Aviation History and Nostalgia Whether working in aviation, retired, wannabee or just plain fascinated this forum welcomes all with a love of flight.

The VC 10

Old 24th Feb 2009, 10:29
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 75
Posts: 18
The VC 10

" If it looks good, it works good "

To me, the VC 10 is a beautiful aircraft.

Was invited in the cocpit in the late 70's and was awed by its space, layout and quietness.

How was it flying those aircraft?

Why did it never become a real commercial succes ( Range ? )

Anyone out there who shares my passion for this plane?
bossan is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2009, 11:38
  #2 (permalink)  
Just another number
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: UK
Age: 73
Posts: 1,078

I flew the VC10 from 1969 to 1975. It was a lovely aircraft to fly and navigate (we also had to have a Flight Navigators Licence in those days).

It was designed to operate from 'hot and high' airfields in Africa. It could depart from Entebbe (the runway was much shorter then) and make it non-stop to London. However, it didn't have either the range or the fuel economy of the 707.

Captain Airclues is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2009, 12:32
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Horsham, England, UK. ---o--O--o---
Posts: 1,126
Nice roomy Cockpit..

Out Of Trim is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2009, 12:49
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Age: 53
Posts: 19
I think that most UK designed aircraft are beautiful to look at, BAC 1-11 Comet, Viscount VC 10 spring to mind. The Trident was a bit of a munter mind you! But it seems that every time they bring a new model out it is beset with problems and somehow some other company comes along with something else that outclasses it. If it aint a desing flaw it's red tape and if it aint that it's trade unions or company financial woes. It's a shame because I think in the case of the 1-11 it was superior to the DC9. The VC 10 could have been tweeked to make it outclass the 707, but by that time they had missed the boat so to speak.
Humanahum is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2009, 12:55
  #5 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 75
Posts: 18
Thanks OOT

You made my day, this is exactly how I remember the cocpit.

Had some pics myself but lost them all in the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka.

Just look at the size of those windows.....

Any idea where the pics were made ?

Thanks again
bossan is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2009, 13:29
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 18,622
It was the nose and cockpit profile that was so right looks wise, something you see in the new Boeing Dreamliner, that comes close to it. Loved working on them for many years...

I think the BOAC decision to buy the 707 instead of more put the nail in its coffin, indeed some of the work done on it allowed it to support the 707 for the US market by enabling it to carry a spare engine under the wing for the Conway powered 707...... The last one of which was broken up at Cosford recently

Here is Lufthansa buying a Connie and funding a hangar in the USA to restore her to flying condition as well as operating a Ju52 and BA cannot even dredge up funding to look after their historical ground based Aircraft at Cosford, preferring to scrap the lot.......... says something does it not!
NutLoose is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2009, 15:01
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,957
As mentioned the VC-10 was built for "hot and high" performance out of very short runways on BOAC's African network. Hence it had a very large wing for its size and very powerful engines. It was not, therefore, very economical to operate cf with a 707.

Unfortunately for Vickers the governments of these African countries, worried that 707s and DC-8 which could not land would overfly them, spent fortunes extending their runways hence removing the market for the VC-10.

The VC-10s economics were improved with the stretched Super but the drag from the large wing was always a fuel penalty.

Vickers/BACs marketing was not helped when Boeing obtained and published an internal BOAC document comparing the Super VC-10 and the 707 which discussed the higher fuel burn of the VC-10. Of course, Boeing did not publish the bit which followed which stated that, when operated on a route in competition with other airlines flying 707s and DC-8s, BOACs VC-10s carried, on average, 10-20 more pax - because pax wanted to fly on a VC-10. The increased load factor more than compensated for the extra fuel burn!
Groundloop is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2009, 17:01
  #8 (permalink)  

"Mildly" Eccentric Stardriver
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: England
Age: 74
Posts: 3,382
And who can forget the worderful ad. "Try a little VC-10-derness"
Herod is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2009, 17:32
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Horsham, England, UK. ---o--O--o---
Posts: 1,126
Hi bossan,

Yes, I took the photos at Brooklands Museum, Weybridge UK.
Inside this aircraft.

You can find a few more here

Cheers OOT.
Out Of Trim is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2009, 17:41
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Toulouse area, France
Age: 90
Posts: 437
Unhappy VC10 design

The Great British Overseas Airways Corporation was said to employ lots of "would-be" aircraft designers in its Future Equipment branch - and indeed, BOAC did like to have off-the-peg aircraft crafted to "Saville Row" standards (see their "input" on the Stratocruiser). Vickers did come up with a design which could meet the "non-stop to London from Entebbe" spec, but the stiff (but efficient) fully-slatted wing and the rear-mounted engines added weight - rear-mounted engines mean an "empty" CofG well aft, giving a short tail moment arm, which in turn requires a bigger fin and tailplane area.
Boeing, on the other hand, with its experience from the B-47 and B-52 of flexible wings mass-balanced by the engines, was able to bring in a lower empty weight, and with the Entebbe runway extended (some said paid for surreptitiously by US Government funds), were able to mount a successful counter-attack - seriously helped by the 707's non-recurring costs being largely paid for by the concurrent KC-135 programme.
BOAC's subsequent very public running down of the VC-10 (to justify its decision to go for the 707 after very fully specifying the VC-10) with its miserably weepy "it doesn't do what we want it to do" theme was also a body-blow to Vickers (see also the similar whingeing from BEA about the Trident which they too specified in great detail, with many a change in the process). Add to all this the British government's pressure for the aircraft-building industry to "rationalise" and you can understand why the Vickers bit of what was to become BAC didn't put up much of a fight (or any), naturally preferring to save what could be saved of relations with HMG and the "Overseas Airway".
A very sorry story, for the VC-10 is indeed one of those "looks right" machines - and another of the long series of serious errors by the Powers That Be in the saga of the decline of Britain's aircraft manufacturing industry during the 1960s.
Jig Peter is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2009, 17:45
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 18,622
HerodAnd who can forget the worderful ad. "Try a little VC-10-derness"
And on that note

A Little VC10derness

Out Of Trim Nice pictures, I was one of the RAF lads that went down and applied a treatment to the outside of it in the late 80's and we delivered a set of blanks for it...... we even had a go around what was left of the track in an RAF Sherpa van at some insane angle on the banking LOL
NutLoose is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2009, 22:04
  #12 (permalink)  

"Mildly" Eccentric Stardriver
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: England
Age: 74
Posts: 3,382
Brilliant find NutLoose. Looks like a good site to spend a lot of time in.
Herod is offline  
Old 26th Feb 2009, 10:09
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Essex
Posts: 579
The VC10 was the first aircraft I flew in, in 1966, and for that reason it has remained special. It is also very beautiful and appealing to look at. And the sound of the Conways....
Seat62K is offline  
Old 26th Feb 2009, 11:53
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: The New Forest, UK
Posts: 227
BOAC VC10 to Bogota any one ?

Any BOAC Super VC10 pilots out there flying between 1969 to mid 70s to BOG El Dorado?

If so I was one of the kids waiving to you from the passenger gate building terrace (alas now closed to public) .

What memories that brings - wishing I could get a ride while listening to the quartet of Conways start up and then see it depart on runway 13/31.

The LHW-BOG route was previously served by Britannias and later 707s.

BOAC in latter 70s handed the route over to Britich Caledonian DC10-30 but retook it mid 80s as British Airways after the BCal takeover I pressume with 747s.
b377 is offline  
Old 28th Feb 2009, 16:23
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Near Stalyvegas
Age: 75
Posts: 2,023
I was lucky enough to get a ride on a VC10/VC10/Tornado F3 Air to Air Refuelling sortie.....absolute Heaven
chiglet is offline  
Old 28th Feb 2009, 17:44
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 113
VC 10 Success

The primary reason no British designed airliner has been a commercial success is because they have always been designed for the 'Empire routes' i.e England to Australia/ New Zealand and Africa. With the necessary stops along the way, range was never a problem. Unlike the U.S builders who only had to look a little further than coast to coast, to incorporate an Atlantic range crossing in the original design. Also, American companies could offer better financing terms and B.O.A.C was deeply in bed with the big three, it is easy to see how the British projects dropped out of the race.
I was told by a Boeing man, when they were having problems with the 727 they got a great deal of information from HS, and said they would never have given such detail, and freedom of the factory to anybody. I was carefully escorted around with my camera when I wanted to take photos of my company's aircraft during production.
JamesA is offline  
Old 28th Feb 2009, 20:06
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Essex
Posts: 579
Off topic, I know, but it's interesting to note that of the "classic" British 1960's/1970's jets (VC10, Trident, 1-11) it was only the latter which secured US orders, as did the (later) BAe 146 series, of course.
I would not have thought that range was that much of an issue, but I could be wrong. Standard VC10s were capable of crossing the Atlantic (I flew in one between London and Philadelphia in 1970) let alone Super VC10s. I do recognise that US carriers may have wanted to operate nonstop to places like Rome but I seem to remember that much transAtlantic traffic by Pan Am and TWA was routed via Heathrow. BOAC didn't even serve cities like Detroit nonstop from the UK, presumably partly because traffic on such routes was so thin that it was amalgamated with that to another city. [It's a long time ago and my memory may not have served me well!]
P.S. It has just struck me that BOAC's use of Standard VC10s on the Atlantic might have been forced on the airline as a response to its not being able to introduce the 747 in May, 1970, as planned. The Philadelphia route was, I think, started that year - presumably the idea was to use Supers released by the use of 747s on routes such as LHR-JFK. This must have led to BOAC experiencing a capacity shortage in the summer of 1970. Does anyone know if my speculation is accurate?
Seat62K is offline  
Old 28th Feb 2009, 21:33
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: southwest
Age: 75
Posts: 287
JamesA & Seat62K

I know more about the 1-11 than the VC-10. The reason the One-Eleven was an (early) success was that it was designed for the world market and not specifically for the UK flag carrier. It was well established before BEA placed an order.

Three factors helped its demise:

1) the RR Spey engine was noisy and unreliable and American Airlines was foolish not to select the P&W JT8-D, which BAC offered. From then on the Spey was the only fit.

2) BAC treated it as a cash cow and didn't put in the investment necessary to compete with the rapidly advancing DC-9 and 737.

3) Once the DC-9 & 737 were in service, the US giants had the sales (& political) resources BAC couldn't match.
Dysag is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2009, 11:29
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 870
No apologies; well, just a small one, maybe, for posting this again......

It brings the sound of the Conways back......

old,not bold is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2009, 15:38
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: The New Forest, UK
Posts: 227
The VC10 was a good try ... but it killed British aviation. A plane designed by commitee to meet the short term needs of a airline.

As to it being a good looking airplane its a matter of opinion, the 707 is to me the best looking of all the first generation jets, period.

If it haddn't been for goverment pressure BOAC would have dumped all VC10s in favour of 707s, luckly, from a PR point of view, the 747 came along.
b377 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.