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VC-10 tanker internal tanks - pics?

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VC-10 tanker internal tanks - pics?

Old 20th Feb 2021, 17:18
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VC-10 tanker internal tanks - pics?

Does anyone have any photos of the inside of the VC-10 tanker ( the models with internal "cabin" tanks ) ?

Many thanks in advance

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Old 20th Feb 2021, 19:58
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Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Does anyone have any photos of the inside of the VC-10 tanker ( the models with internal "cabin" tanks ) ?

Many thanks in advance
You need to get out more Dave.

In a socially distancing stylee clearly............

TN.
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 20:02
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There are two photos at the bottom of this page: https://www.vc10.net/Technical/fuel_system.html
I've got loads more, but do you need them for something? In that case, send me a message.
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 09:10
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That looks familiar. A training board with the VC 10's fuel system was mounted in the air refuelling classroom at Marham in 1962.
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 11:08
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 13:21
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
That looks familiar. A training board with the VC 10's fuel system was mounted in the air refuelling classroom at Marham in 1962.
Are you sure 1962?
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 13:56
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Positive!

I finished my Valiant conversion in June 1962 and was posted to 90 Sqn at Honington which had just converted to the flight refuelling role. I was immediately sent on the flight refuelling course at Marham where I learned all about the extra tanks, HDUs, refuelling baskets and probes. As far as the staff were concerned the VC10 tanker was just around the corner and was certain to replace the Valiant in the Tanker role.

How official were those thoughts at the time i don't know but they had gone to great lengths to manufacture full classroom size boards with the fuel systems illustrated.
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 15:44
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Get your arse down to St Mawgan and visit the Cornwal Aviation Heritage Centre - they have a complete VC10K that they will allow people to go inside and take their own photos
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 18:44
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Thanks guys thats amazing!

Jhieminga - it was only for interest really, to see the size of the tanks and if they kept the "airline" interior....

B Word - thanks for the info, will try to get there sometime after lockdown!

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Old 21st Feb 2021, 19:03
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
Positive!

I finished my Valiant conversion in June 1962 and was posted to 90 Sqn at Honington which had just converted to the flight refuelling role. I was immediately sent on the flight refuelling course at Marham where I learned all about the extra tanks, HDUs, refuelling baskets and probes. As far as the staff were concerned the VC10 tanker was just around the corner and was certain to replace the Valiant in the Tanker role.

How official were those thoughts at the time i don't know but they had gone to great lengths to manufacture full classroom size boards with the fuel systems illustrated.
Fascinating since the vc10 wasn't even in raf service in 1962, i think. Some foresight!
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 20:24
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I can imagine the confusion. When the VC10 first flew in 1962 all sorts of roles were forecast for all sorts of aircraft that were just flying or entering service. As a graduate from a Vampire AFS I was allowed access to most of the technical details of the TSR2 on a course project. So much so that we travelled to Boscombe and observed one of the test flights.

In the sixties the RAF was alive with projects for new types. The 1970s fleet was already being planned for.

A year later I was buttonholed in the mess bar by an Air Commodore who was apparently in the technical branch. Surrounding him were a posse of groundocrats gloating over his every word.
"What do you think of being in a dead end job." He demanded.

Being just a Flying Officer i asked what he meant.

"Don't you know that you will be finished in a couple of years. You will be replaced by missiles"

I looked at him and his chortling disciples.

"That's fantastic" I said, " I will be able to fly around the world with a cabin full of randy hostesses.".

He seemed to lose interest.
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Old 22nd Feb 2021, 13:01
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Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Jhieminga - it was only for interest really, to see the size of the tanks and if they kept the "airline" interior....
No problem, there's more about the tanker conversions on another page on my site: https://www.vc10.net/History/tanker_conversions.html
The airline interiors were completely stripped out, there is just a small cabin with 16 seats left at the front, between the flight deck and the first fuel tank, but these use the generic RAF seats.



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Old 22nd Feb 2021, 14:11
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When we first had the VC10K2, we had forward facing 'Comet' seats. But then 'They' decided that we had to have the normal rear facing seats....

However, quite often on TTF pond-hops and the like it wasn't unknown for seats to be rearranged so that we had a 'club' layout with a rear facing triple, a table and a forward facing triple. Useful for next leg planning, dining and for ground crew to consult manuals when fixing the inevitable snags which often cropped up.

The reason for the red marking around the pipe in front of the first fuselage tank cell was because one variant had the fuel tanks rather closer to the cabin door than the other - I think it was the K3? So if people opened the door and went into the tank bay having been used to the other, they could end up with a face full of fuel pipe. Solved by thick sponge rubber and dayglo strips by our ever-inventive ground crew!

When the K4 was about to come into service, as it didn't have any fuselage tanks (to save cost - in any case, unlike the K2 it had a fin tank), a paper was written proposing to fit more seats. Viewed with horror by 'Them' as that would have probably led to some C1s being scrapped. But 36 seats in 6 'club' layouts would have been rather civilised!

Dear old Vickers FunBus - an utter delight if rather noisy and thirsty. Like many of the crews!
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Old 22nd Feb 2021, 17:19
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If I recall from my youth the mighty VC-10 was originally touted as a possible tanker, bomber (84 x 1000lb bombs in pods & bomb bay), a martime patrol aircraft (might it have been better than a Nimrod?) & if I recall an AEW fit (I hasten to add as single role airframes). The last option was as a pax aircraft. I may well still have the copy of Air Pictorial detailing this somewhere.
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Old 22nd Feb 2021, 17:41
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K3s were bloody freezing on a long high transit or a trail in winter even in the seating cabin. I remember on one transit back from Canada, OC 101 as PF, fully in his sleeping bag except for arms, wearing a full bobble hat and gloves too!
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Old 22nd Feb 2021, 20:21
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Were the extra tanks single or double-skinned...?
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Old 23rd Feb 2021, 00:23
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Perhaps someone who has all the gen can tell us about the ill-fated proposal for an extending "tube" which could be deployed in flight to allow the aircrew to escape by sliding down it and emerge clear of the aircraft in the event of an aircraft abandonment. It should be said that at this stage it was envisaged that the crew would have parachutes! I'm not sure at what stage this mod was abandoned, but I seem to recall there was some form of installation on the port side just aft of the flight deck, which served as a waste basket container.

I now see that you mention this on your website (link above) Jhieminga . Could you perhaps give a few details? You say the system was extensively tested - were there any live "jumps" during this testing, and did the early VC10 tanker crews actually ever fly in parachutes?
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Old 23rd Feb 2021, 08:25
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Originally Posted by sycamore View Post
Were the extra tanks single or double-skinned...?
The fuselage fuel cells are double skinned with a synthetic rubber bag inside the inner skin.
Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav
Could you perhaps give a few details? You say the system was extensively tested - were there any live "jumps" during this testing, and did the early VC10 tanker crews actually ever fly in parachutes?
As far as I know there were no live jumps, but the first installation on ZA143 was used to drop several dummies over Lark Hill on Salisbury Plain. ZA143 was also flown with the escape door open and chute extended to assess the effect on the port engines. As for the use of parachutes, others more knowledgable than me will be able to answer that one. The system was relatively short-lived (although I don't have the dates for when it was finally removed) and I don't know whether it was ever actually deemed operational on the K2/K3 fleet.
It is interesting to think that the location for the escape chute (height relative to the main cabin floor) was not all that different from the escape hatch on the VC10 prototype, which was mounted in the forward underfloor freight door. There's a story here about the windtunnel tests for that door (first story): https://www.vc10.net/Memories/FlightTesting.html
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Old 23rd Feb 2021, 08:38
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Ah yes, the 'million pound dustbin'!

What an utter feat of nonsense that was. The first few VC10K courses were taught how it was to be used and we listened with incredulous disdain.

The idea was that the aircraft could be abandoned having given away all its fuel to tanks dry - or nearly so as we still needed some eletrical and hydraulic power. The Air Engineer would operate a low level override button on the fuel panel, then spill the pressurisation to reduce differential pressure so that operation of the crew escape chute wouldn't cause an explosive decompression. Then the chute would be extended after which the crew was supposed to take turns diving out.

However, it was impossible to fly in parachutes as the seats wouldn't accomodate them. Also when the chute was operated, the sealing strip around the external door would most likely be ingested by the left hand engines, which would probably explode.

To add to the joy, we were supposed to use a walk round portable oxygen cylinder each as the cabin pressure rose. Thus we were supposed to unstrap, transfer to walk round oxygen, walk back to the cabin and don parachutes. One pilot would stay at the controls until the other had kitted up, then he would go back whilst the other pilot held the aircraft straight and level by leaning over the seat and holding the control column! After the chute had been deployed and everyone else had gone, the remaining pilot was supposed to leg it back to the cabin and dive out....if he could. No intercom of course, so any communication would be by shouting after releasing one's oxygen mask. The rubber jungle would also have dropped automatically as cabin altitude increased.....

In the K3, the wretched thing was right over the access hatch to the underfloor area. So if the Air Engineer needed to go downstairs, he had to do a limbo dance to wriggle down through the hatch. The BWoS test crew tried to convince us that it was easy when the first K3 arrived and we went on board to study it.

We were issued with immersion suits and bone domes (I think?) and there was a storage area in the squadron built for the purpose. I think that we did the single seat dinghy drill at SCSR as well as the multi-seat, but I might be wrong.

Eventually 'They' had an attack of commonsense and the whole nonsense was removed, leaving just a differential pressure gauge and part of the structure - which was the perfect size to hold a gash bag for galley rubbish etc. Hence the 'Million Pound Dustbin' nickname.

There was no plausible scenario for use of the system and it certainly couldn't be used to abandon a damaged aircraft. Those who'd been rear crew in Victors thought their system was bad enough, but the proposed VC10K2/3 system was laughably ridiculous!

Last edited by BEagle; 23rd Feb 2021 at 08:50.
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Old 23rd Feb 2021, 08:58
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Regarding the prototype VC10 escape system, a chap who worked at Weybridge as an apprentice was on my Aero Eng course. He told me that there was a tape of Trubshaw's struggle with G-ARTA in which he gives the bale out order - followed a little later by "It's OK chaps, I've got her - COME BACK, COME BACK!!".

The RB211 test aircraft also had a crew escape system via the lower freight bay door and I recall being shown it whilst on a visit to Hucknall.
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