Vickers Vimy: Trans-Atlantic Vimy Aug 1919
Trans-Atlantic Vimy at Brooklands in August 1919
The Vickers Vimy was the first twin-engined bomber built by Vickers and it became famous for the historic flight by Alcock and Brown who became the first men to fly the Atlantic non-stop.
The prototype (B9952) was conceived and designed by Vickers Limited (Aviation Department) Chief Designer Reginald Kirshaw Pierson in just four months and it flew at Joyce Green, Kent on 30th November 1917. 
Four prototypes were built and trialled with different engines (Hispano Suiza, Salmson, Sunbeam Maori, Fiat, Hispano and Rolls-Royce Eagle), with the production Vickers FB27A Vimy II using the Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines.
The first Vickers FB.27 went to the The Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Martlesham Heath for official trials in January 1918, where it caused a sensation by lifting a payload heavier than its main competitor, the Handley Page 0/400 which boasted almost twice the power. The Vickers Vimy was beset with engine problems however, and had to be returned to Joyce Green earlier than expected, where a number of alternative powerplants were tried.

Unfortunately the type was too late to see Operational Service in World War One, despite a large numbers of Vimy's being ordered. Sadly, many of the contracts were subsequently cancelled after the Armistice.
The prototype survived and it was flown to Amsterdam in August 1919, to take part in the Vickers display at the E.L.T.A. exhibition.
In total, Vickers built 147 aircraft at Bexleyheath, Crayford and at Brooklands with further construction contracts being placed with a number of other suppliers. These included: Clayton & Shuttleworth Ltd; Kingsbury Aviation Co.; Metropolitan Wagon Co.; Morgan & Co.; The Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough and Westland Aircraft Works (Branch of Petters Ltd).  
Over 1,000 aircraft had been ordered under the wartime contract but in the confusion of cancelled orders and unfinished aircraft, the total actually delivered is still uncertain. It does appear nevertheless tp have been in excess of 230 aircraft. 
In addition to a short-lived role as a torpedo bomber, many speculate that there was consideration given to fitting the aircraft with floatation devices, although no evidence appears to exist of such a project.
There can be little doubt however, that the Vickers Vimy would have had an important part to play in the First World War had it continued beyond 1918.
Allcock & Brown
Allcock & Brown after their record breaking flight across the Atlantic
After the war, the type revealed its true capability with long distance, record-breaking flights. These included the famous first direct, non-stop Trans-Atlantic flight of Captain John Alcock (DSC) and Lt. Arthur Whitten-Brown (14th - 15th June 1919), when they flew from Newfoundland to County Galway, thus winning the £10,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail.
Later that year, Ross and Keith Macpherson-Smith flew from England to Australia in G-EAOU between 12th November and 10th December 1919.
In addition to the Allcock & Brown Trans-Atlantic aircraft, rebuilt and donated to the Science Museum in London, three other full-size replicas have been created.  The most well-known is the Vintage Flying Association aircraft at Brooklands (G-AWAU), although this is now in storage following display at The RAF Museum, Hendon during 2014.
Its potential of the Vimy as a military type is clearly demonstrated by its subsequent developments which included the following types: Vickers Vimy Commercial (44), Vickers Vernon (55), Vickers Virginia (126), Vickers Victoria (97) and the Vickers Valentia (28).

Vimy Commercial

Vickers Vimy Commercial K-107
Vickers Vimy Commercial Variant K-107
The Vickers Vimy Commercial project saw an enlarged diameter fuselage aircraft take off on its maiden flight at Joyce Green, on 13th April 1919.  Although the prototype later entered the London-Cape Town Air Race in 1920, it was lost in a crash over Tanganika in February 1920. 
Twenty aircraft were converted to bombers and saw service in both the first and second Zhili-Fengtian War in China during 1922.  The Chinese order a hundred aircraft although only forty aircraft were eventually assembled, the balance remaining in their crates unused.
Fifty-Five military transport versions of the Commercial were built for the RAF, entering service under the designation Vickers Vernon.

Variants and Numbers Built

Vickers F.B.27 Vimy
4 Prototypes built
Initially powered by two 200hp Hispano-Swiza piston engines although a number of alternative engines were trialed.
Vickers F.B.27a Vimy II
4 Prototypes built
Production variant for the RAF.  Heavy-bomber with two Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII piston engines
Vickers Vimy Ambulance
Air Ambulance conversion for the RAF
Vickers Vimy Commercial
Initially conceived as a civilian transport aircraft, powered by two Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines, later variants were produced in bomber configurations and introduced into RAF service as the Vernon
A.N.F Express Les Mureaux    A one-off conversion for the French aircraft manufacturer


Specification (VickersFB27a Vimy II)


Two 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII
68ft 0in
Maximum Weight
12,500 lb
Capacity & Armament
Pilot and two gunners. Two Lewis guns and 2,476lb bomb load
Maximum Speed
103 mph
11 hours


Vickers Vimy (G-EEAR)
Science Museum, London
Vickers Vimy (G-EAOU)
Sir Ross & Sir Keith Smith War Museum, Adelaide Airport Museum, South Australia
Vickers Vimy (NX71MY)
Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey
Vickers Vimy Replica (G-AWAU )
In storage at RAF Stafford


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