211 (Newbury) Squadron recently joined forces with the Newbury and District Amateur Radio Society (NADARS) to run a radio station dedicated to promoting awareness and raising funds for the Vulcan to the Sky Trust.
The Trust, formed to operate the last remaining airworthy Vulcan aircraft, has to raise more than £1.6 million per year to keep the aircraft in the air and is now totally reliant on donations from the public and on sponsorship. NADARS member Graeme Miller, who has been involved with the trust for two years, organised the radio station and through contact with Warrant Officer Steve Pye, who has recently gained his amateur radio license, was able to involve the Squadron. The station ran from the Squadron Headquarters every evening for a week and was even open to the public at the weekend.
Visitors were able to see various displays about the history of the Vulcan including films, models and of course a very popular flight simulator. Newbury’s Mayor, Councillor Kuldip Singh Kang, visited the Squadron on the Sunday. Several cadets had the opportunity to take part in the event and spoke to radio operators around the UK and the world; overall the station had calls from 70 countries and in total logged over 2,670 calls.
Amongst the calls logged over the week were Air Cadet units in Llandrindod Wells and East Kilbride, many calls from members of the Royal Air Force Amateur Radio Society, and a number of calls from former Vulcan pilots.
The Vulcan celebrates its 50th birthday in May and it seems that this magnificent aircraft will now continue to fly, being predicted to take to the skies again in June 2010.