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RAF VC-10 in-flight reverse thrust use.

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RAF VC-10 in-flight reverse thrust use.

Old 19th May 2021, 20:02
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RAF VC-10 in-flight reverse thrust use.

When my tour in Singapore ended in August 1968, my wife and I flew home in an RAF VC-10. Cyprus was one of the stops on the way back, and we landed at Nicosia airport. As we approached Cyprus at altitude, the captain (or someone from the flight deck) made an announcement over the PA system, but the quality of the system wasn't very good, so it wasn't easy to make out what he was saying, but I did catch something about "noise and vibration." After that, the VC-10 went into a steep descent and yes, there was a lot of noise and vibration. My impression was that the flight crew used reverse thrust as an airbrake because we were avoiding some other country's airspace (possibly Egypt's) in order to enter the very limited friendly airspace around Cyprus, hence the steep descent. I've read since then that using reverse thrust in flight is a no-no, but I wonder if anyone has any experience or knowledge of it being used by the RAF VC-10s?
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Old 19th May 2021, 21:04
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If you get no response on here, try the military thread. There are a few ten drivers on there still.
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Old 19th May 2021, 21:25
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On my dozen or so flights as pax on VC10s, we were always advised of noise and vibration associated with use of spoilers, not reverse thrust. And yes, it was noisy, and it vibrated.

Similar PA about clunks and bumps from extending the gear.
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Old 19th May 2021, 21:54
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I am sure the VC10 did not use reverse thrust in the air, unlike the DC8, which had no airbrakes and used reverse thrust on the inboard engines.
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Old 19th May 2021, 22:32
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It was a standard practice on the Trident to deploy the reversers in flight, But I can't say if it was on a VC10.
I'm remember there was no physical interlock (Wow switches) to stop you doing so on the VC10, but I don't know if they ever did or not in flight. The system was purely mechanical. There was a light that came on on the dashboard to indicate the buckets were unlocked but it was just that a light.
All RAF VC10's only had two reversers fitted where as the early BOAC tens had all four reversers fitted.
To deploy the reversers the throttles had to be pulled all the way back to Idle to release the reverse handle which were on the front of the two centre throttle levers. As you lifted those handles they deployed the buckets. Then as you pulled the front handle further up and over towards you that then increased engine RPM by rotating the actual throttle valve at the engine end in the reverse sense, it only being closed in the mid position.
That's as I remember the system, but it was 25 years ago I was last in the cockpit.
I hope that helps.
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Old 19th May 2021, 22:46
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Reverse thrust in flight on a VC-10 has happened, but not in normal circumstances: G-AXLR Test Flying
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Old 20th May 2021, 08:36
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Dunno about the 10 but it was available on the Trident. Being a newbie, I was keen to give it a try but the sensible and experienced peers didn't like it. They suggested that it's use was admission that one had screwed up the descent and anyway -" What if you can't get it out of revers ?". Decided not to try.
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Old 20th May 2021, 09:06
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The flying manual for the VC10 says:

As mentioned before, there is no mechanical lock that precludes use in flight but I'm pretty sure that reverse was not meant to be used during descent or anywhere else in flight.
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Old 20th May 2021, 09:12
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I flew the VC10 for 14 years with BOAC and BA and, to the best of my knowledge, reverse thrust was never used in the air. Whether this was an airline decision, or not approved by the manufacturer and the CAA, I am not sure. Others may know.
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Old 20th May 2021, 09:46
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The RAF didn't use reverse off the ground.
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Old 20th May 2021, 10:24
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But one engine did engage in reverse during receiver tanking - much to the surprise of everyone.
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Old 20th May 2021, 10:33
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Originally Posted by Bergerie1 View Post
...or not approved by the manufacturer and the CAA...
A bit of speculation and guesswork on my part but I think that you would need to show during testing that use of thrust reverse in flight is safe so that you can then incorporate this into the procedures and the type's performance data. This was obviously arranged in the case of the Trident and the DC-8. Perhaps they needed it for performance purposes. A quick glance at the procedures and limitations for the VC10 has not shown any text that specifically prohibits use in flight, but judging from the bit I copied and the rest of the manual, it would appear to be intended for use on ground only.
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Old 20th May 2021, 10:54
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Jhieminga, I believe your speculation to be correct
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Old 20th May 2021, 10:56
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Grey cells

Only flew her for 18 months but seemed to remember it was tried in flight testing possibly with the insistence by the board of trade...Davies?
There were two incidents with Concorde with inadvertent in-flight reverse.. one in cruise which returned; after engineering had crawled over her and cleared the defect it happened again just after rotation...heard her roaring over our cottage near Newbury in the dark; rushed outside as thought it was a car sliding down Cold Ash Hill at high speed on it's roof. IIRC didn't get above 3 grand until over the Bristol Channel.
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Old 20th May 2021, 11:31
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Hey Mr M
You say that early BOAC VC10s had 4 reversers. They did not. Only the Super VC10, alias VC15 had 4 reversers.
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Old 20th May 2021, 11:39
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Only the prototype and the Super VC10s had four reversers. On the Supers, the inner reversers were later removed. One source states that this was partially a weight saving measure that allowed the installation of a containment ring around the turbine section of the Conways (after this incident?).
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Old 20th May 2021, 11:57
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Jh, I heard that it was to reduce drag as well as weight.

Bp, I doubt it was ever tried on a CofA airtest while with BOAC/BA. But you never know, some brave (foolish?) souls did try some strange things at times.
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Old 20th May 2021, 16:14
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I only used reverse thrust once in the air over four years on the DC8. It produced a lot of vibration and was not nice to use.
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Old 20th May 2021, 17:17
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Thank you everyone for your timely comments - I didn't except so many. So, the consensus appears to be that the VC-10 did not use reverse thrust in flight and that the noise and vibration I experienced was due the spoilers being deployed.
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Old 20th May 2021, 18:18
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Yes Bergerie and I’ve even been party to them...
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