Vickers
Victoria

A successful military transport aircraft which was developed in parallel with the Virginia bomber.
Vickers Victoria I J6860 original nacelles The Vickers Type 56 Victoria I J6860 as originally flown in August 1922.
 
The Vickers Victoria was developed as a troop transport aircraft, capable of carrying 23 fully armed troops over a range of 400 miles and operating from rough fields, with a landing speed of no more than 50 mph.
 
Vickers were developing the Virginia bomber at the time and the design for the transport aircraft sought to retain commonality with a number of the bomber’s structural components.
 
The Air Ministry placed an order for two prototypes (J6860 and J6861 - a Vickers Type 56 Victoria I and a Type 81 Victoria II). These aircraft, except for their enlarged transport fuselages and different fuel systems, were identical to the first prototypes of the Vickers Virginia (Vickers Type 57 and Type 76).
 
The transport aircraft featured underwing long-range tanks which on the first aircraft (J6860) were installed under the lower wing centre section, whereas the second aircraft (J6861) had the long-range tanks fitted under the upper wing centre section.
 
The first aircraft was fitted with two 450 hp Napier Lion IAX engines with flat, car-type, radiators and was flown for the first time from Brooklands on 22nd August 1922 where it was found to be significantly tail heavy with sluggish yaw control and heavy elevator forces.
 
Full load trials were later conducted at Farnborough in September 1922 and these showed that the climb rate was very slow and underpowered when using the Lion IAX engines.
 
Vickers Victoria II J6861 RAE 3-7-1923 original nacelles The Vickers Type 81 Victoria II J6861 at Farnborough in July 1923 with the original nacelles.
 
The Victoria II (J6861) was flown in January 1923 and was later fitted with revised engine cowlings, similar to those used by the Virginia. These were adopted for all Lion-powered production versions of the Victoria.
 
Testing of the Victoria prototypes continued for more than two years before a production contract was finally placed for the Victoria III (Vickers Type 117). The initial batch was for 15 aircraft, increased ultimately to a total of 46 aircraft.
 
The production model had swept outer wing panels which would have addressed the tail heaviness of the prototypes. Dihedral was introduced on both upper and lower wings and the production aircraft had significant commonality with the Virginia Mk VII. This included the wing and tail structural components and parts of the rear fuselage structure.
 
The Victoria III was powered by 450 hp Lion II engines, with the first aircraft being flown in January 1926.
 
Vickers Victoria III J7924 70 sqd The 4th production Type 117 Victoria III J7924 in service with 70 Squadron, RAF.
 
These aircraft served with 70 Squadron and 216 Squadron in the Middle East, operating from Hinaidi, Iraq and Heliopolis, Egypt. These aircraft conducted a number of long-distance flights but operational feedback indicated problems with inadequate climb and cruise performance and restricted power due to the onset of propeller flutter. Cruise speeds as low as 65 mph were reported.
 
Investigation showed that local modifications, made with a view to increasing engine cooling, had greatly increased the drag of the aircraft with this being exacerbated by the propeller flutter problem that was restricting the engines to 1,900 rpm.
 
Extensive testing resulted in improved propeller design and larger radiators, also of improved design and these restored both performance and reliability. The most significant operational performance was the evacuation of nearly 600 personnel from the British Legation from Kabul to Peshawar, Pakistan over mountains rising to 10,000 ft.
 
The next development, the Victoria IV introduced an all-metal structure. A single prototype (J9250) was ordered and powered by two Bristol Jupiter radial engines. After trials at Martlesham, this aircraft (designated Vickers Type 145, but generally known as the Victoria Jupiter) was sent to Iraq for Service trials although it was destroyed in an accident in March 1931.
 
Vickers Victoria IV Jupiter J9250 The experimental Type 145 Victoria IV J9250 with Bristol Jupiter engines.
 
At least 10 Victoria III's were converted to have an all-metal wing structure and three further aircraft were converted to all-metal construction and were designated as Victoria Mk IVs. These aircraft also used a tail unit with fin-less rudders that had been adopted on the Virginia and gave much improved control on the Victoria design. These aircraft retained their Napier Lion IIB engines.
 
Vickers Victoria V K2344 air to air K2344 is a production Type 169 Victoria V, the last model to use the Napier Lion engine.
 
Next came the Victoria V, which was the main all-metal production type, differing from the Mk IV only by the use of two 570 hp Napier Lion XIB engines. Production comprised 37 aircraft, built in four batches and delivered between September 1929 and October 1932. One aircraft (K2340) was powered by Bristol Jupiter XFBM engines and carried out trials at Martlesham and in Iraq.
 
The final production variant was the Victoria VI. The Napier Lion engine was becoming obsolete and the decision was taken to re-engine the Victoria with the 660 hp Bristol Pegasus IIL3 air-cooled radial engine (the Pegasus being the production version of the Jupiter XFBM that had been tested on K2340.
 
Eleven new-build production examples were manufactured and a further 23 examples resulted from conversions of earlier marks of Victoria. These aircraft were cleared to a maximum weight of 17,600 lb. It was clear however, that there was insufficient power available for the aircraft to be developed to fly at higher weights.
 
Vickers Victoria VI RAF K3159 1st prodn & K2806 An air-to-air photograph of two Vickers Type 262 Victoria VI aircraft with Bristol Pegasus engines.
 
As a result, further development was put in hand, resulting in the Vickers Type 264 Valentia, which is described separately. A total of 54 Victoria aircraft were subsequently converted to Valentias, including all the Victoria Mk VI aircraft.
 

Variants & Numbers

 
Victoria Mk I
Prototype J6860, dihedral on lower wing only
Victoria Mk II
2nd prototype, J6861, later modified with revised engine installation
Victoria Mk III
46 aircraft, Napier Lion II, swept outer wings and dihedral on both upper and lower wings
Victoria Mk IV
Experimental prototype with all-metal structure and Jupiter engines; thirteen conversions retaining Napier Lion engines
Victoria Mk V
37 new-build aircraft delivered in four batches
Victoria Mk VI
Eleven new-build with Pegasus engines and 18,000 lb maximum weight; 23 conversions from earlier marks
Total built
97 aircraft, 54 subsequently converted to Valentia

 

Specifications

 
 
Victoria I
Victoria V
Victoria VI
Powerplant
Two 450 hp Napier Lion IAX
Two 570 hp Napier Lion XIB
Two 660 hp Bristol Pegasus IIL.3
Span
86 ft 6 in
87 ft 4 in
Maximum Weight
18,100 lb
17,760 lb
17,600 lb
Capacity and armament
Two crew and 23 fully armed troops
Maximum Speed
106 mph at sea level
110 mph at sea level
130 mph at 5,000 ft
Range
400 miles
770 miles
800 miles
 

Survivors

 

No examples of the Vickers Victoria survive.

Other information

www.brooklandsmuseum.com