View Full Version : Sultan of Oman VC10 at Weybridge/Brooklands

13th Jul 2012, 06:08
I gather VC10 A4O-AB was delivered to the museum on 6th July 1987 and the landing was quite challenging due to the short runway. I also have a recollection that the M3 motorway had to be closed for the landing but I maybe confused with another museum delivery somewhere else?

Does anyone have video footage of this landing?

Was it delivered from Heathrow?

It looks as if the runway alignment at Weybridge would have disrupted normal operations at Heathrow as I understand it performed several fly-bys before landing.

If anyone has any information about the specifics of this delivery flight I'd be interested to hear the story.


13th Jul 2012, 06:59
I doubt the M3 or indeed the M25 were shut for its arrival, though perhaps they chose to delay trains on the Waterloo/Portsmouth line which is right off the northern end of the runway.

From memory the M11 was closed briefly for a Duxford arrival or two in the past (B-52? VC-10?), which may be what you are thinking of? They squeezed Concorde in just before the runway was truncated by the motorway works in the mid-1970s.

13th Jul 2012, 08:24
Judging by this


The VC-10 landing and roll out could have been a challenge.

13th Jul 2012, 08:34
Does anyone have video footage of this landing?

I haven't seen it myself, but I understand there is footage of the event on this DVD:

Brooklands the Birthplace of British Aviation - Brooklands - Marque from Motorfilms (http://www.motorfilms.com/marque/brooklands/brooklands-the-birthplace-of-british-aviation.html)

13th Jul 2012, 10:18
We flew several super and standard VC10s into Brooklands. Nothing was ever closed and I can`t see how the M3 would be affected as the landings were always towards the north. Brakes used to get a tad warm!

13th Jul 2012, 11:48
As the M3, at its nearest, is nearly 3 miles from Brooklands it would never have been closed for an arrival of any type.

13th Jul 2012, 13:00
If I'm not mistaken the VC-10 had the longer length of runway than the Vanguard when it arrived, or are the mists of time clouding my memory ? :)


13th Jul 2012, 23:05
I've also been trying to find out the length of the Weybridge runway before being truncated (i.e. length when the Oman VC10 landed), but the internet seems to have let me down. Also, my old Pooleys guide doesn't list Weybridge.

Does anyone have the runway length?


14th Jul 2012, 05:04
Brooklands full length was about 1100m as far as I recall - maybe something like 1098m to be exact. We had an entry in our local instructions about operations there when I first worked at Farnborough as Wisley had closed a year or so previously and there was no ATC at Brooklands. Fixed wing flights mainly consisted of Roly Beamont in the company Beagle 206, until one day in '75 when he diverted into us just after departure, his first call being 'Farnborough, I think I'll need to land with you as my propellor has just fallen off'!
I was the Farnborough radar controller who vectored the VC10 towards Brooklands until the crew had the airfield in sight (vis was about 5000m if I recall). Although Heathrow were aware, it didn't cause any disruption as Brooklands had (and still has according to recent charts) an ATZ and it did very tight circuits. I may be wrong but I believe it landed heading south, hence they may well have stopped trains on the embankment in the undershoot, as they did for the maiden flight of the prototype back in '62(?).

14th Jul 2012, 09:06
There was a tremendous noise above our house in Addlestone one morning. Rushing outside, we saw an East African 'Super' with undercarriage down and full flap, curving round to final for Brooklands, landing south.

Later on in life, I flew into and out of Brooklands on a couple of occasions, in an Aztec, once with Sir George Edwards as passenger, on a tour of the BAC factories. (16 Sep 1974 PA23-250 G-ATFF Gatwick - Bournemouth - Filton - Brooklands - Gatwick.)

Google Earthing Brooklands and using the measuring tool shows the full length of the runway to be 1100 metres, so 'spot-on' Chevvron!

14th Jul 2012, 10:00
I knew the crew of A4O-AB, was working in Oman at the time it was delivered to Brooklands. It did land over the railway line, with several trees removed at the request of the Captain following a pre-arrival visit to the airfield.

14th Jul 2012, 10:57
AFAIK all the VC10s that returned to Brooklands (they did that with some regularity for modifications), including A4O-AB, landed in a Northerly direction. That was for several reasons, amongst which was that the undershoot on the Byfleet side was pretty clear of obstacles and the extension of the runway on the North side was at an angle which was easy to use at slow speed but of no use for touchdown. Also the railway embankment at the North end is quite an obstacle which precludes landing from this end. Some trees were pulled down in 1987 when the Sultan's VC10 returned and the crew was flown in a helicopter down the approach path to enable them to become accustomed to the sight which they'd have on final. A4O-AB was flown from Heathrow to Brooklands on 6th July 1987. See here for more: Histories - G-ASIX (http://www.vc10.net/History/Individual/GASIX.html)

I've got the length of the original runway as 1152 meters on this page: Histories - G-ARTA (http://www.vc10.net/History/Individual/GARTA.html), I'm not sure whether that is with or without the 183m extension (probably without). There's some discussion on the runway lengths in this article as well: Trials and Tribulations (http://www.vc10.net/Memories/Trialstribulations.html)
The relevant bits are:
...first take-off was from a 4,500ft runway, (Weybridge), and the distance to unstick was 2,150ft. The first landing was on a 6,000ft runway, (Wisley), the aircraft stopped 3,600ft from the runway threshold after a ground run of 2,550ft.

When the Vanguard landed in the 90's the runway was shortened by the road built across it and as can be seen in the video above they could have used a few more feet.

14th Jul 2012, 11:46
I haven't seen it myself, but I understand there is footage of the event on this DVD:

Brooklands the Birthplace of British Aviation - Brooklands - Marque from Motorfilms (http://www.motorfilms.com/marque/brooklands/brooklands-the-birthplace-of-british-aviation.html)
Unfortunately it is not on that DVD. The museum used to sell a VHS version of that same story which did include the landing shots of A4O-AB. This DVD does include some great VC10 shots and a lot of interview sections with Sir George Edwards.

Alternatively get a copy of this DVD: Classic Wings - Vickers VC10 DVD - Vintage Airliners (http://www.avionvideo.com/programDetails.asp?pid=3)
The landing of A4O-AB is featured in that as well, actually there is more footage in this programme than there was in the original Brooklands tape. The bonus of course is that this provides you with a full programme about the VC10!

14th Jul 2012, 13:19
While on the subject of Sultan Qaboos's VC10 , it really is worth a visit , and if you can show some aviation 'ID' you should be able to get on the flight deck , what a great aircraft . The cabin is still maintained in all it's VVIP glory too .

14th Jul 2012, 14:17
I can't find it online, but the latest "Flight" has a short piece on the Brooklands do, complete with a picture of Dick King and Dave Parsons, who delivered the aircraft, on that very flight deck.

15th Jul 2012, 08:46
Well the longest Brooklands runway length quoted above is 1,152m, which I make to be 3,780 feet. Somewhere else above there's a quote about a VC10 landing at Wisley in 3,600 feet from the threshold. That makes VC10 arrivals at Brooklands sound very marginal. Was it really that tight?

15th Jul 2012, 09:26
...complete with a picture of Dick King and Dave Parsons, who delivered the aircraft, on that very flight deck.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2-ibNPFmQuw/T-4Jb2-5ILI/AAAAAAAAVh0/WC9W-noyWwE/s640/P6296911%2520Capt%2520Richard%2520King%2520%2526%2520Capt%25 20David%2520Parsons%2520in%2520VC10%2520cockpit.jpg
Here you go, photo by J. Downey, taken on 29th June 2012.

As for the runway length at Brooklands, the same quote states a ground run of 2550 feet so if you plant the maingear on the first few yards of the paved surface you've got more room to spare, and that is what was probably done when VC10s landed at Brooklands. I've seen two photos of VC10s (not A4O-AB) on approach to Brooklands and on both they are skimming the grass just short of the threshold. For A4O-AB two white lines where painted on the runway as a touchdown aiming point and meticulous calculations were done to make sure that it would work.

Also that 2550 feet was from the very first landing of G-ARTA at Wisley. As the test pilots became more accustomed to the VC10 I'm sure that they managed to produce shorter landing distances as well. When A4O-AB landed at Brooklands in 1987 it had used approximately 75-80% of the runway before coming to a standstill (that is my guess from looking at the video and photos).

15th Jul 2012, 11:09
Yes, I saw that reference to 2,550 feet rolling length but assumed any aircraft needed a reasonable distance to clear obstacles and for the flare out. I wish I were there to witness some landings before they closed the place though as I'm sure Brooklands would have provided a lot of interest in its heyday.

Skipness One Echo
15th Jul 2012, 11:41
I saw this aircraft last time I was at Brooklands and impressive as the interior is, the exterior appeared to very worn. Indeed the top of the wngs appeared to have been unwashed for a very long time. Has she had some TLC since?

15th Jul 2012, 15:20
Every Vanguard and VC10 built was flown out of Brooklands, and quite a few came back for various reasons. Those who think that runway length is standard for an aircraft type whatever can note that Renton, in Seattle, where every narrowbody Boeing has been built, has a length of 5,300 ft, and that the performance of a VC10 empty, without interior fittings, and with fuel for just a short hop, is way different from leaving Heathrow for New York (or arriving back) fully loaded, and not even being able to wait for a favourable wind.

It's not just aviation. Whenever I am pax on final approach to Glasgow, crossing the Clyde and sat on the right, I look down on where the old Clydebank shipyard used to be, and can't really believe that the classic Queen liners were launched from such a restricted site into such a narow river, and then sailed along it out to sea.

15th Jul 2012, 16:46
Renton was also where the B707's/B720's were built and the early turbojet models weren't noted for their STOL performance!

15th Jul 2012, 19:17
I don't have this chart for a Standard VC10 unfortunately and also this gives figures for a wet runway while a dry runway provides a lot more grip for the tires.


Empty weights for a Standard are in the range of 67000 kg so let's assume that we've got an aircraft of 70000 kg or thereabouts. From the graph above this would need a 5000 feet runway but as I said you'd need to subtract the difference between a wet and a dry runway and also this figure is from a 30 feet height above threshold, not from touchdown.

Conclusion remains that a landing at Brooklands was a 'special' landing, but still it could be done.

15th Jul 2012, 19:45
I had the great pleasure to work for Captain Dave Parsons (not flying, a ground position) a number of years ago.

Had the very highest opinion of him and was sorry not to say so on his retirement.

If anyone keeps in touch with him please say hi and thanks from me !

16th Jul 2012, 10:32
I look down on where the old Clydebank shipyard used to be, and can't really believe that the classic Queen liners were launched from such a restricted site into such a narow river, and then sailed along it out to sea.

The slipways at John Brown's where the Queens were built were angled so that they pointed up the mouth of the River Cart on the opposite side of the Clyde. You can see them on Google Earth if you go back to the 1945 imagery.

16th Jul 2012, 11:59
I was director of the official camera crew commissioned to film the VC10 landing at Brooklands. We used two cameras (Betacam).

The aircraft did indeed carry out one flyby and then landed TOWARDS the railway track. It actually used somewhat less than half the remaining runway having approached fairly low over the new estate of houses. The arrival was not publicised for obvious reasons and from recollection there were probably no more than ten of us on the airfield. Although two fire tenders from LHR, sort of gave the game away.

I still have the footage, along with interviews with the crew. HOWEVER, the tapes are lost in the shambles of my attic, so I can't provide any footage. In fact I was asked some years ago by (I believe) Dutch Television, if I could find them, with no success.

16th Jul 2012, 18:32
Hello Lukeafb1, I think it was me who got in touch with you about that a few years back. Did you get my PM which I sent yesterday?

17th Jul 2012, 06:21
Hi J,

I didn't get your private message until this morning when I got into work.

I really did try to find the footage for you, honest! However, I have a large loft which is absolutely full of stuff. I will try again, however I am away for the next few weeks. But rest assured, if I do find them, I will certainly contact you.

17th Jul 2012, 18:51
Here's a photo I took of the Sultan's-very plush-personal quarters on the aircraft, some years ago:

JetPhotos.Net Photo A4O-AB (CN: 820) Oman - Royal Flight Vickers VC-10 by Michael Blank (http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=6625314)

18th Jul 2012, 05:07
I know its not the VC10 but this clip of the BAC 1-11 landing at Brooklands does show just how quickly the beasties can be pulled up.

BAC 1-11 at Bristol and then the last flight landing at Brooklands

R for Robert
19th Jul 2012, 15:12
In reply to post 19, we have a tremendous problem with the proximity of the trees. Washing the whole aircraft can take several days, so an anti alge solution has been applied. From washing once every six months, the period has been extended to about once every two years. Interestingly, the wing nearest the trees has remained clean while the port wing is in need of a clean. This is probably due to the fact that when that wing was treated, it was followed by a rain shower.

Regarding the runway length, the figures are 3750' and with the extension 4150'

The width was 255'

24th Jul 2012, 06:03
The colour scheme reminds me of a 1-11 that arrived at East Base BA from South America and was refurbished and came out for a LTN based start up Mediterean Airlines ? The company failed before it started up and then do not know what became of it ?

While I am on within the East Pen TBA BA we had for many months another 1-11 up on blocks in the corner with a Saudi registration, can anyone tell me about this. This would have been in the early 80's.

Sadly in those days I was never that interested then, now I find all these posts interesting. Still at least one flying in the USA ?

7th Sep 2012, 17:44
I know VC10 prototype G-ARTA returned to Brooklands, and some of the early BOAC Standards for drag mods, etc.

I am trying to establish a full list of those which did so with dates where possible (and also when flown out again).

Any details or snippets much appreciated.

10th Sep 2012, 20:45
HZ123 The ex-South American 1-11 was a -475 G-AZUK. The Saudi one was HZ-BL1 a srs 401, when the legs were removed for overhaul in 1988 they were found to be of an early build standard, somewhere halfway between srs200 and srs400. It meant a lot of parts had to be manufactured which took over 3 months. The aircraft sat on jacks for the duration. Richard

11th Sep 2012, 01:45
We actually went over to coat it with a none stick product shortly after it arrived and before I left the RAF, we provided a search as the museum didn't have access to one, we also donated a new set of blanks for it, engine etc.. I remember we took an RAF Sherpa van for a blast round the banked track lol and were given a fascinating tour around the museum site. They had just had some movement sensors donated that we're set up around the Ten after some Gyppo's had taken up residency in it.
I believe they said it had been offered to the RAF as a dedicated VIP when it was retired, but they turned it down.

Dan Winterland
11th Sep 2012, 05:07
@ Jehminga.

A40 AB is a standard VC10 with a different braking system to the Super. The Standard had the mechanical Maxaret system whereas the Super has a more modern elcetrical antiskid which is fare more efficient. The Super charts are not particularly relevant.

11th Sep 2012, 06:47

G-ARVF had returned to Brooklands in late July or early August 1963 and was, IIRC, the first to return. It was parked outside and was still there at the end of that month when my university vacation training ended. 'VG and 'VH had not yet flown. I remember being disappointed at not having seen a VC-10 departure during my time there.

Hope that helps.

11th Sep 2012, 18:01
A40 AB is a standard VC10 with a different braking system to the Super. The Standard had the mechanical Maxaret system whereas the Super has a more modern elcetrical antiskid which is fare more efficient. The Super charts are not particularly relevant.
That is a good point and one which I had not taken into account. A4O-AB is indeed fitted with the old Maxaret units.