View Full Version : VC-10 Thrust Reverse

12th Nov 2003, 03:16
The first Standard VC10 had thrust reversers on all four engines, as did some/all (??) of the Supers. I beleive that on the Standard prototype it was found that the inboard reversers caused buffet and were romoved/not fitted on all the Standards (and presumably never fitted to the RAFs C1s). Now I believe that the Supers had there reversers removed in the late 60s (according to the old Ian Allen VC10 book) but was this for the same reason as to them not being fitted to the Standards and did all the Supers have them and when were they actually removed.

There is a reason for all this I promise :)

Tonks :confused:

12th Nov 2003, 05:02
I can remember reading that the ex BA supers that were stored at Abingdon for ages, had the inner reversers removed on conversion for the RAF. This was to keep commonality (is that a real word) across the RAF fleet.

As for the reason why, well the book is in stoprage at the moment so I cant help.

Pretty crap but it might help.

12th Nov 2003, 06:10
Looking at the pics of the ones been flown out of Abingdon they had no inboard reverser grills then so they must have been removed before BA gave them up as I doubt that any structural work of that kind would have been done before the conversion to K4. The EAA ones that became K3s don't have them either in the pics I have seen when they were inservice with that airline so it must have been long before the RAF got hold of them.


12th Nov 2003, 06:19
Not flown a -10 much, but tanked a lot behind them and only seen reversers on the outboards....didn`t really care what mark of -10 it was as long as it had free fuel!!!
Where`s BEagle.. never around when you want him. just like his tankers... clear to disconnect!!!:ok:

12th Nov 2003, 07:06
You might have taken gas off me then:)

This question came from a discusion on the training flight for the said ac, so just trying to find the definitive answer.


12th Nov 2003, 07:39
THIS (http://home.planet.nl/~hiemi003/) site carries some diagrams of supers with 4 reversers, but I didn't have time to find anything definative.
There's a forum there where someone may be able to give an answer.

12th Nov 2003, 14:55
BEagle is heading to Mars for Christmas - or so it said on the Beeb's website yesterday...

BEagle... (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3261095.stm)

Sorry, nothing to do with VC-10s! Cracking aeroplane...

12th Nov 2003, 17:57
Now, the Valiant, that was a cracking aeroplane...

12th Nov 2003, 18:08
Now, the Valiant, that was a cracking aeroplane...

The wings particularly:E

17th Nov 2003, 21:50
Hi Tonks!

Sorry, mate - I've been away on business for the last couple of weeks.

As far as I'm aware, the buffeting and stress on the tailplane were the cause of having the reversers deleted from the Standard VC10. Some Supers retained theirs for a while, but ultimately all VC10s in BOAC/ba/ service had but 2 reversers. But perhaps Lucy, her dad or her grandad could advise you further? BTW, she captained the last ever ex-airline Standard VC10 flight into St Athan on 27 Mar 01 when we took 142 to the knacker's yard - after I'd done a flyby at Filton to commemorate Trubby Trubshaw. The ac landed at St Athan fully serviceable, of course! Mind you, 142 lost#1 engine on me on 17 Jan 01, then #2 on 2 Mar 01, so perhaps she was trying to tell the RAF something by eating 2 Conways so close to her retirement date!

No RAF VC10 ever had 4 reversers.

Mars for Christmas - how I wish. Anything to get away from the ruddy adverts on TV.

17th Nov 2003, 22:09
Wasn’t the VC10 only one of two aircraft, DC-8 being the other, to allow use of reversers in the air?

17th Nov 2003, 22:21
You could certainly select thrust reverse in the air if you tried, but it wasn't an approved or required technique. In any case, the Air Engineer would probably have hit you!

That well-known aged ex-TP Scots FI "Sooooo, co-pilot...." had one go into reverse in flight in the descent. The greater that thrust they applied, the greater was the rate of descent...until they worked out the cause. But much more exciting was when the RB211 flying test bed had the RB go into idle reverse in flight...full power on the 2 Conways and it still descended. There were other problems as well, but they finally got it sorted out at 1000ft and landed at Filton.

17th Nov 2003, 22:36
Wasn’t the VC10 only one of two aircraft, DC-8 being the other, to allow use of reversers in the air?
I was once enjoying a trip up the front end of a BA 757, listening into a conversation where the captain was describing something called the "Bovingdon Snatch" He said that, in a B747, it meant using reverse thrust in order to lose speed and height to cut the corner into LHR.

17th Nov 2003, 22:36
Hmm – ‘but it wasn't an approved or required technique’. I wouldn’t have known about this but for many very pleasant VC-10 trips en-route to Changi in the ‘60s.

I thought it was odd then but I do remember power going on during descent and, instead of the expected, being pushed into the rearward facing seats. No doubt about it, and I can’t imagine Air (Transport) Support Command using unapproved techniques in any normal situation. And certainly not with Trappers aboard, which they frequently were. Anyone??

17th Nov 2003, 22:51
If my memory serves me well, there was no way of selecting reverse whilst airborne on the VC-10, and after having one go into reverse on its own at 35,000ft I can see why. In flight reverse would have only been used to increase rate of descent and the VC-10 had 6 great big spoiler panels which could all be deployed at once as speed brakes, and they usually satisfied any increase in rate of descent required.
Now the Trident and Concorde could use to a limited extent engine reverse in flight

Regards Brit312

Dan Winterland
17th Nov 2003, 23:34
747s don't have the ability to select reverse in flight. Would be useful though. A 747 can't slow down and go down at the same time - as the the trainee approach controller at Chep Lap Kok this afternoon will verify!

Tonks, have a look at the reverser stops. They are screws on the reverser levers which strike a plate on the main throttle arm and limit the travel of the reverser lever and therefore the max reverser RPM. Highly technical! But my point is that the stop plates on the throttles are on all four, and they all have dents where the stop screws struck them during enthusiastic applications. At some time in all the 10's lives, four reversers were used.

PS, how's the course going?

17th Nov 2003, 23:51
After my last hasty reply on this subject I was forced to go and dig out my old VC-10 manuals, and " whoops" I could not find any safety system which prevents you you selecting reverse in the air on the VC-10, so I have to apologize for my previous incorrect answer. My only excuse is that it was along time ago now that I was on VC-10s ( in fact 28 years ) , and I think I was mixing it up with another aircraft.

Regards Brit312 :{

18th Nov 2003, 00:17
Actually, Brit312, there was indeed a highly effective safety device -

The Flight Engineer!

Gawd bless 'em. But regrettably 'surplus to requirements' in Playstation-generation jets.....

18th Nov 2003, 00:31
Terrific white knuckle VC10 story at


18th Nov 2003, 03:24
Thanks for the replys. It was mostly to confirm what I thought and not what some one said in ground school.

Dan, give me a shout when next at home and we'll go for a beer (pink chits allowing ofcourse), BEags as well if ya fancy.

Tonks :ok:

PS I won't try the reverse in the air, I can get myself in the :mad: without doing daft things like that:)

18th Nov 2003, 04:45
"I won't try the reverse in the air, I can get myself in the XX without doing daft things like that."

It was used, and I imagine approved by Vickers and Air Transport Command, in the sixties. No doubt about it. Maybe things have changed - but used it was.

18th Nov 2003, 17:58
Hi Tonks,

Small snippet of information I got from an ex-BA engineer:
At some point during the Super VC10s life the RR Conways were upgraded with a heavy liner around the turbine section to cater for unwanted shedding of turbine blades around the UK. The extra weight caused by this mod was a bit dissappointing, and therefore they went looking for something they could discard. And with proven experience on the Standards they descended on the inboard reversers and kicked those off the airframe. By that time in its life runway length wasn't as limiting as when the VC10 was first designed, and the trade off in weights kept the airframe within normal performance specs.

No telling if this is the true reason, but it sounds about right to me ;)


19th Nov 2003, 09:09
Slightly off topic, I admit, but only by the presence (or absence) of one engine: I distinctly remember being at a Farnborough show (1962, I think) and watching the prototype Trident coming into a v. noisy landing from"over the black sheds". The commentator clearly took pride in telling us that, to shorten landing run, the pilot (John Cunningham?) had selected reverse-thrust in the top engine before rubber touched runway.

This, of course, was in the days when no 'furren' aeroplanes were allowed to take part and I was but knee-high to a grasshopper at the time, but I don't think I dreamed it.

19th Nov 2003, 16:55
Selecting reverse thrust on the centre engine of the Yak-42 during the flare is SOP, I understand.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
20th Nov 2003, 03:39
The Trident was cleared for use of reverse in the air - and dropping main gear only (no nose gear) as an airbrake. We had a lengtjy thread about it a while ago. The 'main gear only' trick was unique to the 1E, and was implemented by use of a selector by the gear lever.


Sleeve Wing
20th Nov 2003, 03:41
.............and was on certain models of Trident, as well, Gainesy.
e.g. RW35 at BFS, - unless the wind was v.strong.
Rgds, Sleeve.

Cornish Jack
20th Nov 2003, 23:25
Re. the inflight use of reversers on the DC8.... don't know whether it was approved but it was certainly possible!! Witnessed same on an SAS (?) on very short final at Don Muang in the 60s. By guesstimate he took reverse at about 30 feet and the arrival must have offered the punters the choice of oxygen masks!! :ouch:

21st Nov 2003, 02:44
the Bovingdon snach was for the trident.with the engines in idle reverse you could get 10,000 ft/min