Vulcan Test Pilot

My Experiences in the Cockpit of a Cold War Icon

Tony Blackman

Date Published :
June 2009
Publisher :
Grub Street Publishing
Illustration :
16 pages of b/w photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781906502300
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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In 2007 a restored Avro Vulcan Mark 2 – XH558 – took to the skies to help commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Falklands conflict. To coincide with this the memoirs of one of its test pilots, Tony Blackman, was published to great acclaim. Now the first book about test flying this monumental delta-wing aircraft which dominated the history of the late 20th century is available in paperback.

Tony is the ideal man to write such a tale as he flew no less than 105 of the 136 built, logging 850 flights at over 1,327 hours. His book describes in layman’s terms what it was like to tame the first prototypes and to master the unusual characteristics necessitated by the Vulcan’s shape.

Although Tony puts the developments, demonstrations, incidents and accidents in their political and historical context, his story is a highly personal one. He explains how this awesome aircraft became a national treasure and captured the imagination of the whole country. His words, descriptions and hitherto largely unpublished photographs will make people feel as he did the excitement of handling such an incredibly powerful monster always in the knowledge that he had to be in complete charge all the time as the monster could and did bite back.

About The Author

Tony Blackman has spent his life in the aircraft industry as a test pilot, as an avionics specialist and then on the Board of UK Civil Aviation Authority as the Technical Member.


"a fascinating, gracefully written, and superbly knowledgeable flight test manual describing in detail what it took to turn a futuristic late 1940's bomber design into a squadron ready nuclear weapon."

- Air and Space Magazine

“…The first book that concerns the test flying of this wonderful British icon. Blackman is well suited to tell the story. As Avro’s chief test pilot, he flew 105 of the total 136 actually built. …a great story about a wonderful airplane.”

- Flight Journal

“goes into great detail about the various trials and tribulations of the revolutionary delta winged craft..tells to great effect some fascinating personal stories surrounding the Vulcan...”


“Highly readable, keeping both the technical reader interested without perplexing the layman. A fine book for both.”

- Logbook

"June 2007 marked the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War between Argentina and the UK. The Vulcan was part of the RAF’s V bomber force, which fulfilled the role of nuclear deterrence against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It was also used in a conventional bombing role in the Falklands conflict with Argentina. Blackman, a Vulcan test pilot who has logged 850 flights in 105 of 136 Vulcans, documents the plane’s history and handling characteristics"

- Plane and Pilot

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