‘Vulcan Boys’ by Tony Blackman

Vulcan Boys cover26 September 2014Vulcan Boys. From the Cold War to the Falklands: True Tales of the Iconic Delta V Bomber is a work that contains the recollections of Avro (Hawker Siddeley) Vulcan aircrews who were assigned to the planes during the Cold and Falklands wars. Readers learn of the type’s design, construction, testing, training and operations over the decades. Particularly interesting are the narratives relating to the Black Buck missions.

The Avro Vulcan has become a British aviation icon, joining aircraft such as the famous Supermarine Spitfire. The design’s distinctive delta wing is instantly recognizable, as is the noise (often referred to as howling) generated by the Olympus turbojet engines when power is advanced for takeoff.

Although only one example (Vulcan HX558) of the venerable and graceful flying machines is still airworthy and actively displaying, for decades the bombers were seen and admired by residents of the United Kingdom, Commonwealth of Nations and the United States. In fact, Vulcans were hardly strangers to North Americans because, as Tony Blackman points out, the Royal Air Force (RAF) established and maintained Bomber Command detachments at Offutt Air Force Base (AFB), Nebraska, and Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay, Labrador. To supplement the foregoing Transport Command detachments appeared at Offutt Air Force Base (AFB), McClellan AFB, California, Hickam Field, Hawaii, and Gander, Newfoundland.

Within the book readers learn that RAF crews flew Ranger sorties flying to the States and westward around the world, participated in U.S. Air Force Giant Voice (the Strategic Air Command [SAC] Bombing and Navigation Competitions at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, and McCoy AFB, Florida) and Red Flag exercises at Nellis AFB, Nevada. Additionally, Vulcans appeared at American air shows at venues including Naval Air Station Glenview, Illinois, and James M. Cox Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio. Examples still reside in North America because, upon retirement of the type, the RAF graciously donated Vulcans to the Strategic Air & Space Museum, Barksdale Global Power MuseumCastle Air Museum and Labrador Military Museum.

Vulcan Boys would be an excellent addition to any aviation library. The work reads well and provides valuable insights. Therefore, this reviewer (John Stemple) highly recommends Mr. Blackman’s book.

Note: Interested readers may enjoy this 20th Century Aviation Magazine companion article: Avro Vulcans and Family Ties. Click on the title to access the essay.

Vulcan to the Sky 2011 link logoSources, Suggested Readings & Viewings

Avro Vulcan XH558 at Kemble 18th June 2011

Avro Vulcan XH558 howling at RIAT 2013

Blackman, Tony. Vulcan Boys. From the Cold War to the Falklands: True Tales of the Iconic Delta V Bomber, London: Grubb Street, 2014.





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