Vickers VC10

The Vickers VC-10 was not only the last large airliner to be built by an independent British aircraft manufacturer but, sadly, was also the last in the line of commercial aircraft built solely by Vickers that included the Varsity, Viking, Vanguard and Viscount.  During its relatively short commercial service life its graceful lines and comfortable cabin were appreciated by passengers and crews alike.  But its disappointing sales record reflected the attitude of the then national flag carrier, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), which had a predilection for American-built aircraft.  Fortunately, the Royal Air Force stepped in and prolonged the type’s lifespan by acquiring examples for transport duties.  But total sales of just 54 airframes hardly covered the project’s development costs.

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Laker Airways is born: Remembering Sir Freddie Laker

After founding Air Charter and growing a lucrative vehicle ferry service, Sir Freddie developed ambitious plans for even further expansion of his aviation empire

The two VC10s on the final air-to-air refuelling mission perform a flypast at their home base of RAF Brize Norton.  Mark Kwiatkowski Feature Premium

Last days of the VC10

After 47 years of service the RAF retired the Vickers/BAC VC10 from service, as reported in the November 2013 issue of Aviation News

G-ASGD was one of 17 Vickers Type 1151 Super VC10s built for BOAC.  It became a British Airways jet in 1974, when BOAC and British European Airways merged to form the new national carrier. Mendorf Feature Premium

Why the VC10 was loved by passengers and crew

Endowed with levels of performance in some respects still unmatched, the VC10 was loved by pilots and passengers alike, as Bruce Hales-Dutton explained in the August 2013 issue of Aviation News

The ultimate Vickers VC10 quiz

How well do you know the Vickers VC10? Test your knowledge with this quiz!

The aircraft that performed the final flights in one of its earlier guises with BOAC.  (Jacques Guillem Collection) Feature Premium

Flying aboard a British Airways VC10

To mark the 30th anniversary of retirement from British Airways’ service, in 'Airliner World's' March 2011 issue Tom Allett provided a personal memory of one of the type’s last charter flights

Super VC10 G-ASGP comes in to land at Heathrow Airport in July 1978.  BOAC received 17 Super VC10s and 12 standard variants. Ford Feature Premium

BOAC and British Airways VC10s

Stephen Skinner profiles the VC10 in service with BOAC and British Airways.

A VC10 C1(K) refuelling a Storm Shadow-armed Tornado GR4.  Key Collection Feature Premium

Tanking and Transport, the VC10 Way

In a career that stretched almost 50 years, the RAF’s VC10s supported the UK’s military around the world between 1967 and 2013. Paul E Eden reviews the type’s service.

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The VC10’s key design features…and the reasons it failed

Vickers built the VC10 to BOAC’s very specific requirements for certain routes and while it met those goals, these strengths were its weaknesses in being too niche to have wider appeal to airlines like the Boeing 707 achieved. The February 10, 1961 edition of ‘The Aeroplane and Astronautics’ assessed the design features of this new jetliner

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Captivating colour photos of VC10 route-proving flights

More than half a century ago, BOAC was offering a select group of invited guests from the industry, politics and the news media on Vickers VC10 route-proving flights ahead of its entry into service. Bruce Hales-Dutton speaks to a few of those involved in making the marathon operation happen in a report that is illustrated with stunning colour photos

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Gulf War VC10s in Operations Granby and Desert Storm

Stephen Skinner details British VC10 involvement, as both a tanker and transport platform, in Operations Granby and Desert Storm

This article is from VC10 Special

One of the truly iconic jet airliners, the Vickers VC10 is superb example of British engineering that left a lasting impression on many; those who flew it as pilots, or in it as crew or passengers, those who worked on the initial design, manufacturing, or maintenance programmes, or those many more who simply saw it in the skies.

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VC10 specifications

Type 1101 Standard Type 1151 Super Type 1106 / C.Mk1
Power Plant 4x 20,400lb (89.76kN) 4x 22,500lb (100kN) 4x 22,500lb (100kN)
Conway RCo.42 Mk 540 Conway RCo.43 Mk 550 Conway RCo.43 Mk 550
Wing Span 46.2ft (44.56m) 146.2ft (44.56m) 146.2ft (44.56m)
Wing Area 2,932sq ft (272.7m²) 2,932sq ft (272.7m²) 2,932sq ft (272.7m²)
Length 158.7ft (48.4m) 171.33ft (52.23m) 171.33ft (52.23m)
Height 39.5ft (12.04m) 39.5ft (12.04m) 39.5ft (12.04m)
Empty Weight 139,510lb (63,270kg) 146,960lb (66,648kg) 142,225lb (64,501kg)
Gross Weight 312,000lb (141,496kg) 335,000lb (151,927kg) 322,000lb (146,032kg)
Fuel Load 17,925gal (81451 lit) 19,275gal (87,586 lit) 19,275gal (87,586 lit)
CruisingSpeed 560mph (903km/h) 565mph (911km/h) 580mph (935km/h)
Ceiling 43,000ft (13,109m) 43,000ft (13,109m) 42,000ft (12,804m)
Range 5,850 miles (9,435km) 5,960 miles (9,613km) 6,260 miles (10,097km)
Passengers 115 mixed / 135 Economy 139 mixed / 163 Economy 150 personnel or
78 stretchers & nurses
Crew 4 plus 3 stewards 4 plus 3 stewards 2 pilots, 1 navigator