Home Classic Airliners Vickers VC10s: Where Are They Now?

Vickers VC10s: Where Are They Now?

by Matt Falcus
VC10 at Duxford

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 on 29 June 1962, 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 http://www.airportspotting.com/vc10-icon-skies-book-review/

 

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26 comments

C Bayliss. April 23, 2017 - 8:08 am

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 .

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Matt Falcus April 24, 2017 - 9:23 am

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.

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Ray Jennings April 24, 2017 - 10:06 am

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.

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Chuck Bell July 5, 2017 - 2:13 am

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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Davo March 24, 2018 - 10:52 am

The feature i loved most about the RAF VC10 passenger planes was that the seats all faced rearwards.

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David Sementilli August 1, 2018 - 6:13 pm

I was fortunate to have flown on BOAC’s Super VC-10. It was August 1965 from NYC to Bermuda , I was a teenager traveling with my family.

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Mark Sherratt August 30, 2018 - 3:14 pm

Hello. Why do the seats face rearwards?

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Matt Falcus August 30, 2018 - 7:35 pm

Military transport aircraft operated by the RAF have rear-facing seats.

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David Grey November 12, 2018 - 11:14 am

The text needs correcting please. The first flight of a standard VC10 was 29 June 1962, it went into service in April 1964.

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KAKRA August 18, 2019 - 9:07 am

I love the VC10 it was the master of the skies till this day in my opinion. London – Accra Ghana Airways On ground watching it taxi was hair raising the power and roar like a jet fighter .

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john October 8, 2019 - 1:38 pm

As with Kakra above used to watch them at Kotoka Airport bringing my brother back from school and flying out on them. There is a great Pathe newsreel showing an arrival into Accra.

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Guy Huntley December 8, 2019 - 6:37 am

I am hoping that someone in cyber land can let me know if they know the whereabouts of a VC10,BOAC, ASGG on which I spent many hours flying on between Australia and the UK.Does anyone know of its fate or where I could find out?Cheers

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Matt Falcus December 8, 2019 - 6:31 pm

Hi Guy, my database says it was sadly scrapped in 1981.

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Keith Sharp December 12, 2019 - 6:54 pm

Hello. I have just spotted what appears to be an intact VC10 on Google maps sitting off the tarmac at Diori Hamani International Airport outside the city of Niamey in Niger. Does anyone know anything about this one? The link is here: https://www.google.co.nz/maps/place/Mali/@13.4783161,2.1870271,214m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0xe143e881b1073cf:0xbb3a5be2a0bdcf80!8m2!3d17.570692!4d-3.996166?hl=en

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Matt Falcus December 13, 2019 - 10:07 am

Hi Keith, it does look like one, but is in fact an Ilyushin IL-62 which is very similar. It’s this one: https://www.airliners.net/photo/Yana-Airlines/Ilyushin-Il-62M/1357655
Matt

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Keith Sharp December 12, 2019 - 7:08 pm

Hello. I have just spotted on Google maps what appears to be an intact VC10 sitting off the tarmac at Niamey Diori Hamani International Airport in Niger. Does anyone know anything about this one?

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Keith Sharp December 20, 2019 - 3:27 am

Hi Matt,
Thanks for clearing that up. Thought I’d found a stray one!
Cheers,
Keith.

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Paul Silvester December 21, 2019 - 9:47 pm

Hi all A friend of mine has recently confirmed that i must have flown in DC10s between Gatwick and Entebbe in the mid to late 60s. As a very young child I distictly remember running down a cabin and throwing my self onto some seats which were facing inwards – fixed along the inside of the fuselage. Can anyone confirm that there were some seats arranged like this for some reason or is it just a memory glitch?

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Andy - Polar Pilot - April 28, 2020 - 7:32 am

[…] VC10 […]

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Jerry Mundy July 15, 2020 - 2:44 am

I flew on them many time between London and Chileka in Malawi on BOAC and Air Malawi. I was at Chileka when the last BOAC FLight took off and what a sight he took off then flew around and did a pass up the runway at around 300 feet and did a wing tilt magic, when it got to Larnaca it had an engine failure and unfortunately all the passengers had to go onto London on other flights and it flew its last time into Heathrow on three engines and no passengers. The Air Malawi VC 10 was left at Gatwick for over a year to try and sell it but no takers so it flew back to Chileka where it sat for years at the end of the runway, there was thoughts to make it a restaurant but it never happened. I do not know where it is now

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Matt Falcus July 15, 2020 - 12:00 pm

Fantastic memories, thanks Jerry!

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Jerry Mundy July 17, 2020 - 7:20 am

Yes Matt they sure are fond memories. Sometimes en route we would stop at places like Da e salam and Addis Ababa for a refuel and passenger change but because the armed guards standing at the bottom of the steps we weren’t allowed off to stretch our legs. I did manage to spend a few hours in the cockpit when flying and got to know some of the crews, there was always 4 because they had to have a flight engineer and a navigator to plot the journey across Africa by the sun and stars mainly because the various countries we flew over the locals couldn’t be bothered to make sure the direction beacons were working so could not be relied on for locations . They are are compressed air start engine and at Chileka I was often called upon to get the compressor going when it had faulted as the VC10 had only 1 restart on board for emergencies and were very dependant on ground equipment at airports

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Alan Osborne-Higgins August 27, 2020 - 11:05 am

Hi all my Dad was a steward for 10 SQN Brize Norton and flew on a large number of !0’s from 1970-1973 I have his flight log book and his last recorded flight was 10Nov 1973 0n XV106 from Gander to Brize Norton with PIC Sqn Ldr Willson Do you Know if XV106 Cockpit is still at Woodford please

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Matt Falcus August 27, 2020 - 11:38 am

Hi Alan, here’s some info: http://www.vc10.net/Airframes/cn_836__XV106.html
Looks like it’s still at Woodford.

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Andrew Church September 28, 2020 - 7:52 pm

In 1967 I flew from Bermuda where I lived, to New York for Christmas, by Pan Am Boeing 707. I was able to change my return ticket to BOAC VC10. As has been mentioned it was very quiet and smooth on board, I was fortunate that my partner and I were allocated seats at the front, just behind first class by an emergency exit to had very good leg room. A bonus was that as there was not a full complement of 1st class passengers, the stewardesses came through to chat and provide extra service.
My strongest recollection was that as soon as the aircraft left the runway the angle steepened until if felt like a recliner chair and looking out of the window the land just disappeared as if we were going up in a lift. My favourite airliner ever.

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Matt Falcus September 28, 2020 - 7:55 pm

Fantastic memories. Thanks Andrew!

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