Flying the Vulcan — Cockpit Layout and Display Routine

Vulcan test pilot Martin Withers wrote this article about flying the Vulcan.

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 RAFWaddington with 44 Sqn. I went on to do a tour as a captain and laterhad the honour of taking the aircraft into battle during the FalklandsWar in 1982, on Operation Black Buck.

The hardest feature of displaying the Vulcan is not the flying ofit, but keeping yourself correctly positioned. The view through thecockpit windows is a little like looking through a letter box, and youcannot see across the cockpit so if you are running in with the displaycentre 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 needhim to tell you to slacken off or increase the bank as you are cominground.

This can make displays where there are operating restrictions moreof a challenge. At the Silverstone racing circuit, for example, we werenot allowed to over-fly the Porsche centre, which meant we had verylittle room to get back on the display line when manoeuvring and I wasrelying entirely on the guy in the right-hand seat to give me the callsas 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.

Vulcan Cockpit.jpg

Vulcan Flight Path.jpg

(Photos: Max Kingsley-Jones, Illustrations: Flightglobal)


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One Response to Flying the Vulcan — Cockpit Layout and Display Routine

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