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Avro Vulcan: The Early Years 1947–64 (Paperback)


By David W. Fildes
Imprint: Key Publishing
Series: Historic Military Aircraft
Pages: 96
ISBN: 9781802820287
Published: 6th October 2022



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Advances in aerodynamics and jet engine technology after World War Two led to the RAF Air Staff producing an Operating Requirement (OR229) for a bomber that could use these new technologies. To meet this requirement, the Avro Initial Projects team adopted a Delta wing design. This was a major change in aircraft design, as little was known about the Delta wing. The design of the Delta wing Vulcan was a major gamble by all concerned. However, it proved an incredibly valuable asset, especially during the Cold War. It was used in both high- and low-level roles and performed some of the longest bombing and anti-radar missions by the RAF during the Falklands War in 1982. After serving over three decades with the RAF, the Vulcan was retired in1984, but it continued display flying with the Vulcan to the Sky Trust until 2015, delighting the public with its noise and manoeuvrability. Fully illustrated with over 150 images, this book explores the history of the Vulcan, from concept to manufacture to service, providing insight from those who developed, designed, and flew it.

This is a fabulous little book that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading, & one I will happily refer back to for many years to come.

Read the Full Review Here


Avro Vulcan The Early Years, 1947-64 takes a yearly look at the Vulcan right from the first initial thoughts, designs and drawings. In this beautiful and nifty little book, the book shows the reader through the whole process of drawings, designs, models and full sized prototypes. We even get to see the actual factories, people and workforces involved in a very good number of photographs, and I think this helps get across the emotion and love that many aviation fans love about this plane. As the book goes along we can see the various design changes, upgrades and the evolution of the Vulcan, this book is very high on the technical aspects such as measurements & design which will appeal to your real technical fan, but for small book it has such a lot of excellent photos of the Vulcan in flight which will appeal to the reader who just loves the beauty and design.

This was such a fascinating book and I loved the comprehensive detail and data that you don’t often get in some books. I found this book would appeal to all fans no matter how much detail they would want because there is something for all in these books.

Certainly a book I enjoyed and would happily recommend to other aviation fans.

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The History Fella

The winter of early 1947 was one of the coldest and grimmest of the twentieth century but tucked away in Manchester were appearing the first sketches of the hottest property of the British aviation industry.

The Second World War had accelerated aeronautical know-how beyond that imaginable at its outset which, combined with the potential of the jet engine, was beginning to take aircraft to the fringes of their manufacturer’s wildest dreams.

The aerodynamic advantages of the delta wing had already been tested and even shared between German and British ‘aeronauts’ before the war. The immediate post-war years brought the enormous advantage of high-speed, even supersonic, wind-tunnels with which to explore these advantages. The Air Ministry issued its initial specification for a bomber which would double the speed of those of the only just-ended conflict.

The first outlines of Avro’s delta-winged project involved five engines but these were progressing as rapidly as the aerodynamics. Author David Fildes, as an insider, is able to take the reader through the mighty Vulcan’s evolution from these tentative days to the end of its production, and, together with many unique illustrations, demonstrates just how much operational conditions and experience ultimately brought significant modifications to VX 770’s original pure delta.

A must for every student of this pinnacle period of the British aircraft industry.

Philip Styles - Archivist – The Shackleton Assn.

About David W. Fildes

Historian David W Fildes is an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator. After serving several years in the advertising industry he joined at Hawker Siddeley Aviation in 1972, working at both the Chadderton and Woodford factories previously known as A.V. Roe & Co Ltd. (Avro). In 1995, he was tasked to set up a Heritage Centre at BAE Systems Woodford, which is going from strength to strength. Now known as the Avro Heritage Museum, it records the many achievements of A.V. Roe & Co Ltd. and successor companies. He is a keen enthusiast of Avro and the iconic Vulcan, which he continues to research.

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