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Is it possible? A modern VC 10

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Is it possible? A modern VC 10

Old 2nd Dec 2020, 00:41
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Is it possible? A modern VC 10

So thinking out loud.

The Super VC10 was a superb airframe with decent range and great cruise speed.
Its basic specs were 4 x 22500lbs Conways giving just under 6000nm with a full fuel load of 156000lbs fuel

What would it take to dust off the old blue prints, modernise the avionics, engines and systems, get them through certification and build them?

Its a mid size aeroplane. It could do hub and spoke, hub to hub, top end corporate, VVIP biz jets, military and pretty much anything you could ask!.
Modern powerplants could easily match the power with a much lower fuel burn so range would not be an issue. Modern avionics would improve efficiency and save tons of weight.

Surely its a win win for the (British ?) aviation industry?

Just wondering!.. What do you all think?
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 01:35
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Originally Posted by smallfry View Post
What would it take to dust off the old blue prints, modernise the avionics, engines and systems, get them through certification and build them?
I would have thought that what it would take would be roughly equal to the effort and resources required to design a new aeroplane, fitted to contemporary circumstances (when we find out what they are going to be). Could be a bit more, who knows?

That is not to dismiss the idea entirely. In an age when "Mini" and "Fiat 500" are used as car badges, retro and nostalgia obviously have an appeal, and there might be a point in incorporating a few styling cues from the old machine. One might get another percentage point or two of margin in the premium market by dressing the cabin crew in swinging '60s gear, and maybe even have the cockpit announcements made by someone channeling the old BOAC barons.

But with all those aeroplanes sitting in the sun, decaying as slowly as possible, just in case they'll ever be needed again, I don't think it would work commercially. Not to mention the fact that the UK counted in the industrial world when it was innovative.

Last edited by FlightlessParrot; 3rd Dec 2020 at 01:29.
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 06:13
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Already done. It's called the A321XLR.
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 06:25
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There was a "next generation" VC10 sized airliner...

It was called the Boeing 757
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 06:27
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Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
Already done. It's called the A321XLR.
Although "already done" might be a bit premature...
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 06:33
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...But seriously, a re-engined VC10 with CFM56/V2500 engines, a glass cockpit, and maybe even FBW, would not offer anything better than the aforementioned A321XLR/Boeing 757...
Sure, it would have great short field performance, but I doubt it would cruise at anything like the speed of the original VC10...

And lastly...A QUIET VC10? are you mad?
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 06:54
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You youngsters wouldn't remember but way back in the '60s, an RB211 was fitted to a VC10 to replace the 2 Conways on one side as a testbed; it was so successful the Chinese offered to buy VC10s if they could be fitted with 2 x RB211s.
I'm not saying fit 2 x RB211s 'cos they're a bit long in the tooth nowadays, but there must be a more modern equivalent; now that WOULD be quiet.
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 07:39
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Ah..but what happened to G-AXLR? the fuselage got twisted out of true, and the aircraft was scrapped after the trial.
When I was in the RAF, an engineer told me that the VC10 had the same fuel burn as the Tristar, but the Tristar could carry 3 times the payload over the same distance...
Those Conways were horribly thirsty!

The VC10 was a gorgeous airliner, the pinnacle of wholly British aviation technology...but that was in the 1960s...The British aircraft industry is now all but dead..we just make bits of aeroplanes now...and some very good engines!
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 07:44
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VC10 was designed as an 'Empire' transport, when Britain had more colonial interests, overpowered to get in and out of hot and high airports with relatively short runways, runways have in the most part been lengthened and mounting engines high and out of the way of FOD was innovative and successful then but unnecessary now.

Fuel burn is going to be higher as the aircraft structure is heavier than the ideal, 2 engine pods mounted on the wing is the optimum solution as demonstrated by virtually every modern airliner in production.
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 08:35
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Building an aircraft is not only designing new systems and engine mounting points, including a 1000 hr test/certification flight programme (maybe 2 or 3 billion euro's/pounds) but more the construction of manufacturing templates and factory stations, which is another so many billion. When they thought about resuming production of the Fokker F-100/70 after 15 years of closure, they came acros the same problem. That project never matrialised. But I agree, it would lighten up the skies.
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 08:49
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Complete non starter.

Yes the VC10 was a superb machine in its day but heavy ( much metal milled from the solid, plastic is the game these days ) and arguably over engineered. Not sure where the earlier poster got 6000 miles range, we struggled to get LHR _NBO non stop with a TOW of 152 tonnes ( ok 151953 for the purists !).

Thirsty, certainly. When I was on loan to GulfAir the despatcher showed me the TriStar fuel plan, almost exactly the same as our VC 10 with its 125 or so pax but with 300 or so on the 1011.

Was the VC 10 that fast in line ops. ? In BA we cruised at .84 imn .825 true, not that much faster than the B75/76 at .8 true. Burn per pax, vastly less on the Boeings.

Yes, she was a delight to fly and fly in but she’s had her day.
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 08:54
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To be fair, the VC-10 (along with its contemporary, the Trident) was one of the most efficient ways invented of transforming jet fuel into noise ...
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 08:57
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
To be fair, the VC-10 (along with its contemporary, the Trident) was one of the most efficient ways invented of transforming jet fuel into noise ...
........and arguably THE most efficient, the Viper in the Jet Provost, Just 1750 pounds of thrust but made a noise like ripping calico. totally out of proportion to its grunt !

Loved it !
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 09:09
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Originally Posted by RetiredBA/BY View Post
........and arguably THE most efficient, the Viper in the Jet Provost, Just 1750 pounds of thrust but made a noise like ripping calico. totally out of proportion to its grunt !

Loved it !
Our test pilots at Farnborough referred to the JP as a 'constant thrust/variable noise'aircraft.
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 09:10
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Originally Posted by RetiredBA/BY View Post
........and arguably THE most efficient, the Viper in the Jet Provost, Just 1750 pounds of thrust but made a noise like ripping calico. totally out of proportion to its grunt !

Loved it !
Beat me to it. Fixed power variable noise....
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 09:10
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Our test pilots at Farnborough referred to the JP as a 'constant thrust/variable noise'aircraft.
Ha! Beat me to it again!!!
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 09:15
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Originally Posted by ATSA1 View Post
Ah..but what happened to G-AXLR? the fuselage got twisted out of true, and the aircraft was scrapped after the trial.
When I was in the RAF, an engineer told me that the VC10 had the same fuel burn as the Tristar, but the Tristar could carry 3 times the payload over the same distance...
Those Conways were horribly thirsty!

The VC10 was a gorgeous airliner, the pinnacle of wholly British aviation technology...but that was in the 1960s...The British aircraft industry is now all but dead..we just make bits of aeroplanes now...and some very good engines!
The RB211 testbed was still flying in 1975,(I watched it both on radar and visually from Farnborough) long after the RB211 had notched up many million miles in service; the VC10 at RAE Bedford (ex BUA?) also suffered a 'bent' fuselage (or are you getting the two confused?)
Last VC10 I saw 'for real' was out of Heathrow taking Tony Bliar to King Hussein's funeral; we thought it was a Concorde until it came into view (just NW of Woking)
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 11:26
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The British aircraft industry is now all but dead..we just make bits of aeroplanes now...and some very good engines!
Talking to my neighbour, who works for engine manufacturer, building said engines, and listening to the issues they're having I could easily question whether we do make "very good engines"; probably "some" I suppose.
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 12:08
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Returned to Malawi on a Birmingham to Blantyre flight back in 1976/7 time. Don't forget the Mechanics had to trundle through the cabin to top up the hydraulics at the back of the rear toilet wall; no APU on ours just had the emergency start air bottles in the tail section, only tried them once before their hydrostatic test date, FE had to be be quick with his hands to catch the spool up. Still loved flying in her as did my babes swinging in the cots slung from the overhead.
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 12:25
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Originally Posted by aeromech3 View Post
Returned to Malawi on a Birmingham to Blantyre flight back in 1976/7 time. Don't forget the Mechanics had to trundle through the cabin to top up the hydraulics at the back of the rear toilet wall; no APU on ours just had the emergency start air bottles in the tail section, only tried them once before their hydrostatic test date, FE had to be be quick with his hands to catch the spool up. Still loved flying in her as did my babes swinging in the cots slung from the overhead.
I assume that BHX / Blantyre flight was one of the couple of times the Air Malawi VC10 diverted into BHX due fog. I had always thought that the aircraft positioned back to Blantyre direct from BHX, which was an extremely long leg off BHS's 7,400ft runway back then. Were you actually a paying passenger on the aircraft; and did the flight actually go nonstop from BHX?
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