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Vickers VC10

Try a little VC-Tenderness
Popular commercial airliner with four rear-mounted jet engines, remembered for the BOAC advertising slogan ‘Try a little VC-Tenderness’.
Vickers VC10 (G-ARTA) Landing at Brooklands 29-06-1962 Vickers VC10 (G-ARTA) Landing at Brooklands 29th June 1962
The last of the Vickers built designs was the Type 1101 VC10, the first of which (G-ARTA) flew for the first time from Weybridge on 29th June 1962.  By this time and despite being named 'Vickers VC10', Vickers-Armstrongs themselves had already amalgamated to form part the Commercial Aircraft sector of the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC).
 
The VC10 was closely constrained by its BOAC specification which required operation from short airfields in Africa at high altitudes and temperatures (hot and high). This suited a number of African and Middle Eastern operators but restricted its appeal worldwide.  The performance of the VC10 was such that it achieved the sub-sonic record for a Trans-Atlantic crossing of just 5 hours 1 minute, a record which it still holds today.
 
The VC10 was characterised by its soaring T-tail and four rear-mounted Conway engines which provided a quiet passenger cabin and was exploited in the contemporary BOAC advertising with the slogan ‘Try a little VC-Tenderness’.  
 
Despite consistent popularity with its passengers the VC10 saw service with BOAC from April 1964 to 1975 with just 12 examples reaching completion. Other operators included British United Airways (subsequently British Caledonian), East African Airways, Ghana Airways, Air Malawi and the Royal air Force.  Nigerian Airways had planned to order a pair of VC10's but cancelled the order due to financial difficulties.
Vickers Super VC10 BOAC (G-ASGR) taking off at Weybridge Vickers Super VC10 BOAC (G-ASGR) taking off at Weybridge
The Type 1151 / Super VC10 was developed to offer lower seat per mile costs on Trans-Atlantic services and featured an increase in fuselage length, take-off weight and passenger capacity, combined with increased thrust Conway engines.
 
The first Super VC10 (G-ASGA) flew for the first time on 7th May 1964 and entered service with BOAC in April 1965.
Vickers VC10 BUA with Cargo Door Vickers VC10 (BUA) with large Cargo Door
BUA ordered the VC10, specifying a large forward cargo door, resulting in additional sales to Ghana Airways, East African Airways and, significantly, 14 aircraft for the RAF for use by Transport Command as the VC10 C.1 (later C.1K).
 
The RAF aircraft were later augmented by additional examples (of both the VC10 and Super VC10) purchased from civil operators, the type being re-fitted to support air-to-air refuelling operations as the VC10 K.2 and K.3.  The VC10 tankers continued to serve the RAF operating from Brize Norton until 20th September 2013 although the last recorded flight was that of ZA147 which landed at Bruntingthorpe on 25th September 2013, bring to an end 51 years of VC10 service.
 
Vickers VC10 K Mk2 RAF ZA141 Tanker 2 Vickers VC10 K Mk2 RAF Tanker (ZA141)

Variants

Vickers VC10 Type 1100
2 Built
Prototype; one built / one converted to Type 1109
BAC VC10 Type 1101
12 Built
BOAC Specification 'Standard' variant
BAC VC10 Type 1102
3 Built
Ghana Airways passenger cargo specification
BAC VC10 Type 1103
2 Built
BUA passenger cargo specification
BAC VC10 Type 1109 Converted from Type 1100 for lease to Laker Airways
BAC Super VC10 Type 1151
17 Built
BOAC
BAC Super VC10 Type 1154
5 Built
East African Airways' passenger cargo
VC10 C1: RAF VC10 Type 1106
14 Built
13 converted to VC10 C1K
VC10 C1K: RAF VC10 Type 1180 Transport/tanker aircraft converted from VC10 C1, 2-point and no maindeck tanks
VC10 K2: RAF VC10 Type 1112
5 Conversions
Inflight-refuelling tankers converted from Type 1101
VC10 K3: RAF VC10 Type 1164
4 Conversions
Inflight-refuelling tankers converted from Type 1154, 3-point and maindeck tanks
VC10 K4: RAF VC10 Type 1170
5 Conversions
inflight-refuelling tankers converted from Type 1151, 3-point but no maindeck tanks

Specification

Specification
VC10 Type 1101
Super VC10 Type 1151
VC10 C.1 Type 1106
Powerplant
4x R-R Conway RCo42 21,000 lbst
4x R-R Conway RCo43 22,500 lbst
4x R-R Conway RCo43 22,500 lbst
Span
146ft 2 in
146ft 2in
146ft 2in
Length
158ft 8in
171ft 8in
158ft 8in
Max Weight
312,000 lb
335,000 lb
322,000 lb
Capacity
10 crew, 115-135 passengers
12 crew, 139 – 163 passengers
5 crew, 150 troops or 78 stretcher cases
Maximum Speed
580 mph
580 mph
580 mph
Max Range
5,850 nm
5,960 nm
6,260 nm
 

Survivors

Type 1101 (G-ARVF) Flugausstellung, Hermeskeil, Germany
www.flugausstellung.de
Type 1101 (G-ARVM)  Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey, UK.
www.brooklandsmuseum.com
Type 1103 (A40-AB / G-ASIX) Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey, UK.
www.brooklandsmuseum.com
Type 1151 (G-ASGC) Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, UK
www.iwm.org.uk
Type 1180 C1K (XR808) Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford, UK
www.rafmuseum.org.uk
Type 1164 K3 (ZA150) Dunsfold Park, Dunsfold, Surrey, UK
www.dunsfoldpark.com
Type 1164 K3 (ZA148) Classic Air Force Collection, Cornwall Aircraft Museum, Newquay, Cornwall, UK
www.cornwallaviationhc.co.uk
Type 1170 K4 (ZD241 / G-AGSM) Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, Leicestershire, UK
www.bruntingthorpeaviation.com
Type 1164 K3 (ZA147) Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, Leicestershire, UK
www.bruntingthorpeaviation.com
 

More information

www.brooklandsmuseum.com

www.rafmuseum.org.uk

or email: BAE Systems Heritage - Heritage@baesystems.com