverstone racing circuit, for example, we were
not allowed to over-fly the Porsche centre, which meant we had very
little room to get back on the display line when manoeuvring and I was
relying entirely on the guy in the right-hand seat to give me the calls
as I never knew whether I was over it or not. Read more...
Here are illustrations of the Vulcan's cockpit layout as well as its 2009 display routine.