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 on 29 June 1962, and the Super VC10 which first flew in May 1964. However, in total only 54 VC10s were built.
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.
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.
- G-ARVF cn808 United Arab Emirates Government. Preserved Hermeskeil Museum, Germany.
- G-ARVM cn815 British Airways. Fuselage preserved Brooklands Museum, near London.
- A4O-AB cn820 Omani Royal Flight. Preserved Brooklands Museum, near London.
- G-ASGC cn853 BOAC Cunard. Preserved Duxford Imperial War Museum, near Cambridge.
- XR808 cn828 Royal Air Force. Preserved Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.
- XV106 cn836 Royal Air Force. Cockpit preserved Avro Heritage Centre, Woodford, Manchester.
- XV108 cn838 Royal Air Force. Cockpit preserved East Midlands Aeropark.
- ZD241 cn863 Royal Air Force. Preserved in taxi condition Bruntingthorpe Aircraft Museum in Leicestershire.
- ZA147 cn882 Royal Air Force. Stored at Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire.
- ZA148 cn883 Royal Air Force. Preserved Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre, Newquay, Cornwall.
- ZA149 cn884. Cockpit preserved in Gulf Air colours at Al Mahatta Museum, Sharjah, UAE
- ZA150 cn885 Royal Air Force. Preserved in taxi condition Dunsfold Aerodrome, Surrey.
VC10 Icon of the Skies
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 http://www.airportspotting.com/vc10-icon-skies-book-review/