The Avro Vulcan is one of the most distinctive planes that graced our skies after World War 2, and during its time in active service with the RAF, became a national treasure that is still remembered and well loved to this day.
The Vulcan was considered to be the most technologically advanced plane of its time, and was fundamental in helping to improve our understanding of advanced aerodynamics – and some technologies used in the Avro Vulcan were later incorporated into the design of Concorde.
The Vulcan first became a part of the RAF in 1956, but it wasn’t until 1960 that the improved Vulcan B2 entered active service. The Vulcan B2 had several improved features over the B1, including more powerful engines, a larger wingspan, and an improved electrical system.
Although most Avro Vulcan’s were retired from active service, a few still exist today for air display purposes, or in the case of the Avro Vulcan XL426, are kept in taxiable condition for ground runs and events.
The Vulcan XL426 was in active service with the RAF from 1962 to 1986, and during her service, set an unofficial world record for the fastest flight from Canada to the UK, taking only 4 hours and 5 minutes – a record later officially beaten by Concorde.
In 1993, ownership of the XL426 was transferred to the Vulcan Restoration Trust, and although she no longer takes to the skies, XL426 is regularly showcased in events taxying on the runway at London Southend Airport and is maintained solely through donations to the Vulcan Restoration Trust.
It is from this very plane after some restoration work, that the metal from an elevon was taken, and sculpted into miniature sculptures of the Avro Vulcan for use in a special, limited edition commemorative…
The BRAND NEW Avro Vulcan XL426 Provenance Commemorative
And now, a small number of collectors have the chance to own a BRAND NEW Commemorative featuring an ACTUAL piece of the Avro Vulcan XL426…
This incredible commemorative features an original piece of the Avro Vulcan XL426, hand-sculpted into the shape of this iconic plane and expertly precision set into a deluxe SUPERSIZE 70mm commemorative.
Even without the piece of the Avro Vulcan, this commemorative is a work of engineering art in its own right. Combined with the actual piece of Avro Vulcan, it becomes a piece of aviation history…
Only 250 lucky collectors have the chance to own this special new commemorative. The last Provenance commemorative that features a piece of Hawker Hurricane SOLD OUT in a matter of weeks. Click here to secure your Avro Vulcan XL426 Provenance Commemorative before they are SOLD OUT!
This year, the Red Arrows will embark on a special display season – not only wowing crowds up and down the UK with their dynamic displays, but also painting the skies of North America red, white, and blue during their largest EVER tour of the US and Canada.
And in the run up to the first display over the pond,we wanted to find out all things Red Arrows from the team themselves and Squadron Leader Steve Morris, aka. Red 5, was only too happy to give us an extensive interview. Currently in his first season on his return to the team, Red 5 has told us how to become a Red Arrows pilot and what it’s really like to be part of the world renowned Red Arrows…
How long does it take to prepare the display and train to public display level?
We start our winter training in October, and the team’s development is like building blocks – we don’t display as a 9 straight away. We practice as 3 aircraft together, and then build up to 4, and then 5 – that’s ‘Enid’. Reds 6 through 9, the back 4, will be doing the same. It’s only in February that we’ll put the 2 sections together. So it takes 4 to 5 months before we’re there as a 9, and then another 2 and a bit months of us flying as 9 until we get up to the standard that we would expect to be for the display season.
What happens if one pilot is unable to take part in the display? Do you have reserve pilots?
We would display as an 8. The only caveat is if the Team Leader (Red 1) is unavailable, we can’t display. At some sites, Red 6, 7, 8 and 9 (the back 4) might go and do their second half performance where they do their hide speed passes, but we wouldn’t display as a 9. We practice as an 8 in case anyone is ever missing, and we try and keep it as symmetrical as possible.
‘we get to meet so many extraordinary people’
What’s the best thing about being a Red Arrow?
For me, it’s the ground interactions that you have with people. Earlier this year, when we were operating from Farnborough, we bumped into a 90-year old Dakota pilot who was there to be with his grandson, who is now a fast jet pilot, and he came over to us and had a cup of tea and a chat – we get to meet so many extraordinary people that you would never meet if you weren’t doing this job.
How does the Hawk T1 compare to other fast jets you’ve flown?
It’s a bit like a sports car, but think track-day kit car. There isn’t much on the inside in terms of modern technology, but let’s not forget the jet’s 40 years old! There aren’t things like a moving map, synthetic weapons and head-up display, so if you compare it to the difference between an Aston Martin and a Westfield Kit Car, it’s probably actually more fun flying the Hawk, but there isn’t as much avionics inside the cockpit.
What is the first manoeuvre you learn as a Red Arrows?
You start with what are our ‘basics’ of flying. I know it sounds odd, but as everything is called by the Team Leader, you need to work on everything, so start with left and right bends. Then you progress to do a standard loop, in one of our formation references which is called ‘Battle’, but you’re a little bit further away from the nearest airplane than what the public will see when we display – which is a good thing when you start practicing! Then you’ll move on to more challenging loops and rolls, and then you start to build it up, getting closer adding more airplanes on. Then, finally, you start to change shapes, moving from one formation to another.
What is the Red Arrows selection process like, and how were you selected?
Everyone who’s on the team has to apply to be on the team, so we’re all volunteers. In order to apply you have to have 1500 fast jet hours, you have to have been assessed as ‘above-average’, and you have to have done an operational tour. We get about 30 applicants each year, shortlisted down to about 9 – based on a flying record that we all have as pilots – and then for a week-long period the 9 shortlisted candidates come and spend a week with us, normally out in Cyprus or Greece where they are asked to perform a flying test, which includes loops and rolls. There’s also a formal interview, and a PR interview – where you’re put in front of a camera. But the biggest thing by far is peer assessment – how do you fit in? – not just with the 9 display pilots, but we have 130 engineers and display staff. You need to fit in with everyone. You could be the best pilot in the world but if you’re going to upset the team dynamic slightly, you’re not right for the Red Arrows.
If you are interested…
You can now own the Official Red Arrows North America Tour Medal, the very same that the Red Arrows own themselves! Click here to find out more >>
The Beano turns 80 this year. I’ll just let that sink in.
I still remember running down to my old corner shop every Wednesday after school to pick up the brand new Beano comic for 2p (the mind boggles!), then running home to try and get a read of the first few pages before mum cleared the table for dinner.
Of all the Beano characters, there was one character I looked forward to reading about more than any other – my favourite mischief maker – Dennis the Menace.
And that’s why I have been so excited over the last few months to be able to work personally on an exclusive and highly collectable Beano Commemorative – especially as this year the comic turns 80.
Brand new never before seen Dennis illustration
As a special privilege for their 80th birthday, Beano have given us unparalleled permission to create some brand new Beano artwork.
That’s because, for the very first time, Dennis the Menace has been brought to life on a brand new and exclusive Silver-Plated Commemorative by actual Beano artist – Wayne Thompson.
As you can see, the medal is a perfect limited edition tribute to Dennis in his classic red and black sweater that you, I, and many generations of children have grown up to love.
And as I mentioned, the Dennis the Menace illustration has been specially commissioned exclusively for Mint Editions. No one has ever seen it before and it has come straight from The Beano studios, direct to us from their artist – Wayne Thompson.
A whole collection of beloved Beano favourites
Just as in the comics, Dennis is never far from his trusted companion Gnasher, who is also part of the collection of new medals featuring beloved Beano favourites.
The complete collection of eight medals also includes Bananaman, Plug, Minnie the Minx, Roger the Dodger, Danny and Pieface – and each Silver-Plated Medals all feature brand new never-before-seen illustrations from Wayne.
Your invitation to SAVE £10.00 when you order today
Today, I would like to personally invite you to start your collection with the Dennis the Menace Silver-Plated Medal – for JUST £14.99… that’s an exclusive £10.00 SAVING. What’s more, alongside your second delivery you’ll also receive a free collecting pack to house and protect each Silver-Plated Medal.