On the way back from Cornwall yesterday, we had just got on to the M4 at Bristol, when we were treated to an overhead display by this Vulcan bomber (I know it was this one, because it is the only one left flying in the world, and was recently restored at a cost of £6 million) which swooped and dived at a height of about 800 feet over the heads of us drivers. I slowed right down to watch it - and to avoid causing a multiple pile-up with everyone else. It looked beautifully agile.
The Vulcan was designed to carry a single nuclear bomb in the 1950's, so - like many weapons - it's beauty is tinged with darkness. The last time Vulcan bombers were used was in the Faulklands conflict against Argentina, where one was used to destroy the runways of the islands. Thankfully, only conventional high explosives were used then.
A few years ago, a friend of mine actually bought a complete Vulcan bomber, which was parked up on an island in the Southern Hemisphere. He paid a few thousand pounds for it, and his plan was to dismantle it for scrap - there is a lot of precious metal on board these things apparently - gold and platinum, as well as high-grade aluminium. He would have made about £40,000, were it not that the island's authorities would not allow him to scrap it there, in situ. He looked into putting it onto floatation devices and towing it back to here, but that would have cost about the same as he would have made.
As far as I know, it lies there still. Maybe the locals are using it as a chicken coop now?