Vickers
Viastra

All metal commercial airliner flown in single-, twin- or three-engined configurations.
Vickers Viastra I on lighter to Hamble
 
The Vickers Type 160 Viastra was an all-metal, high wing commercial transport aircraft designed to carry around ten passengers and intended for use in the British Empire and its Dominions.  Its design was led by Michel Wibault, a French pioneer of metal aircraft construction, who was associated with Vickers Aviation from 1922.
 
The first prototype Vickers Type 160 Viastra I was powered by three 270hp Armstrong Siddeley Lynx Major engines, with one mounted in the nose and another mounted beneath each wing, in the same manner as a Ford Trimotor or a Fokker F,VII/3m.
 
The Vickers 160 Viastra I (G-AAUB) was built in the Supermarine Aviation Works of Vickers Ltd at Woolston, Southampton, which had recently been absorbed into the Vickers Group.
 
For its first flight, the Vickers 160 Viastra I prototype was moved down the River Itchen to Hamble Aerodrome, taking to the air for the first time on 1st October 1930.
 
Vickers Viastra II VH-UOO Brooklands VH-UOO was the first of two Viastra IIs for West Australian Airways and is seen here at Brooklands.
 
There was interest from Australia in finding replacements for the DH66 Hercules aircraft then in use between Perth and Adelaide. This resulted in orders for additional Viastra variants, the first of which was the 12 passenger Type 198 Viastra II, powered by two 525hp Bristol Jupiter XIF engines. Two aircraft were ordered by West Australian Airways (VH-UOO and VH-UOM).
 
Engine reliability and an inability to maintain height at full load followed by an engine failure resulted in several forced landings during service, fortunately without damage to the aircraft or injury to passengers.
 
Vickers Viastra VI N1 AVRoe hangar N-1 is the first of two Jupiter-powered Viastra VI aircraft built for West Australian Airways.
 
Western Australian Airways also ordered a Vickers Type 203 Viastra VI variant, which was powered by a single Bristol Jupiter engine. Although two aircraft (N-1 and O-6) were built, they were never delivered as the order was cancelled, presumably due to the in-service difficulties experienced with the Vickers Viastra II's.
 
In the search for a more satisfactory solution, the prototype (G-AAUB) was modified to a twin engine configuration, similar to the Viastra II. Employing two Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar VIc engines it was designated the Type 199 Viastra III.
 
Vickers Viastra III Jaguar G-AAUB Brooklands
 
The same aircraft subsequently reverted to its original three engine configuration, although this time it was fitted with Bristol Jupiter VIFM engines, acquiring the new designation of Vickers Type 220 Viastra VIII.  It can readily be distinguished from the original Vickers Viastra I as it has Townend ring cowlings only on the outer engines.
 
Vickers Viastra VIII G-AAUB Weybridge The prototype G-AAUB reverted to three engines layout as the Viastra VIII using Bristol Jupiter VIFMs.
 
In a final development, a further twin engine variant was produced as the Vickers Type 259 Viastra X (G-ACCC) which was initially powered by two Bristol Pegasus IM3 engines, although these were later replaced by Pegasus IIL3's.
 
This aircraft was intended for use by the Prince of Wales and was finished to a high standard with cabin heating, sound-proofing, blind flying panel and autopilot, and other refinements.
 
Vickers Viastra X Prince of Wales being met on arrival HRH the Prince of Wales is met by a senior RAF greeting party as he leaves his Viastra X. G-ACCC.
 
The royal aircraft was first flown at Hamble in April 1933 and when tested it achieved a maximum speed of 144.5 mph. It was later taken on charge by the RAF (as L6102) and used for the trials of experimental radio installations before being finally dismantled in 1937.
 

Variants & Number Built


Vickers Type 160 Viastra I
One only G-AAUB, three Lynx engines; later converted to Viastra III and Viastra VIII
Vickers Type 198 Viastra II
Two aircraft for West Australian Airways, two Jupiter XIF engines (VH-UOM & VH-UOO)
Vickers Type 199 Viastra III
G-AAUB in twin engine configuration, with Jaguar VIc engines
Vickers Type 203 Viastra VI
Two only powered by single Jupiter engine (N-1, O-6)
Vickers Type 220 Viastra VIII
G-AAUB with three Jupiter VIFM engines
Vickers Type 259 Viastra X
G-ACCC / L6102 for the Prince of Wales, two Pegasus engines
Total production
Six airframes flown in six configurations

 

Specification (Vickers Viastra II)


Powerplant
Two 525 hp Bristol Jupiter XIF engines
Span
70 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight
12,350 lb
Capacity
Two pilots, twelve passengers
Maximum Speed
120 mph
Range
535 miles

 

Survivors


None

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