The Viscount had its origins as the Brabazon Committee’s Type IIB. When introduced, it was a complete revolution on BEA’s European and domestic routes, compared with the Douglas DC-3s that it replaced.
Initially specified by the Brabazon Committee with only 24 seats, by the time of the prototype Viscount 630 G-AHRF’s first flight, on 16th July 1948, its capacity had been increased to 32 passengers. The fuselage length of the prototype was 74ft 6 in.
A second prototype, designated the Type 663 and carrying serial VX217, was built powered by two Rolls-Royce Tay jet engines. This aircraft served as a test-bed for the Tay and was subsequently operated by Boulton Paul Aircraft, developing powered flight controls systems in support of the development of the Vickers Valiant.
Discussions with British European Airways and the availability of more powerful versions of the Dart engine resulted in the definition of the Type 700 production aircraft. BEA ordered 26 Type 701 with 47 to 53 seats. The increased seat capacity required an 88-inch increase in fuselage length to 81ft 10 in. A single prototype of the Type 700 was built, flying as G-AMAV on 28th August 1950.
The first production Type 701 G-ALWE flew in August 1952, with the type entering full passenger service on 18th April 1953. The type was an immediate success both in terms of economics and passenger appeal and was sold all over the world. It was popular not least for its superb passenger windows and smooth ride.
The proven success of the type in BEA service led to orders from Air France, Aer Lingus and Trans-Australian Airlines (TAA). These were followed by key orders for 15 aircraft for Trans-Canada Airlines and 60 aircraft for Capital Airlines. Ultimately, 147 of the 445 Viscounts sold were exported to the North American market.
This was followed by the Type 800, which was stretched to by a further 46 inches to 85ft 8in provide a capacity of 57 to 65 seats, dependent upon configuration. The rear bulkhead was also moved aft, resulting in an overall increase in the internal cabin length of no less than 111 inches.
Once again, the lead customer was BEA, whose variant was designated he Type 802. The first Type 802 was G-AOJA, which was first flown at Weybridge on 17th July 1956. The series 800 Viscount can readily be identified by an extra pair of passenger windows on each side, ahead of the plane of the propellers.
At its peak, BEA operated a fleet of no less than 77 Viscounts and their popularity and financial success contributed to sales of the type in the export market. Ultimately, more than 60 operators in 40 countries purchased the type.
The Type 810 introduced a new variant of the Dart engine, the 1,990 ehp Dart 525 engine. This provided improved hot and high take-off performance and allowed an increase in maximum gross weight. Although not produced in the same numbers as the Type 700 series, additional export sales resulted to airlines such as All Nippon Airways, Cubana, Ghana Airways, Pakistan International, Lufthansa and VASP.
The success of the type resulted in Vickers-Armstrongs opening a second production line at its Hurn Airport factory, to supplement production at their Weybridge site. The Hurn factory had previously been used for Vickers Varsity production.
Overall production comprised three prototypes (one Type 630 G-AMRF, Tay Viscount VX217 and prototype Viscount 700 G-AMAV) and 445 production aircraft.
The Vickers Type 810 demonstrator G-AOYV was subsequently adapted with an icing spray rig for fin de-icing tests in support of the development of the Vickers Vanguard.
The last Viscount passenger service in Britain was flown in April 1996.
Variants & Numbers
|Type 630||First prototype G-AHRF, with short fuselage, accommodating 32 passengers and powered by four 1,380 ehp Rolls-Royce Dart R.Da Mk 502 engines|
|Type 663||Second prototype VX217, testbed for Rolls-Royce Tay turbojet, subsequently used by Boulton Paul for the development of powered flight control systems|
|Type 700 Series||First production version, prototype G-AMAV, 1,547 ehp R-R Dart 506 engines, 287 built, the suffix ‘D’ indicated aircraft powered by 1,740 ehp R-R Dart 510 engines. Capacity 43 passengers.|
|Type 800 Series||Improved variant with fuselage extended by 3 ft 10 in, increased passenger capacity up to 65 passengers, 67 built.|
|Type 810 Series||More powerful and longer-range variant with 1,990 hp (1,485 kW) Dart 525 engines, 84 built.|
|Total built||Three prototypes and 445 production aircraft|
|Specification||Viscount Type 700D||Viscount Type 810|
|Powerplant||Four R-R 1,740ehp Dart 510 engines||Four R-R 1,990ehp Dart 525 engines|
|Span||93ft 8.5in||93ft 8.5in|
|Maximum Weight||64,500 lb||72,500 lb|
|Capacity||3 crew, 2 stewards, 43 passengers||3 flight crew, 2 stewards and 57 to 65 passengers|
|Maximum Cruising Speed||334 mph||357 mph at 20,000ft|
|Econ Cruising Speed||317 mph||333 mph|
|Maximum Range||2,000 miles at 317 mph at 21,000ft||1,610 miles at 333 mph at 25,000ft|
|Range max payload||1,730 miles at 317 mph, 11,600 lb payload||1,587 miles at 333 mph, 14,000 lb payload|
|G-ALWF Viscount 701||Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Oldest surviving aircraft.|
|G-AMOG Viscount 701||National Museum of Flight, East Fortune|
|F-BGNR Viscount 708||Air France, Midland Air Museum, Baginton, Coventry|
|F-BGNU Viscount 708||Air France, Auto und Technik Museum, Sinsheim, Germany www.sinsheim.technik-museum.de/en/|
|CF-TGI / N22SN Viscount 724||Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona www.pimaair.org|
|CF-TGQ / F-BMCF Viscount 724||IAAG - Institute Aéronautique Amaury de la Grange, Merville-Calonne, near Lille, France www.iaag-aero.com/en/|
|G-ANHD / PP-SRO Viscount 701C||Museu Eduardo André Matarazzo, Bebedouro, São Paulo, Brasil www.bebedouro.sp.gov.br/portal/index.php/bebedouro/museu-de-bebedouro|
|CF-TGZ / N3832S Viscount 757||Commemorative Air Force - Rio Grande Valley Wing, 955 South Minnesota Avenue, Brownsville, Texas, United States|
|CF-THG Viscount 757||Trans Canada Airlines, The British Columbia Aviation Museum, Sidney, British Columbia, Canada www.bcam.ne|
|N7471 / N6591C / N555SLViscount 745D||Capital Airlines, MAAM - Mid Atlantic Air Museum, Carl A Spaatz Field, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA N7471 / N555SL www.maam.org|
|CF-THI Viscount 757||Trans Canada Airlines, The Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada www.ingeniumcanada.org/aviation/index.php|
|CF-THS Viscount 757||Air Canada, The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada www.royalaviationmuseum.com|
|ZK-BRF Viscount 807||NZNAC, Ferrymead Aeronautical Society, Christchurch, New Zealand|
|CU-T622 / VH-TVR Viscount 818||TAA, The Australian National Aviation Museum, Moorabbin near Melbourne, Victoria, Australia www.aarg.com.au|
|FAB2101 / C-90 2101 Viscount 789D||Brazilian Air Force, Força Aérea Brasileira Museu Aeroespacial, the Brasilian Air Force Museum, Campo dos Afonsos, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil http://www2.fab.mil.br/musal/|
|D-ANAM Viscount 814||Lufthansa, Flugausstellung Aviation Museum, Hermeskeil, near Trier, Germany www.flugausstellung.de|
|D-ANAB Viscount 814||Ex-Lufthansa, Flugzeug Restaurant Silbervogel, Hanover, Germany www.restaurant-silbervogel.de|
|AP-AJF / SE-IVY Viscount 815||Ex-PIA, High Chaparral AB - Wild West Theme Park, near Kulltorp, Sweden www.highchaparral.se/sv|
|G-APIM Viscount 806||British Air Ferries, Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey, England|
|D-ANAF Viscount 814||Lufthansa, Technik Museum Speyer, near Heidelberg, Germany www.speyer.technik-museum.de/en/aviation|
|G-ASDS / 50258 Viscount 843||CAAC, China Aviation Museum - near Beijing, China is the home of V.843 Viscount c/n 453 G-ASDS / 406 / B-406 / 50258. www.china.org.cn/english/kuaixun/72761.htm|