Vickers VC10s: Where Are They Now?

By Steve Fitzgerald [GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

The Vickers VC10 was a large airliner developed in Britain during the 1960s as an answer to the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8, and to a specification from British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC).

The airliner was distinctive in that it had a tall vertical tail fin with horizontal stabilizer at the top. It also had four rear-mounted engines, situated two either side of the fuselage.

The VC10 is widely acknowledged as one of the best-looking airliners to have flown, and perfectly reflected the design styles of the 1960s.

It was also a highly capable airliner, with the ability to fly from “hot and high” airstrips, which were common on the overseas Empire routes of BOAC. It was also a quiet and comfortable aircraft to fly on.

There were two variants of Vickers VC10 – the Standard model, which first flew in April 1964, and the Super VC10 which first flew in May 1964. However, in total only 54 VC10s were built.

Air Malawi VC10

Inside the VC10 cabin

In addition to BOAC (later British Airways), airlines such as Air Malawi, British Caledonian, British United, East African Airways, Ghana Airways, Gulf Air, Kenya Airways, Middle East Airlines and Nigeria Airways also operated VC10s. Examples were also flown in VIP configurations.


Brize Norton VC-10

Later modifications saw the Royal Air Force operate a fleet of bespoke and former civilian VC10s in tanker and military transport roles. The RAF became the final operator of the VC10, retiring the type in September 2013.


Vickers VC10 Survivors

Thankfully a number of VC10s survive and are on display for the public to visit. None are likely to ever fly again.



VC10 Icon of the Skies

VC10 Lance Cole

Lance Cole’s new book, VC10 Icon of the Skies, looks into the development, history, politics and operation of the VC10. It’s a great read if you want to know more about this classic airliner.

You can read my review of the book here


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4 Responses

  1. C Bayliss. says:

    Theres no mention of the vc10 at Cosford museum which i flew to New York in many years ago it was the only B A flight still operating over the Atlantic departing L H R at 1830 at the time i think it was G- ASGC .

  2. Matt Falcus says:

    Hi, XR808 is the VC10 at Cosford. It’s listed just underneath the Duxford picture. There used to be a British Airways VC10 at Cosford, G-ARVM, which is now at Brookland. Also listed here.

  3. Ray Jennings says:

    Unfortunately, the Heritage collection at Cosford has been broken up distributed around the country and in most cases actually scrapped with only parts being preserved.

  4. Chuck Bell says:

    I remember many afternoons in the mid-1960s hearing the distinct sound of BOAC VC-10s on the LHR-BOS route coming low over my house just north of Boston. Those RR Conways may have been muted inside the cabin, but they roared outside.

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