This website uses cookies. By navigating around this site you consent to cookies being stored on your machine

Vickers
Varsity

A twin-engine training aircraft developed from the Vickers Valetta.
 
Vickers Varsity VX828 prototype The prototype Vickers Varsity, seen shortly after take-off.
 
The Vickers Varsity was designed as a two-engine crew trainer designed to replace the Wellington T.10. It was procured against Specification T.13/48.  It was in essence, a tricycle undercarriage development of the ValettaT3 & T4.
 
Having said that, the design changes included an increase in fuselage length of 55 inches and an increase in span of 6 ft 5 in. Another readily distinguishable feature was the introduction of a large belly pannier to allow bomb-aiming training. The rear of this pannier provided a compartment for the carriage of up to twenty-four 25 lb practice bombs.
 
The Varsity was used for heavy aircraft crew training, including pilots, navigators and bomb-aimers and as such, the equipment fit included both radar and radio-navigation equipment. The engines were housed in large nacelles with clean lines, equipped with clam-shell engine cowling doors providing excellent access for maintenance.
 
Vickers Varsity WJ945 WJ945 is a Varsity T.1 and is currently preserved at the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre at Newquay Airport.
 
The first prototype Varsity (VX828) made its first flight from Wisley on 17th July 1949 in the hands of Joseph 'Mutt' Summers and Jock Bryce with a second prototype (VX835) following on 29th January 1950. The second aircraft was subsequently used as a test-bed for the Napier Eland engine.
 
The first production Varsity T.Mk 1 flew on 21st May 1951.
 
Deliveries to the RAF began in October 1951 and the type remained in RAF service until May 1976, being replaced by the Handley Page Jetstream and the HS125 Dominie. One aircraft (WL679) remained on long-standing trials duties with the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) until its retirement in 1992, being subsequently put on display at the RAF Museum, Cosford.
 
A total of two prototypes and 161 production examples were built, with production split between Weybridge (17) and Hurn (146).
 
Vickers Varsity WL629 air to air Two Vickers Varsity T Mk 1 aircraft flying in formation with WL629 nearest the camera.
 
The Swedish Air Force operated a single Varsity for over 20 years (1953-73) which was siad to have been utilised for 'Electronic Intellegence Missions'.

Variants & Numbers

Prototypes VX828, VX835                                                                                              
Varsity T. Mk 1 160 production aircraft for the RAF; 1 aircraft supplied to Royal Swedish Air Force designated Tp82 serial 82001
Total 163 aircraft

Specification

Powerplants Two 1,950 hp Bristol Hercules 364 engines
Span 95 ft 8 in
Maximum Weight 37,500 lb
Capacity and armament Pilots, students and instructor; carriage of up to 600 lb of practice bombs in under-fuselage pannier
Maximum Speed 288 mph at 10.000 ft
Cruising Speed 239 mph
Range 2,648 miles (max) at 239 mph

Survivors

Tp 82 82001 Swedish Air Force Museum in Linköping  

http://www.flygvapenmuseum.se/languages/engelska/                                                         

Varsity T. Mk 1   WF369
Newark Air Museum in Newark, Nottinghamshire
Varsity T. Mk 1   WF372
Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey
Varsity T. Mk 1 WJ945
Cornwal Aviation Heritage Centre, Newquay Airport
Varsity T. Mk 1   WL626 East Midlands Airport Aeropark, Castle Donington, Leicestershire http://www.eastmidlandsaeropark.org/
Varsity T. Mk 1   WL679
Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, Shropshire

Other information

www.brooklandsmuseum.com

www.rafmuseum.org.uk