View Full Version : Aircraft Periscope

15th Feb 2002, 13:44
In the local last night the landlord showed me a RAF aircraft periscope that he bought off a mate. Thinking, quite incorrectly, that I knew about these things he asked me all about it. Well having all the time of a recently unemployed avaitor I thought I would investigate....... . . .It's stored in an olive green wooden box with the following markings:. .Aircraft Periscope Type 6B/2799 or 6B/2764 c/w transit.. .Any ideas as to what it was used for and on what aircraft types or any links to sites that might be able to help me in the quest for info(and free beer)?


15th Feb 2002, 13:49
forgot to mention date on box was 1965.

15th Feb 2002, 13:50
Obviously used by the Maritime Surveillance types when chasing subs. :) :) :) <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

15th Feb 2002, 14:10
Borescope inspection in the days before optic fibre?

Just speculating wildly,. . /ft

15th Feb 2002, 14:18
I have no specific knowledge of the particular device .. but might it be just your ordinary old through the roof sextant periscope assembly ? used for taking sun and star shots ...

15th Feb 2002, 14:33
The VC10 and VC15 had a periscope to check the tailplane in flight if necessary. Maybe that's the answer.When did the RAF get their first VC10s??

16th Feb 2002, 07:59
I have transfered this thread to the <a href="http://www.pprune.org/cgibin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=80&DaysPrune=" target="_blank">Aviation History and Nostalgia</a> forum, where you may get a better response.

18th Feb 2002, 08:50
Hey musta, what the hell is a VC 15? gb

18th Feb 2002, 10:39
The VC-10 certainly does have a periscope for checking the tailplane and engines. Biggest mistake I ever made was having a look at the tailplane while we were plugged in to another 10 taking on gas. The way the tail was moving was v scary.

The first RAF VC10 flew on 26 Nov 65 and was handed over to the RAF on 7 Jul 66, so I doubt you periscope is from a ten, as there is no way the RAF supply system could have had something early <img src="tongue.gif" border="0"> . As I remember the ten periscope is about 2'6" and weighs about 10lb ish.

Tonks <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

[ 18 February 2002: Message edited by: Tonkenna ]</p>

Biggles Flies Undone
18th Feb 2002, 15:28
My son acquired one for his militaria collection at one of the fairs at Shoreham airport last year. It's about 18 - 24 inches long and nicely built. The guy that sold it said that it came from a Shackleton and he thought it was fitted at the rear of the aircraft and used to check correct deployment of flares/sonar buoys.

You might get confirmation of this if you post in the mil forum.

19th Feb 2002, 13:52
As I recall it, the VC15 was the "super VC10" It had 4 reversers, a bit bigger, higher power engines, (Conway 540 ?) basically all a Boeing 707-100 could do at the cost of a Boeing 707-300 in fuel. It was also as noisy as hell outside.

19th Feb 2002, 15:37
Thanks for all the replies. Forgot to mention that said periscope had cross hairs on the viewing window....... so I'm thinking of more of a weapons function. Any more ideas?. .Ta

Biggles Flies Undone
19th Feb 2002, 15:45
The Super VC10 had Conway 43D series with 22,500 lb st (as opposed to 42 series with 21,000). Have trawled through the contemporary issues of Janes and can't find any reference to a VC15.

I was driving past one of our mil airfields recently when a RAF VC10 tanker did a last second go-around - what a racket!!

19th Feb 2002, 21:02
Received an email (shown below)from a chap from the Imperial War Museum Duxford which I feel closes the original thread. Thanks to all those who contributed and perhaps have helped me get a few beers off the ******.. .****************. .The periscope (6b/2799)is part of the astro navigation system. It could of been used on the Shakelton,Victor and Vulcan.

Red Spitfire Driver
21st Feb 2002, 14:51
Hi. .VC15 = Atc speak for Super VC10. .VC9 = Vanguard. .VC7/8 = Viscount


Biggles Flies Undone
21st Feb 2002, 15:24
Is that just as far as ATC is concerned then? At the risk of being branded a total anorak, the maker's designation for the Viscount was VC2.

24th Feb 2002, 10:41
Thanx for the replies guys, but if the Viscount was the VC2, what the hell was the Valetta/Viking?, the last recip acft i worked on.Also where did the Valiant fit into this numbering system?

Spiney Norman
24th Feb 2002, 13:08
Hi all.. .The codes that RSD is quoteing are ICAO aircraft type codes which are used for flight plan and ATC info. They don't neccessarily have any relevence to the actual type codes used by the aircraft manufacturer. They also change every few years which we ATC guys really love! As for the Valiant,I'm afraid I can't remember that one but the Vulcan was definately VULC at one time or other. By the way, I'm not shouting, even though they were lovely and loud! The codes are always in capitals. There is an ICAO annex which gives them all, it's pages thick and covers even very esoteric home built aircraft. Insomnia? Get hold of a copy.


25th Feb 2002, 19:45
Just found this thread. So going back a bit... the only colour Victor periscope box that I ever saw was grey. The pericope was stowed ready for use behind the Nav Radar's seat. The box was only used when the periscope was removed from the aircraft for any reason. I would think that the Vulcan's was the same, as they shared some common components.

So maybe it's a Shack. box. <img src="confused.gif" border="0">

Pom Pax
1st Mar 2002, 12:49
Off topic but VC is Vickers Commercial. The Viking was VC1. Valiant, Valetta & Varsity were miltary types so not in the VC series.. .Now VC2 is Viscount, VC9 is Vanguard & VC10 ends the series. So what about the missing six VCs, Whitehall dittering and changeing specs.Go to this link for the most exciting of the series <a href="http://home01.wxs.nl/~hiemi003/History/historyBOAC.html" target="_blank">The VC7</a> and why the U.S. got the market.

[ 01 March 2002: Message edited by: Pom Pax ]</p>

2nd Mar 2002, 09:48
Thanx PP,also for the link to the VC7

28th Mar 2002, 14:30
The Vulcan had a periscopic sextant for astro navigation. There were 2 sextant ports, either side of the canopy - if you look at the top of the fuselage just behind the pilot's circular porthole windows, you will see a small bulge with a flat top. This was where the sextant appeared.. .. .The Vulcan also had 2 built-in periscopes, the viewing eyepieces were folded into the rear crew worktable between the nav plotter and the AEO. The viewer could be selected to show the top or bottom surfaces of the wings. Wicked for fighter affil! If you look at the lower fuselage between the entrance door and the nose landing gear, you will see a small blister, with a rear-facing window - that is the lower lens assembly. There is a similar one on the upper fuselage.

29th Mar 2002, 02:06
The VC10 has a few periscopes:. .- A periscopic sextant that can be fitted through a small (3" diameter) hatch on top of the cockpit. .- A 'regular' periscope that can be fitted in one of two similar hatches at the top of the fuselage in the aft galley, situated on the left and right side of the dorsal fin. With a tiltable lens in the periscope it is possible to view the entire tail, all four engines and the trailing edge of the wings. .- There is a third periscope hidden below the floor of the rear galley, this is just a simple 2" tube with a small mirror at the bottom that drops down into the rear freight hold to check for smoke or fire when the smoke detectors go off for that area. Without any ability to extinguish a fire in there the FE could just lie there watching to see if it would extinguish itself...

Fris B. Fairing
29th Mar 2002, 08:58
Speaking of VC-10s and sextants, I am reminded of a story involving a bored tech crew member who was also house-proud. Apparently he hit upon the idea of making up a vacuum cleaner hose which he attached to the sextant aperture and proceeded to "Hoover" the flight deck. The story goes that it worked a treat until the hose became obstructed and the entire contraption was sucked inside out through the sextant opening where it proceeded to flail against the fuselage. I've often wondered if it's true or an embellished urban legend.

7th Apr 2002, 19:12
If it has cross hairs in the viewfinder it could be the wind/drift indicator that the nav used in the Shack. It was just behind his seat so he could swivel around and peer down at the ogsplash passing by underneath, and align the cross hairs with the drift. A great assistance when it was the only nav aid available in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Unfortunately navs (as is their wont!) sometimes forgot what was going on - and on one famous occasion asked the pilot to "Come Left 60 degrees for wind check". he was most put out when the pilot refused - because we were passing 500ft on GCA to land at Gan!

Happy Days!

13th Apr 2002, 08:12
Doomsday - if you photograph the instrument and also its box and post it on this thread, then you may well find one of us can positively identify it. Then you can definitely claim your free beer!

DV Window
8th May 2002, 11:44

As this has cross hairs this could definitely be a drift meter

I recall the DC-6 used them back in the 60's

Any indication on country of origin?

dv window

8th May 2002, 15:33
They're also used (or used to be) on ground radar heads to check ( about yearly) that the thing is actually pointing north etc when it shows north on the screen.