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VC-10 Retirement Thread (merged)

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    I was reading the latest FlyPast...and was shocked they only made 54 of them.
    I knew the number was small, but not that small.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.


      Originally posted by J Boyle View Post
      I was reading the latest FlyPast...and was shocked they only made 54 of them.
      I knew the number was small, but not that small.
      Yep and they jumped through rings to appease everyone, who then did not order it,
      A Skydrol Hydraulic system was added to appease the USA Airlines,
      Underwing mounts for a 5th engine was added to appease the USA Airlines, so it could ferry spare engines for the 707 fleet, then they did not order it.
      Great expense was spent on the wing to produce a short hot take off capability requested, then they didn't want it.
      BOAC didn't want it but Government pressure foisted it upon them, by the time it was realised what they had it was too late.

      When I was still in the RAF there was plans mooted I believe to engine it with the core out of the V2500 engine. myself I always thought a pair of Trents installed as they did on one side of 809 would have been superb.

      Even today the VC10 is the highlight of my aviation career, they were a joy to work on and fly in.. It is and looks so right, I haven't seen another nose and cockpit shape come close to the elegance of the VC10's until the new Boeing Dreamliner that to these eyes follows the lines of the Ten. It is so sad that so few will be preserved, unlike the remaining Nimrod's that more or less were all saved due to their sudden departure from service, the VC10 by still playing an active role are being systematically reduced to produce to keep the remaining fleet in the air.
      Last edited by TonyT; 15th December 2011, 00:48.


        XV102 into Bruntingthorpe Monday


          Nice pics Rob, due to Saints being restricted by Cardiff Airports' airspace we never get to see fly throughs etc with the gear up, the VC-10 looks even cleaner without the AAR pods.
          XV102 T and '107 X are probably the two aircraft that I have seen the least of, in fact these are the only two I have of '102

          VC-10 C.1K XV102 T 05 Nov 09 by jamtey71, on Flickr

          VC-10 C.1K XV102 T summer 07 by jamtey71, on Flickr

          Have to agree with Tonys' comments above, you just can't tire of seeing the VC-10.
          Last edited by pagen01; 16th December 2011, 21:31.


            It is a timeless design.... remember this was concieved at the same time as the 707 and whist that look a 50's design, the VC10 could have rolled off the line yesterday. Even the Trident, BAC 111, 727, DC9 all look their age, but the Ten surpasses them, from every angle it exudes an air of quality and lines that please the eye. Everything just fits, the fin... the engines... the fuselage all appear in perfect proportions to one another and that makes it look right and as they say if it looks right, it is right.
            Last edited by TonyT; 16th December 2011, 20:11.


              Dead right Tony. I flew on the East African aircraft quite a lot while working in Kenya and got to know some of the pilots. Indeed one of them taught me to fly.The highlight was coming back from Heathrow one evening with much waving from the flightdeck as we walked down the airbridge. Shortly after takeoff the hostess came back with a message to say Capt S....y requests your presence on the flightdeck and it was like a party in there. Suffice to say I was still there on the approach to Rome at night which remains one of my best flying memories.
              Another example of the VC-10 doing what it was supposed to was watching the mid-day departure of an Ethiopian 720 from Embakasi (at 5500 feet) leaving huge trails of black smoke and using absolutely all the runway. Five minutes later an EAA VC-10 taxiied out and took off from the mid-point and only used half the remaining length of runway. Very impressive.


                the East African aircraft
                ZA149 and ZA150 both ex East African Airways, they had an extra 68psi switch in the air conditioning ducts running from the compressors and that was the only difference in the build from all of the others, odd thing, but was specified for the aircraft by the company....... Was a special mention on my VC10 course, think there was even a question in the exam


                  Perhaps they wanted to beef up the a/c for the warmer climates they operated in? I gather EAA rather had their arm twisted by BOAC/UK govt to buy the aircraft, which is maybe why they were to BOAC spec. Anyway EAA got their own back as I understand they never paid for them.


                    The East African VC10's certainly looked the part in the steamy heat of RAF Khormaksar, Aden in 1967 where they were regularly seen along with BOAC, BUA and RAF variants. They contrasted sharply with resident pan occupants such as Argosies, Beverley's, Hunters, Shackletons and DC3's.

                    I've always admired the type even though it was one of the BUA VC10's that took me to that dreadful place!



                      Originally posted by ozplane View Post
                      Perhaps they wanted to beef up the a/c for the warmer climates they operated in?
                      I think it was a case of the aircraft being engineered and powered for the colonial airlines use at hot-high and shorter rougher strips (high tail, rear high engines, thrust reversers etc) in the first place, this being cited as the reason why it was expensive and uncompetitive with the likes of the 707 etc on standard routes and airports.

                      The various civil VC-10 operators were,
                      BOAC / British Airways
                      British United Airways / British Caledonian
                      East African Airways (who used the wing mounted spare engine pod that Tony mentions earlier)
                      Ghana Airways
                      Air Malawi
                      Middle East Airways
                      Nigeria Airways
                      Gulf Air
                      United Arab Emirates
                      Sierra Leone (BUA Charter)
                      Omani Royal Flight


                        RAF VC-10 Transports

                        It might be worth briefly outlining what an RAF VC-10 is.

                        The RAF originally ordered the type V.1106 from Vickers to fulfil specification C.239 to the Air Staff Target 378 as a long-range strategic transport, known in service as the VC-10 C.1.

                        It is the highest performance VC-10, essentially comprising of the VC-10 V.1101 ‘Standard’ short fuselage, with the V.1102/03 greater area wings, the tail fin fuel tankage of the V.1154 Super and the side loading freight door of the V.1103 (for Laker/BUA).
                        It was powered by the Super’s RR Co.43 Conways of 22,500Ib thrust each, which when fitted to the noticeably lower weight C.1 airframe gave rise to a sprightly combination. Unique features were some of the avionics, and the tail mounted APU.
                        Flights of M.84 were routine, M.92 were not that unusual, and the limiting mach of .94 is remarkable when you consider that test-pilots in jet fighter prototypes were struggling with controllability at these speeds only ten years previously.

                        The first VC-10 C.1 flew 26 November 1965, and delivery for trials and training began over the summer 1966, the type entered full service with 10 Squadron at Fairford in December of that year. Foutreen aircraft were delivered and all would rather appropriately gain the names of VC winners.

                        VC-10 V.1106 C.1
                        XR806 ‘George Thompson VC’
                        XR807 ‘Donald Garland VC’
                        XR808 ‘Kenneth Campbell VC’
                        XR809 ‘Hugh Malcolm VC’
                        XR810 ‘David Lord VC’
                        XV101 ‘Lanoe Hawker VC’
                        XV102 ‘Guy Gibson VC’
                        XV103 ‘Edward Mannock VC’
                        XV104 ‘James McCuddon VC’
                        XV105 ‘Albert Ball VC’
                        XV106 ‘Thomas Mottershead VC’
                        XV107 ‘James Nicolson VC’
                        XV108 ‘William Rhodes-Moorhouse VC’
                        XV109 ‘Arthur Scarf VC’

                        RAF VC-10s would see sterling service throughout the world, bringing home injured servicemen to Brize Norton, returning hostages, diplomatic and VIP runs, aswel as the day to day performance of trooping and air bridge flights. They took part in the end of the empire withdrawals of the late 1960s early 1970s, the Falklands as air bridge to Ascension, and over Iraq as transports and tankers.
                        From early 1990 The C.1 fleet was progressively upgraded by Flight Refuelling Ltd to perform the dual role of transport and two point air to air refuelling with the fitment of two wing mounted Mk.32 HDU pods, and a nose mounted reciever refuelling probe, thus becoming V.1180 VC-10 C.1Ks, the first being re-delivered to the RAF in early 1992.

                        VC-10 V.1180 C.1K
                        XR806 ‘George Thompson VC’
                        XR807 Q ‘Thomas Gray VC’
                        XR808 R ‘Kenneth Campbell VC’
                        XR810 ‘David Lord VC’
                        XV101 S ‘Lanoe Hawker VC’
                        XV102 T ‘Guy Gibson VC’
                        XV103 ‘Edward Mannock VC’
                        XV104 U ‘James McCuddon VC’
                        XV105 V ‘Albert Ball VC’
                        XV106 W ‘Thomas Mottershead VC’
                        XV107 X ‘James Nicolson VC’
                        XV108 Y ‘William Rhodes-Moorhouse VC’
                        XV109 Z ‘Arthur Scarf VC’

                        10 Squdron disbanded in October 2005 and all remaining C.1Ks joined the K fleet with 101 Sqn.
                        At this moment XR808 R, XV101 S, ‘104 U, ‘106 W, and 108 Y are still in service with 101 Squadron.
                        Last edited by pagen01; 18th December 2011, 13:06.


                          RAF VC-10 Transports

                          During the late 1970s it was realised that the VC-10 would make a good dedicated Air to Air Refuelling platform for the RAF, specification K.294 was issued against Air Staff Requirement 406 and so a major project was put in hand at BAC Filton to convert various redundant civil VC-10s into tankers.

                          First off was five ex BOAC and Gulf Air V.1101 VC-10 ‘standards’ which became V.1112 VC-10 K.2s, these were the short variant, which looked similar to the RAF C.1 and were uprated with the Conway 43s.
                          ZA141 in a unique grey/green camo scheme made the types flight on 22 June 1982, K.2s were delivered to 101 Sqn from July1983, being based on the oldest VC-10 variant they were all scrapped at St Athan by 2004.
                          At the same time four of the stretched variant V.1154 Super VC-10s were rebuilt to become V.1164 VC-10 K.3s. ZA148 made the first flight of this version on 4 Juy 1984, with deliveries to 101 squadron starting from February in the flowing year, the last of these was in delivered to the unit1987.

                          All of these conversions were dedicated three point tankers, with Mk.32 HDUs on the wings and one Mk.17 centre line hose drum unit, along with five cabin mounted 3,182 ltr fuel tanks, reciever refuelling probes, aswel as monitoring cameras and screens, and the RAF stipulated APUs.

                          V.1112 VC-10 K.2s
                          ZA140 A, ex Gulf Air/BOAC V.1101 A40-VL/G-ARVL
                          ZA141 B, ex Gulf Air/BOAC V.1101 A40-VG/G-ARVG
                          ZA142 C, ex Gulf Air/BOAC V.1101 A40-VI/G-ARVI
                          ZA143 D, ex Gulf Air/BOAC V.1101 A40-VK/G-ARVK
                          ZA144 E, ex Gulf Air/BOAC V.1101 A40-VC /G-ARVC (ff 21 Feb 63)

                          All K.2s have been scrapped.

                          V.1164 VC-10 K.3
                          ZA147 F, ex East African Airways V.1154 Super 5H-MMT
                          ZA148 G, ex East African Airways V.1154 Super 5Y-ADA
                          ZA149 H, ex East African Airways V.1154 Super 5X-UUVJ
                          ZA150 J, ex East African Airways V.1154 Super 5H-MOG

                          All of the K.3s are still in active use with 101 Squadron.

                          A further programme (concurrent to the C.1K conversions) was to convert five V.1151 Super VC-10s into V.1170 VC-10 K.4s, this being carried out during the early 1990s by BAE Filton, they were completed to the same standard as the K.3 but without the internal cabin fuel tankage. ZD242, the first K.4 conversion, first flew on 30 July 1993 and deliveries to 101 sqn commenced in April of the following year.

                          V.1170 VC-10 K.4
                          ZD230 K, ex British Airways/BOAC V.1151 G-ASGA (First Super VC-10, ff 7 May 64)
                          ZD235 L, ex British Airways/BOAC V.1151 G-ASGG
                          ZD240 M, ex British Airways/BOAC V.1151 G-ASGL
                          ZD241 N, ex British Airways/BOAC V.1151 G-ASGM
                          ZD242 P, ex British Airways/BOAC V.1151 G-ASGP

                          Only K.4 ZD241 N remains in active service, with 101 Squadron.

                          All the tanker variants have seen widespread service in various places around the world and have been used in the air above Iraq and Afghanistan.

                          With the RAF VC-10s we have the last direct link to the great names of the British aero industry of Vickers and Sir George Edwards.
                          Last edited by pagen01; 18th December 2011, 12:48.


                            You forgot to mention the 1,000,000 dustbin fitted to the tanker conversions

                            The C1K was also rewired at Huntings EMA prior to having the Tanker mods carried out, stupidly although Hunting offered at the time to lay the wiring through the aircraft for the tanker conversion it was turned down I believe as that was a separate contract, so after departing the wiring and all the pressure bulkhead seals had to be re opened up to allow the new wiring to be added, such is Military contracts.
                            Last edited by TonyT; 17th December 2011, 23:57.


                              You will have to explain the dustbin bit to me Tony?!

                              By my quick maths, the VC-10 are the 2nd oldest major aircraft to have served with RAF (after Canberras) front-line, but I'm guessing when it comes to hours and miles flown that they must exceed all others by a fair margin.
                              I wonder what the total hours on XR808 of ZA147 must be by now?
                              Wonder if anyone at Brunty has noted the hours of the scrapped aircraft there.


                                One of the features in the Conversion of the ex airline VC10's into tankers was the addition of a telescopic escape slide in the fwd port pax door.
                                The plan I believe was that in a WW3 senario the Ten would be able to escort the hoards of fighters / bombers etc on a one way trip, it would if needed give up all of its fuel, they would then do a rapid decompression and abandon the Aircraft (there would be nothing to come back too), the Fwd door contained an explosive slide and pole that would deploy and curve around under the fuselage, the crew would then bail out and fall clear of the Aircraft.....

                                However rumours are during trials the dummy was whipped up and struck the wing, so although developed and installed on the aircraft the scheme was abandoned at a reported cost of 1,000,000 per Aircraft, the charges removed and the slide became redundant, though being opposite the galley with the resulting opening being found to be the exact size for a bin liner and crew being crew. it soon found it's use as the worlds most expensive galley bin..
                                Last edited by TonyT; 18th December 2011, 15:48.


                                  on the VC10 site, they have XV102 was delivered, bursting a tyre just after landing


                                    The last two Tanker Conversion contracts were a result of

                                    ASR415 - VC10 K4 conversion and was carried out at Filton
                                    ASR416 - VC10 c1K carried out at Bournemouth by Flight Refuelling.

                                    Both contracts were administered from Filton.

                                    ASR415 was the first time I became involved with the VC-10. I was planning manager on the project and had an involvement from the Abingdon working party which recovered the aircraft through to just before the delivery of ZD242.

                                    The conversion of ZD242 took almost 400,00 manhours.
                                    Dave Charles
                                    Historian 607 (County of Durham) Squadron
                                    Chair North East Land Sea Air Museums (NELSAM)


                                      XV101 in to Bruntingthorpe today, Tuesday 20/12/11. Its looking very depressing in the one corner of Bruningthorpe now, 4 or 5 VC10s, couple of Hercules and 737s all going through reclamation, XV102 has already had her engines removed.......


                                        Last RAF VC-10 service

                                        Bit of a moment yesterday, VC-10 K.3 ZA147 F arrived for it's last service, this marks the last servicing of the type, and the last service (after 70+ years) to be undertaken on an RAF aircraft at St Athan.

                                        VC-10 K.3 ZA150 J 11 Jan 12 by jamtey71, on Flickr

                                        VC-10 K.3 ZA150 J 11 Jan 12 by jamtey71, on Flickr

                                        Also on the ground is VC-10 K.3 ZA150 J, this is just completing its ground runs before being delivered back to Brize Norton by the end of this week, this is the penultimate VC-10 to receive servicing.

                                        VC-10 K.3 ZA147 F 16.1.12 0s by jamtey71, on Flickr

                                        VC-10 K.3 ZA147 F 16.1.12 s by jamtey71, on Flickr

                                        VC-10 K.3 ZA147 F 16.1.12 2s by jamtey71, on Flickr

                                        VC-10 K.3 ZA147 F 16 Jan 12 by jamtey71, on Flickr

                                        VC-10 K.3s ZA147 F & ZA150 J 16 Jan 12 by jamtey71, on Flickr

                                        ZA147 F arriving and seen with ZA150 J on the detuners, it's due to complete servicing by early March.

                                        Hawk T.1 XX255 & VC-10 K.3 ZA147 F by jamtey71, on Flickr

                                        Later ZA147 replaced '150 on the tubes, 100 sqn Hawk XX255 in the foreground.


                                          Excellent shots of a very sad era. How many hours has the highest time airframe got on it I wonder?