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Sultan of Oman VC10 at Weybridge/Brooklands

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Sultan of Oman VC10 at Weybridge/Brooklands

Old 13th Jul 2012, 07:08
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Sultan of Oman VC10 at Weybridge/Brooklands

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.

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Old 13th Jul 2012, 07:59
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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.

Last edited by treadigraph; 13th Jul 2012 at 08:01.
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Old 13th Jul 2012, 09:24
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Judging by this


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

Last edited by diddy1234; 13th Jul 2012 at 09:25.
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Old 13th Jul 2012, 09:34
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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
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Old 13th Jul 2012, 11:18
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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!
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Old 13th Jul 2012, 12:48
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As the M3, at its nearest, is nearly 3 miles from Brooklands it would never have been closed for an arrival of any type.
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Old 13th Jul 2012, 14:00
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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 ?



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Old 14th Jul 2012, 00:05
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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?

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Old 14th Jul 2012, 06:04
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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(?).

Last edited by chevvron; 14th Jul 2012 at 06:14.
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Old 14th Jul 2012, 10:06
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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!

Last edited by Georgeablelovehowindia; 14th Jul 2012 at 10:19.
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Old 14th Jul 2012, 11:00
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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.
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Old 14th Jul 2012, 11:57
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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

I've got the length of the original runway as 1152 meters on this page: Histories - G-ARTA, 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
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.

Last edited by Jhieminga; 14th Jul 2012 at 12:09.
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Old 14th Jul 2012, 12:46
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
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
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
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!
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Old 14th Jul 2012, 14:19
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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 .
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Old 14th Jul 2012, 15:17
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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.
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Old 15th Jul 2012, 09:46
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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?
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Old 15th Jul 2012, 10:26
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Originally Posted by ICM
...complete with a picture of Dick King and Dave Parsons, who delivered the aircraft, on that very flight deck.

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).

Last edited by Jhieminga; 15th Jul 2012 at 10:36.
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Old 15th Jul 2012, 12:09
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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.
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Old 15th Jul 2012, 12:41
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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?
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Old 15th Jul 2012, 16:20
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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.
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