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Steve, Assuming all goes well there will be a next year but 2015 will, apparently, be the last year. Now I know that the trust have been playing that song just about every year for ages now. Fact is that a lot of us over here have heard it once too often. However, the trust chairman has in print stated that the displays are now trading airframe fatigue index for engine life. Further, take off has been cleared to use less that 100% thrust per some old RAF procedure.
The trust are not very transparent with...Show more →
They lost two spare engines in quick succession in installation errors - not sure what the first one was, but for the second one apparently they installed a brand new engine (ie never ever been used) and started it up without realising that it was packed with silicon gel to protect it from corrosion - which completely wrecked it!!
The problem over last winter was a section of the main spar which was reaching its fatigue safety life with no replacements available, nor construction jigs to build another, so it was necessary to "reverse engineer" the existing spar to make a jig to construct a new one - that apparently cost £12M!!! So, my understanding is (from what was said during the commentary at Dunsfold a couple of weeks ago) that, with the old spar they had engines that far exceeded life expectancy of the spar (which they thought they couldn't afford to replace) so they ran the engines at optimum power to reduce the strain on the spar - they now have a new main spar that has a life expectancy that far exceeds that of the engines, so they are running the engines at levels that increase engine life - I think I've got that right! The commentator said that they hoped that they would still be flying in 2016, but couldn't guarantee it - they were safe for 2015. RIAT is probably the show to come to if you're coming (this year you could have done RIAT one day of the weekend, Flying Legends the other day, and then on to Farnborough, but I'm not sure of the dates for next year and no Farnborough, of course, as it's alternate years with Paris).
Vulcan + Folland Gnats at Dunsfold