Here’s a press report you might be interested in:
VULCAN BOMBER REPLICA READY TO FLY
A full size replica Avro Vulcan bomber is currently being readied for its maiden flight at an airport in Minnesota. Externally identical to the British delta-winged nuclear bomber of the nineteen-sixties, the white painted replica has recently completed a series of high speed taxi runs at Avra Valley, near Minneapolis. Avra Valley is the home of several vintage jet fighters now preserved in flying condition.
Built by the Avra Valley Replica Organisation (AVRO), and constructed from glass fiber, kevlar and aluminium materials familiar to kitplane builders, the replica weighs less than one third of the original.
The project is funded by Lithuanian born millionaire Loof Lirpa, owner of Lirpa Communications and self-confessed Vulcan fanatic, to the tune of some $850,000. Lirpa says “I first saw the Vulcan perform at a display during a business trip to England. I was absolutely knocked out by its looks and performance.” Having failed to buy the last flying example, when it was grounded by the Royal Air Force in 1992 and put up for sale, he resolved to build and fly his own.
Progress has been good, Lirpa says. “Taxi trials have gone well, with only a couple of minor problems. Now we just need to fly her”. The Vulcan is expected to take to the air on April 1st. After thorough flight testing, it is hoped the aircraft will be ready in time for a debut appearance at the massive airshow at Oshkosh in the summer.
A number of design tweaks are planned before the aircraft is seen by the public. “The main problem is getting the right feel and sound for the
display,” explains Lirpa. The distinctive ‘charging bull elephant’ roar during take-off, for which the Vulcan is famous, will be achieved by acoustic tuning of the engine air intake ducting. “At the moment it sounds more like a household vacuum cleaner” Lirpa admits. The engine exhausts are also too clean – measured amounts of industrial die will be automatically injected into the exhaust pipes to reproduce an authentic smoky trail. The replica is actually powered by four General Electric J85 engines, purchased as military surplus, and last used in Navy Northrop F-5 fighters.
The spectacular highlight of the display routine will be the mid-air launch of a replica Blue Steel nuclear missile from the aircraft’s bomb-bay. A initial batch of six of these replica missiles is currently being assembled by AVRO.
As for future plans, Lirpa refused to comment on reports that AVRO employees have been seen measuring and photographing the huge six-engined Convair B-36 bomber on display at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base.