Vickers Varsity VX828 prototype
The prototype Vickers Varsity, seen shortly after take-off.
The Vickers Aircraft Varsity was designed as a two-engine crew trainer designed to replace the Vickers 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 Vickers 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 Vickers 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 Intelligence Missions'.


Variants & Numbers

Prototypes VX828 & VX835                                                                                              
Vickers 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



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



Tp 82
Swedish Air Force Museum in Linköping                                              
Varsity T. Mk 1  
Newark Air Museum in Newark, Nottinghamshire
Varsity T. Mk 1  
Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey
Varsity T. Mk 1
Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre, Newquay Airport
Varsity T. Mk 1  
East Midlands Airport Aeropark, Castle Donington, Leicestershire
Varsity T. Mk 1  
Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, Shropshire


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