Once deliveries were complete to the RAF’s main intended operators of the Varsity, several aircraft trickled down to secondary use. It is perhaps interesting to note that only two Varsities were ever exported (at least, as flying examples), just one was re-engined and two made it onto the civil register, not counting three further preserved examples
IN SERVICE VICKERS VARSITY
THE TURBOPROP TESTBED
Second prototype Varsity VX835 was converted in 1953 to become a flying testbed for Napier’s 3,000hp Eland turboprop, initially with the new engine in the starboard position only. The Varsity’s existing engine mountings and firewall made it impossible to produce a suitably narrow and streamlined cowling for the new engine, which measured only 36in across. The first flight as such was in the summer of 1954, and the aircraft appeared at the Farnborough show that September, by which stage it had Elands in both positions.