Delta 8-3

Registered: 11th July 1960
Duration: 28 minutes
Feet: 2552 feet
Board of Trade Certificate number: BR/E25535
Produced for: United Artists Corporation
Production Company: Harold Baim Film Productions (London) Limited

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A detailed look at Britain's 1960 Vulcan Delta-Wing Bomber Force with iconic images of our "Cold War" nuclear defences. We watch the training of a new crew for V-bomber "Delta 8-3" described as "dedicated to Peace". Based at RAF Waddington the V force proves to the world "Britain can play her part"

A Story of a Vulcan Aircraft and its Crew

Told by: Peter Dimmock
Director of Eastmancolor Photography: Eric Owen
Associate Cameraman: Marc Bocutt, R.N.
Editor: Paul M. Davies
Liason and Technical Advisors: Flt. Lieut. P Warren, Flt. Lieut. J Sewell
Music: De Wolfe
Sound Effects: N. Moore
Recordists: W. Milner, T. Meyers
Produced and Directed by: Harold Baim

The Producers of this film acknowledge with gratitude the co-operation of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command and the Officers and Men of The Royal Air Force Station, Waddington, and Lincolnshire, England.


We the Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of the City of Lincoln in the County of the same City have resolved to admit and have admitted the Royal Air Force Waddington in perpetuity to the honorary Freedom of the City

[Title credits]

Into the bar one evening at the Royal Air Fore Station Waddington comes the Commanding Officer to meet five men who come here to learn to fly a very special aeroplane.

A Vulcan Bomber like this one shortly will be under their control; an aircraft built to preserve the heritage that is Britain's.

The largest delta-winged aircraft in the world it's ninety-seven feet long, ninety-nine fee wide weights over seventy tons and has enough sheet metal to cover almost two football fields. The electric generators it carries could meet the needs of thirty houses.

No smiles please as photographs are taken for their passes. Passes are issued to regulate general admission and entry to specified areas. The guardroom, nerve centre of Camp Security carries out this duty.

Servicing repairs and modifications take place inside the hangers which house the giant aircraft. Operating at a pressure of three-thousand pounds to the square inch hydraulic jacks lift the Vulcan clear of the ground to enable undercarriage tests to be made.

An integral part of the station, the \woman's Royal Air Force work in the hangars too.

You are watching a retraction test. This ensures that the wheels can be properly lowered for landing and lifted for take off. Doors must open and close in sequence; everything must work according to plan.

We take off with a Vulcan to see how the retraction of the undercarriage looks just after the machine leaves the ground.

What goes up must come down; hydraulic power operates the eighteen wheel undercarriage together with bomb doors and steer-able nose wheels.

Responsible for the instrumentation and countless number of pieces of electronic equipment this section does its job to keep the massive aircraft flying. Four Bristol Olympus jet engines power the Vulcan. Pilots go to school. From the operational conversation unit they will eventually pass to their squadron. Navigators go to school; in the dead-reckoning instructor they learn all they need to know.

"Polaris twenty ten. Fifty-three-one zero"

Only the best air-crews are selected for V-Force training. Captains, co-pilots, navigators and air-electronics officers are must have wide experience in their respective roles. Their personal qualities count too and until their ready to embark on their air training they attend extensive specialised ground courses.

Student pilots enter the flight simulator; here they study accurately the functioning of the aircraft under all conditions without even leaving the ground. The fully fledged crew is ready to take to the air. As in civilian airports busses take them to their aircraft which await them at dispersal.

What fantastic machines these delta wings are. There are fourteen miles of electric cables in each one of them, nine thousand three hundred and sixty five feet of tubing and not including the engines, over a hundred and sixty seven thousand different parts; hundreds of thousands of nuts, bolts, washers and rivets hold the gigantic machine together.

Local control gives the OK to take off.

According to the weight of the aircraft so do take-off speeds vary. The altitude of the airfield, temperature of the day, atmospheric pressure all have to be taken into account. The take off speed is usually around one hundred and thirty to one hundred and forty knots.

Landing is effected at around one hundred and thirty knots depending upon weight. Minimising the wear and tear on braking equipment a nylon parachute housed in a rear compartment is released exerting braking power of forty-thousand pounds; that's really some drag.

The parachute is jettisoned ready to be collected from the runway. This is what the parachute looks like when ready for stowing in the aircraft. Outside the parachute section unloading takes place. Thirty-eight feet in diameter the ribbed canopy has attachment lines each fifty-eight feet long. Patience and skill are needed to put it into shape again; mistakes can not be made.

Wing Commander Operations and his staff formally brief the air crew's; metrological tactical intelligence and other information is given out. The first of the Vulcan's to take part in a practise display of V formation flying taxis to the runway.

Final checks have been made to ensure that engines and all systems are functioning properly.

Here they are, thousands of feet above the ground in a world of their own. How graceful they look. How different they seem in the element to which they really belong.

Sometime on clear days we look up to the sky and see vapour trails like this.

At forty thousand feet the con trails as they are generally called look like this.

They ride the sky at a speed in excess of six hundred miles an hour. The men who fly them are dedicated to their work, dedicated to peace.

Way down below emergency training is an essential part of station operation. The foam spreader which makes the runway look like the wastes of Siberia is able to minimise the risk of fire should an aircraft have landing gear trouble.

The men of the V force relax. You can fly a Vulcan but it doesn't follow you can handle a go-cart.

At last for the crew of Delta 8-3 the day for their first solo flight arrives. At briefing their minds are occupied with the knowledge that now theory must be put into practise. No instructor will be with them. They are on their own. Fuel plans, frequencies, call signs, flight plans, wind velocity, flight paths and routes radar echoes are worked out by each individual member of the crew.

Pumping machines of one-hundred-and-twenty-five horsepower fuel the aircraft with two hoses at the rate of five-hundred gallons a minute.

Co-operation between the crew members has to be one-hundred per cent. Sometimes an aircraft will commence its decent to the runway from a point hundreds of miles away. Jet turbine engines take in compress and burn air and expel air in a tremendous crescendo of power.

Our crew changes into flying clothes; courageous indomitable young men working in groups of five. Helmet tests ensure there is no restriction in the flow of oxygen. Tests are made to see that speech can be correctly received and transmitted. Soon they will be airborne; the concentrated work and learning they have done will now be put to the use for which it is intended.

Out of the operations block and into the bus to out to where Delta 8-3 awaits them.

The Group Captain is on hand as the men enter the aircraft.

"Delta 8-3 clear to taxi. Runway 2-1 Quebec November Hotel- one zero two zero"

"Delta 8-3 taxi"

Delta 8-3 taxis to the runway where final checks will be made.

"Delta 8-3 you are clear to line up."

"Surface wind down the runway ten knots"

"Delta 8-3 rolling ... reading six-zero knots ... also reading seventy knots, eighty, ninety, one hundred, hundred and ten hundred and twenty Hundred check speed is OK one hundred and thirty hundred and thirty-five up stick.........."

"8-3 roger understand transition three thousand feet...now four zero climbing... "

"Delta 8-3... out"

The shadow of our camera carrying aircraft can be seen below

Everything they have been taught on previous duel exercises is now put into practise; high altitude bombing and navigation sorties, the practising of emergency procedures, instrument flying and control approaches for landing.

Control, dissatisfied with their line up for the runway, told then to overshoot and try again.

"... right to left runway centre line ... approach Centre line just half a mile to go just slightly right of centre line. Unable to get you in off this approach ... Overshoot ....Waddington talk down ..."

"Delta 8-3- overshooting"

This time a perfect landing; they made it all right.

They now know their work is of the highest order. And their Squadron - Eight-three - is ready to accept them.

Having proved themselves worthy to take their place they are congratulated by the wing commander.

The approach control controllers are in communication with the pilot who is handed over from one controller to another after certain distances have been past.

The final controller brings the aircraft down to the runway threshold by means of radar

"... Mile and a quarter to go - just two degrees .... Resume your normal rate of decent resume your normal rate of decent "..... Right two degrees - Right two degrees with three-quarters of a mile to go"

"... final check...look ahead to the runway slightly on your starboard side... your on the glide path coming onto the central line now ... spot on glide path...."

It could be teatime, breakfast time, or indeed anytime that the call could come. The entire station is in being for the purpose of getting aircraft into the air in the shortest possible time.

The alarm sounds.

"Scramble Scramble"

"Scramble Scramble"

The flying side of the stations activities goes into action. No time now for unnecessary formalities. No time for anything accept to get the aircraft off the ground - fast.

Almost nose-to-tail they take off, Delta 8-3 amongst them.

To us a gratifying sight; to the world the knowledge that Britain can play her part.

"Delta 8-3 airborne - climbing on course"


Title Composer Number Duration Publisher
Danger March F.Rothman DW/ T 487 1.12 De Wolfe
Play In No. 2 K.Essex DW/T 168 0.41 De Wolfe
Hail Elizabeth H.Baynton -Power  DW/T 502 0.45 De Wolfe
Crystal Palace H. De Groot DW 2569 0.36 De Wolfe
Land of Majesty I.Slaney DW 2654 0.36 De Wolfe
Holiday Highway A.Mawer DW 2718 0.11 De Wolfe
Holiday Highway A.Mawer DW 2718 0.41 De Wolfe
Stately March J.Steffaro DW 2675 0.43 De Wolfe
Stately March J.Steffaro DW 2675 1.35 De Wolfe
Wide Horizons I.Slaney DW 2642 2.05 De Wolfe
Dramatic Interlude I.Slaney DW 2723 0.32 De Wolfe
Dramatic Interlude I.Slaney DW 2723 0.11 De Wolfe
Step Lively I.Slaney DW 2645 1.12 De Wolfe
Mount Everest H.De Groot DW 2652 2.35 De Wolfe
All Nations I.Slaney DW 2654 0.32 De Wolfe
Stately Moments J.Steffaro DW 2675 1.25 De Wolfe
Magic Bow K.Essex DW/T 511 0.2 De Wolfe

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De Wolfe Music 
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