As some of you may know, I am an aviation enthusiast and every year enjoy going to airshows up and down the country. Back in 2008, I had just arrived at RNAS Yeovilton for their Air Day. I didn't realise it then but I was about to witness something special, something that I would look back on in the following years.
My dad was extremely excited to be at Yeovilton Air Day this particular year more than any other before. It was something to do with a plane called the Vulcan. He hadn't seen it fly since it retired and I had never seen it fly. The commentator announced that the Vulcan was on its way, that it was going to do a few fly pasts before landing and parking up in an allocated space.
Part way through the Vulcan's flying display, my dad told me to walk with him over to where a large section had been cordoned off to make way for the Vulcan to park. We were just two of a handful of people stood there and I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. However, watching the Vulcan fly, it moved with such ease and grace and when it landed and started to head towards where I was stood I couldn't believe the size of it. The wheels alone were taller than me.
Suddenly, out of the blue, people started running from all directions, all trying to get as close as possible. Within just a couple of minutes the crowd behind me is about ten deep. But the most suprising thing wasn't the amount of people stood around the Vulcan, instead it was their reaction. Most of the people stood around me where crying and waving hysterically. I remember stood there thinking I was surrounded by mad people.
Since then I have enjoyed numerous flying displays by the Vulcan, each seeming better than the last. I haven't really thought about the first time I saw the Vulcan until recently...
A couple of weeks ago, we went to Weston Super Mare Air Day. The Vulcan was going to be closing the show. Earlier in the year, the Vulcan team announced that this would be the last flying season for the Vulcan as it was cost too much to replace all the things they needed to and they just didn't have enough money.
Shortly after 3pm, the Red Arrows just departed after their display, all along the beach people were packing up and going home. I couldn't believe it - we still had another two hours of flying, including the Vulcan display at 5pm. By 4pm, I was beginning to think we were going to be the only ones watching the Vulcan... but how wrong I could be.
At 4.55pm it was announced that the Vulcan was on its way to display and that she would arrive just after 5pm. Out of nowhere people arrived, turning a deserted beach crowded in minutes. As I looked behind me, there was a huge crowd along the sea front, people stood on the pier and hundreds of people stood alongside me on the beach.
When the Vulcan arrived, it was to silence as everybody just looked on and enjoyed the last display of the Vulcan at Western Super Mare. Towards the end of the display, I just looked around at everyone, the reaction the same, they were engrossed, unable to move. Suddenly, watching the final fly past of the Vulcan, I was the one with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. In just a few short years, the Vulcan, her beauty and everything she stood for caught up with me. I saw the meaning of her name ... The Spirit Of The Sky
One thing I ask of you is for this summer, if you can, go to one of the many shows that the Vulcan is flying at and see for yourself. This summer will be your only chance to witness one of the greatest planes of all time flying. For more information about the Vulcan and to see the ever increasing 2015 display list visit www.vulcantothesky.org