Vickers
Vellore

An aircraft designed to carry mail and urgent cargo, built in single-engine and twin-engine variants.
Vickers Vellore I G-EBYX original config The Jupiter-powered Vellore I G-EBYX at the 1928 Hendon Air Display.
 
The Vickers Vellore I was a large single engine biplane designed for the long-range delivery of mail and urgent civil cargo.  The original design was to Specification 34/24 and Vickers received a contract for a single prototype, a two-bay, high aspect ratio biplane of 76 ft wingspan, powered by a 515 hp Bristol Jupiter IX engine.
 
The slim fuselage was suspended between the upper and lower wings and carried a biplane tail section with narrow chord quadruple rudders. Two crew were carried, sitting side-by-side in an open cockpit at the highest point in the fuselage ahead of the wings, acting as pilot and navigator. This provided an excellent view with the cargo hod sited behind them within the gently tapering fuselage. Below them was a fixed undercarriage assembly with a sprung tailskid.
 
The prototype (G-EBYX / J8906) was first flown on 17th May 1928 at Brooklands and was allocated the Vickers Type number 134. It was later displayed publicly at the RAF Hendon Display on 20th June 1928.
 
Official trials at Martlesham Heath followed in October 1928, showing that the aircraft exceeded the specified requirements in terms of both speed and service ceiling. During the trials, the aircraft performed reliably, with no failures of any kind being reported.
 
Vickers Vellore II AS Jaguar VI Australian flight Vickers Vellore II with Jaguar VI engine prior to its flight to Australia in 1929.
 
The next step was to demonstrate the long-range capabilities of the type and its suitability for the delivery of urgent cargo. To this end, the aircraft was loaned back to Vickers and modified by the fitting of an Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar VI engine and increasing the maximum fuel capacity to 513 gallons. In this guise, it was known as the Vickers Type 166 Vellore II.
 
On 18th March 1929, the aircraft left Lympne, Kent on an attempted flight to Australia with a payload of 5,000 lbs. The flight reached Benghazi where an engine inspection was required due to a misfire while crossing the Mediterranean. Some 200 miles out from Benghazi, the engine failed, leading to a forced landing at Mersa Matruh.
 
Repairs were necessary and the flight was not resumed until 28th April. Despite encountering bad weather, the flight reached the Timor Sea for its final crossing to Australia. Part-way across this notoriously shark-infested sea transit, the engine again began to misfire. The crew soldiered on, just managing to make landfall near the Cape Don lighthouse although a forced landing in the treetops damaged the aircraft beyond repair. Thankfully both of the Australian crew were unhurt.
 
The destruction of the original Vellore led to Vickers offering the Air Ministry a twin-engine development, the Type 172 Vellore III, as a replacement. The Vellore III was powered by two 525 hp Bristol Jupiter XIF engines and was assembled at Vickers Crayford Works, being the last aircraft to be manufactured at that site.
 
Vickers Vellore III G-AASW side view The twin-engine Vickers Vellore III G-AASW was built at Vickers' Crayford works.
 
The sole Vellore III (G-AASW) made its first flight at Brooklands on 24th June 1930. It subsequently competed in the 1930 King’s Cup Air Race in July and although it finished the course it was unplaced in the results.
 
In 1932, it was fitted with twin floats designed by Supermarine and underwent trials on Southampton Water. 
 
Vickers Vellore III O-4 on floats The Vickers Vellore III O-4 being tested on Supermarine floats on Southampton Water.
 
A second example of the twin-engine Vellore was ordered by the Air Ministry, fitted with Jupiter IX engines.
This aircraft incorporated several other changes and was designated the Vickers Type 173 Vellore IV (K2133) having originally been allocated a civil registration (G-ABKC). The aircraft spent its service life at Martlesham Heath, ferrying equipment between that establishment and nearby Orfordness.
 
The remaining airframe was re-engineered as the Vellox Type 212 which is described on its own page elsewhere on this website.
 

Variants & Numbers

Type 134 Vellore I
G-EBYX / J8906, one Bristol Jupiter IX, modified to Type 166
Type 166 Vellore II
G-EBYX with one Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar VI, for flight to Australia
Type 172 Vellore III
G-AASW in twin engine configuration, with Jupiter XIF engines
Type 173 Vellore IV
K2133 powered by two Jupiter IX engines
Total production
Three airframes (one Vellore I, one Vellore III, one Vellore IV)

Specifications

 
 
Vellore I
Vellore III
Powerplant
One 515 hp Bristol Jupiter IX
Two 525 hp Bristol Jupiter XIF engines
Span
76 ft 0 in
76 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight
9,500 lb
12,000 lb
Capacity
Pilot & navigator, cargo
Pilot & wireless operator. cargo
Maximum Speed
114 mph
138 mph
Cruise Speed
80 mph
120 mph
Range
350 miles
300 miles

Survivors

No examples of the Vickers Vellore survive.

Other information

www.brooklandsmuseum.com