Many books are written about the history of the big 3 V-Bombers of the RAF namely the Handley Page Victor, Vickers Valiant and the Avro Vulcan. But the most iconic of the three is the Avro Vulcan because of its appearance and flight characteristics. 95 Planes were built in different executions and served with the RAF more then 25 years before and during the cold war.
The Vulcan was designed as a A-Bomber but could also carry conventional weapon systems with a range of more than 5000 nautical miles with a speed of 500 knots TAS (True Air Speed). Of course it was a complex plane but originally it could be flown single handed and it had nice handling characteristics such as a very high roll rate and because of that the Vulcan could perform at high altitudes better than many fighter opponents.
Originally it was designed with a crew nacelle so in case of an inflight failure the whole cockpit area was jettisoned and separated from the plane, but in later versions ejection seats for all 5 crew members were installed. That was after a fatal crash at low altitude were pilot and co-pilot could jettison safely but the rest of the crew was killed as they had no ejection seats.
The book describes the whole life of the Vulcan starting with the required specifications of the ministry of supply, the test period with scaled delta wing prototypes like the single seated 707 A, B and C models and the development and testing of the actual production models.
Some nice stories of this period are told. The first flights were made 1952 and the test pilot Roland Falk was wearing his Savile Row lounge suit and was flying the plane single handed as there was no seat for a second pilot. During the Farnborough Airshow in 1955 Roland Falk even made a full roll with the Vulcan but the airshow organisation forbade further rolls due to complaints from the competition. I liked especially the stories told in this book about the test flights and during the operational period.
Except for the bomber version other versions were developed for reconnaissance, low level bombing (stronger body and wings) and air to air refueling. It also played an important role in the Falkland war by bombing enemy airfields during several long range missions.
The Vulcan costed £ 633.000 in that period a bargain compared to present days. The book is full of interesting drawings and descriptions about design details with beautiful inflight pictures and detailed photos of features of the Vulcan.
A handbook really for those people that want to build a bomber (a civil version of course) and it is amazing how much information the author was able to collect. It is a handbook of the Avro Vulcan with 487 pages full of technicalities and facts and at the end you sure are a Vulcan expert.
A very well documented book of the highest quality in content and execution.