Category: Aircraft

Visiting the VC10 at Brooklands.

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.

(1498×507)

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.

DRW © 2020. Created 22/01/2020. 

Updated: 15/02/2020 — 08:57

OTD: Remembering HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales

Amongst the long list of ships lost during the two World Wars are two battleships that were literally sent to their doom on this day in 1941.  The sinking of HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales is well documented and I won’t repeat all that is written about them, suffice to say a better account of the battle may be read at the relevant Wikipedia page. Technically HMS Repulse was a battlecruiser, and if anything even more vulnerable to air attack due to the bad design. 

Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum

Many of the survivors of the sinking would become prisoners of war in the subsequent battles that put South East Asia into Japanese hands, they too would loose their lives as a result of their captivity.

HMS Prince Of Wales in Singapore

HMS Repulse leaving Singapore

The loss of these two ships was yet another nail in the coffin for the big gun ship, and a display of how vulnerable they were to air attack. The image below was taken from a Japanese aircraft during the initial high-level bombing attack. The battlecruiser Repulse, near the bottom of the view, has just been hit by one bomb and near-missed by several more. The battleship Prince of Wales is near the top of the image, generating a considerable amount of smoke. The Japanese writing in the lower right states that the photograph was reproduced by authorization of the Navy Ministry.

Japanese high level bombing attack on HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse on 10 December 1941(NH_60566)

Japanese high level bombing attack on HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse on 10 December 1941(NH_60566)

 

DRW © 2019 – 2020. Created 10/12/2019.

Image of HMS Prince of Wales in Singapore: Abrahams, H J (Lt), Royal Navy official photographer. Post-Work: User: W.wolny / Public domain.

Image of HMS Repulse leaving Singapore: Adams W L G (Captain), Commanding Officer, HMS CORINTHIAN. Post-Work: User: W.wolny / Public domain

Image of HMS Repulse and Prince of Wales retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Repulse_(1916), image is in the public domain, Unknown author   – U.S. Navy photo NH 60566

Updated: 09/03/2020 — 19:59

Onwards to Africa

Continuing where we left off

The flight was not too bad, food was ok, and the movies helped pass the time. I watched: The Incredibles 2, Hotel Transylvania 3, The Christopher Robin movie, The Hurt Locker and Bohemian Rhapsody. The last I was still busy with when we started our descent to OR Tambo Aiport in Johannesburg. 

Breakfast was not too bad, at least there was no sign of that awful spinach…

 

It was overcast outside and we landed at roughly 8.15 in the morning (2 hours behind local time in the UK). 

Flightline (1500×560)

I was collected by my brother and I saw my mother about an hour later. It is hard to describe my feelings when I saw her. It has been almost 2 years since she left her former home to go into frail care, and there was a marked deterioration in her physical condition. However, she can still outglare  a rattlesnake. The decision we made in 2016 was not an easy one, and of course there is a lot of guilt associated with putting into frail care. We did not have any choice though, because neither of us was in the position to take care of her. She is very frail and imprisoned in her own body, and at some point the inevitable will happen, but I do feel better about seeing her again, and I am sure she was happy to see me, although she would never admit so much. 

The duty done, it was time to unpack and bath and clean up after the flight. I was tired, having been on the go for almost 30 hours. My plans for this trip were to rationalise more of my collection, visit friends and family, look for my missing will, and have some serious discussions with my brother. I wont be taking thousands of images though as I won’t be travelling much while I am in South Africa. 

DRW © 2019. Created 27/02/2019

Updated: 28/03/2019 — 07:30
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