Tonight while pondering the lack of interesting things around this time of year I ended up looking at my huge folder list and found that my Brooklands folder was dated 22/01/2015, so I looked through the pics and realised that I did not post as many of my VC10 pics as I would have liked; and this was a perfect opportunity to play catch up. I rate Brooklands. the Birthplace of British Motorsport & Aviation very high on my list of favourite museums because it had such a wide variety of exhibits that meant something to me. That included a Concorde, VC10, and of course a Wellington Bomber.
There is one complete VC10 and one intact fuselage at the museum,
Vickers 1103 VC10 (G-ASIX “Sultan of Oman”) was built by Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd and first flown from Brooklands on 17/10/64 with delivery to British United Airways at Gatwick, she was transferred to British Caledonian in November 1970 and then sold to the Omani Government in 1974. Refurbished at BAC Hurn; she operated as ‘A40-AB’ by The Sultan of Oman’s Royal Flight at Muscat, and was the last civilian operated VC10 in service.
Her final flight was from Muscat to Brooklands via Heathrow on 6/7/87, crewed by Officers of the Omani Royal Flight and with His Excellency Hussein Bin Mohammed Bin Ali (Omani Ambassador) and Sir Peter Masefield (Chairman of Trustees of the Museum) as passengers. I did not photograph all of the interior, but you can see from the pics below that this was not your run of the mill long haul airliner. (https://www.brooklandsmuseum.com/explore/our-collection/aircraft/sultan-oman-vc10)
The VC10 is an aircraft from my past, even though I had never travelled on one or even been near to one until my Brooklands visit. It was an icon of aviation and very distinctive with the high tail and set back wings and 4 engines mounted at the rear. That tail was a very popular image used in advertising too.
The real thing is even more impressive.
SAA did not operate any of them, but BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) certainly did, and I believe they were regular callers at what was then Jan Smuts Airport (Now OR Tambo). In fact the VC10 was well suited to operate out of “Hot and High” airports (OR Tambo in Johannesburg is classed as a hot and high airport). The rear-mounted engines gave a more efficient wing and made them less vulnerable to runway debris. The resulting high fuel consumption compared to the contemporary Boeing 707 made the VC10 somewhat of a failure though, as major airlines dismissed the VC10 as it cost too much to operate.
The other VC10 fuselage at Brooklands (G-ARVM “Victor Mike”):
G-ARVM was the last Standard VC10 built, and built at Brooklands in 1963-64 with it’s maiden on 9 July 1964. She was was the 12th VC10 for BOAC and operated BOAC and British Airways until she was retired in October 1979. (https://www.brooklandsmuseum.com/explore/our-collection/aircraft/vc10-vm)
If my memory serves me correctly the interior seating was not her original seating but from when the RAF used to aircraft in a transport role.
The VC10 was in service with the RAF for 47 years, and was very successful in air-to-air refuelling operations. It accomplished its final aviation milestone on 20 September 2013.
The VC10 is an iconic aircraft and one which we will never see the likes of again. Today the airliner is fast, efficient and has longer range and capacity. But, they all look pretty similar and very few stand out amongst the horde. I am glad that I was at least able to have a closer look at these because they are a part of aviation history.
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