THE WORLD'S only flying Vulcan bomber has completed its final test flight in a bid to gain a permit to fly at airshows.
The bomber, which has been restored at Bruntingthorpe airfield, was to undergo a display authorisation flight before Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) examiners on Friday but poor weather meant the plans were scuppered for the second time in as many weeks.
However Monday's perfect weather conditions meant the tests could go ahead and the delta wing bomber took off from Bruntingthorpe, flying over Rutland Water and Marham in North Lincolnshire during the 98-minute flight.
Under CAA rules the Vulcan must demonstrate to examiners that its airshow routine will be suitable and safe enough to be performed close to large crowds.
Radio checks and display manoeuvres were conducted during the test flight, and only two minor radio faults were picked up, neither of which require further testing.
Dr Robert Pleming, chief executive of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, which is working on the project, said: "Today is the culmination of 15 years of dedicated work. We are now on the verge of being the proud operators of a one aircraft airline "
An application for a permit to fly at air shows can now be made to the CAA, with a final decision expected in about four weeks' time.
More than 6m was spent on returning the Vulcan to flight, with 2.7m coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the remainder from public donations.
However the trust estimates it will cost 1m to keep the Vulcan flying on the airshow circuit and is appealing for corporate sponsors to come forward to help the project.
Donations can be sent to the trust at Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 5QS, by phone on 0116 247 8145, or online at www.tvoc.co.uk.