XV106 keytags available
Aviationtag.com, December 2018
Another option in the Christmas presents category is a keytag from Aviationtag.com. This German company specialises in tags, which can be used for keys, luggage or just as a memento, created from old bits of aircraft skin. So what you're getting is a small piece of aluminium that used to be part of a specific aircraft, and the tag itself is marked to reflect this. The tag may also include small blemishes that were once part of the aircraft itself.
The interesting tag in their collection is one from a run of 5000 (for obvious reasons all these tags are limited editions) created from VC10 C1K XV106. After XV106 carried out its last landing at Bruntingthorpe on 7th November 2012, the aircraft was stored at the airfield while parts were recovered, until the airframe was cut up in August 2013. The nose section was stored and moved to the Avro Heritage Museum in September 2016, but apparently some other (smaller) bits of metal found its way to Aviationtag.com. The end result is an affordable and distinctive memento of this particular C1K and the RAF VC10 fleet as a whole. See this link for more details and the Aviationtag.com online shop.
VC10 videos, both on DVD and online
If you're looking for some VC10 footage, there are several options out there. Producer Avion Video has just released a new title: 'Classic Airliner Collection no.3', available on DVD from their website (see link above). Just as with the previous two titles in this range, the DVD contains many short scenes showing classic types from the 1950s to 1980s at US and European airports with one sidestep to Kuwait showing DC-3s in the 1950s. The final sixteen and a half minutes of the hour long DVD is dedicated to RAF's 10 Squadron in the mid to late 1980s though. A mini-documentary shows scenes from around RAF Brize Norton, including the VC10 simulator and the base hangar. It also shows the VC10 from various angles and then goes along on a trip to Ascension Island via Dakar and back home, showing all aspects of the flight.
As an alternative, Henry Tenby's online TV channel Jetflix has just released 'RAF Brize Norton 2011 - VC10 L-1011 Superbase'. This video was created by spending three days filming around the airfield, mostly from the perimeter road under the final approach, showing many of the training sorties that were a daily task for both 101 Squadron's VC10s and 216 Squadron's Tristars. Have a look on the website for more details. Other interesting videos on Jetflix include a three-part tour of Brooklands Museum including their VC10, and a visit by C1K XV104 to Vancouver in 2011. The VC10 may also be included in some other shows, such as an early 1970s look at the Seychelles.
Naming the VC10 - The Aviation Historian
The Aviation Historian, November 2018
The 24th issue of The Aviation Historian, available from their website through the link above, includes an article based on official files about the names that were considered for the VC10. Chris Gibson has uncovered the story of how several departments sent proposals back and forth, eventually ending up with the single RAF type that never carried a name. The article is nicely illustrated with several period colour photos of RAF VC10s.
ZA150 Engine Run at Wings & Wheels
ZA150 Facebook page, September 2018
While ZD241 braved a rainy day to run up and down the Bruntingthorpe runway, the Wings & Wheels event at Dunsfold saw some better weather (at least on the Saturday) and ZA150 celebrated this with a two engine run. The port side engines, including the recently repaired no.2 Conway, were run in front of an appreciative audience. Thanks to Toby Vickers here's a video of this run (take care with the volume adjustment please).
Video by Toby Vickers
Successful FCU change on ZA150's no.2 engine
Brooklands Museum, August 2018
Paul Robinson sent me the following report on ZA150's recent engine trouble:
"During the June VC10 open day on ZA150 at Dunsfold the operating crew experienced a very stiff no.2 throttle lever. On the subsequent maintenance day the team commenced troubleshooting the entire cable run from the cockpit to the Fuel Control Unit (FCU) on the RR Conway engine. It didn’t take long to identify that the cause of the problem was internal to the FCU which, if we didn’t have a spare, was a show stopper for no. 2 engine.
A spare, including the required seals, was found amongst the spares that came from RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falklands. The pressure was now on to replace the FCU before Wings & Wheels on 25/26 August.
Over a couple of days in early August three of the team set about replacing the FCU and getting doused in Jet A1 fuel in the process. When I went home smelling of jet fuel it took my wife back down memory lane to when we were first married. The last time two of us had replaced a VC10 FCU was in excess of 30 years ago! For the third team member it was a little more recent as he is ex-RAF. The change went very well with no fuel leaks after installation followed by a successful engine run.
Some thanks should also go to the Bruntingthorpe ZD241 group who offered advice as some of that group were VC10 engineers up to the VC10’s retirement."
This means that ZA150 is ready for next weekend's event, see here for details: Dunsfold Wings & Wheels. Next Sunday is also one of Bruntingthorpe's two yearly open days, so if all goes well, two VC10s will run on the same day.
Plans for ZA147's future
Facebook, May 2018
It has been a while since I posted about ZA147, and now I can add some good news. The Facebook group linked to above was set up recently to inform everyone about plans to take ZA147 apart and organise a road move to St. Athan in Wales. GJD Services has all the experience, tools and manpower needed to organise this move, just as they have done for XR808. You can help out by supporting this move financially, by buying £10 shares. There will also be a VC10 membership club with various perks available for an annual fee. There is a lot of money to be raised before the move can get started, but the goal is attainable and it will secure a future for this VC10, as a ground running example of this great airliner. A website will be set up soon and more details will become available.
ZA150 open day planned
Brooklands Museum website, May 2018
The next open day at Dunsfold aerodrome for resident VC10 ZA150 will take place on 7th July. Tickets must be booked prior to the day for either the morning or afternoon session and the number of tickets is limited. Visitors will be able to view the aircraft close up, including inside, and ZA150 will perform a low-speed taxi run. See the website through the link above for more information and to buy tickets.
Thomas Mottershead VC statue unveiled
ITV News, April 2018
On April 1st, the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Royal Air Force, a statue commemorating Thomas Mottershead VC was unveiled in the town of his birth, Widnes. A charity appeal has been raising funds for this for several years now and the end result is a great looking life-size statue, which was unveiled by his grandson, Colin, and Air Marshal Sir Roger Austin. See link above for a video from the event.
Christopher Orlebar 1945 - 2018
ConcordeSST.com, February 2018
On 24th February 2018, Captain Chris Orlebar passed away aged 73. Although well known as an expert on everything Concorde, and writer of one of the best-selling books about the supersonic transport (visitors to his flight deck often had the option of purchasing one as well), Orlebar joined BOAC in 1969 and flew the VC10 as a pilot, navigator and later instructor until he moved to the Concorde fleet in 1976. He was closely involved with the rebuild of G-BBDG at Brooklands Museum, often turning up to check on progress, or chatting with visitors and volunteers. At the 50th anniversary of G-ARTA's first flight he was one of the speakers, talking about what it was like to fly the VC10. On 24th September 2013 he turned up at Dunsfold in his blue MGB to welcome ZA150 after its final flight, shooting video of the whole event. Not long after the landing he was in the cockpit, strapping himself into the captain's seat and chatting about what a great aeroplane the VC10 was to fly.
Limited Edition Bremont VC10 Watch
Bremont, February 2018
For anyone looking for a new watch, you might be interested in this limited edition offering from British quality watchmaker Bremont. They are offering a special version of their MBII model with a customised face commemorating the VC10's military service. If a minimum of 15 orders is reached, they will start building these watches, which will take approximately 20 weeks. The normal MBII retails around £3795, but these limited edition watches will be available to military personnel who worked on the VC10 at a special price of £2055. Different colour watch cases, open backs and different bands are also available at additional cost. The watch face has a VC10 plan view with the years of the first and final flights next to it at the bottom, and a little addition at the 10 o'clock position. If the poster on the right isn't clear enough, click here for a full size version. For more details or to register your interest, get in touch with Chris Nash via e-mail (click here). Because of the special discount, only military personnel can get one of these watches. Have a look at the link at the top of this message for more information about the Bremont MBII watch.
Reading material with a VC10 connection
Amberley Publishing, January 2018
Every once in a while you want to read a bit about other aspects of British aviation history that are related to the VC10 story, but not as closely as other books mentioned on this site. Thanks to Amberley publishing I was able to get a look at three recent titles that offer a bit of background or context, along with some lovely images. While they don't add many details to the VC10's history, they do provide a good view of some interesting periods in British aviation history and are therefore worth mentioning here.
All three of these books are the same, roughly A5 sized, paperbacked format with just under 100 pages, or up to 124 pages for the third title. They are also competitively priced. Enjoy!
Two VC10 events coming up at Dunsfold and Bruntingthorpe
Facebook, January 2018
If you want to get up close with a live VC10, there are two options coming up pretty soon.
On Sunday 25th February the team at Bruntingthorpe will host an event to celebrate ZD241/G-ASGM's 50th birthday. Tickets are limited and available at £25 from www.vc10preservationgroup.org, which also happens to be ZD241's new website. More details can be found on the poster below, on the website and on the team's social media channels.
On Saturday 10th March the team looking after ZA150 at Dunsfold Aerodrome will host an open day, including a taxi run and visits to the aircraft. The taxi run will be at low speed for fuel conservation (there’ll be some noise though) and subject to serviceability. Tickets are limited and available at £10 (adults) or £5 (kids) from www.Brooklandsmuseum.com. More details are on the poster below, the museum website or the team's social media channels.
New VC10 model released for Flight Simulator
Just Flight, November 2017
Working together with Aeroplane Heaven, Just Flight have just released the first of three VC10 packages. This includes a type 1101 Standard VC10 in ten different liveries, see the Fly a VC10 page or the link above for more details.
G-ASGC in Heathrow Bears ad
Heathrow Airport, November 2017
Back in July, and again in October, G-ASGC was repositioned at Duxford so that it could star in a new ad. This has now been released and turns out to be the Christmas ad for Heathrow Airport, with the Heathrow Bears as co-stars next to the VC10.
ZA148 is complete once more
Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre, November 2017
After some hard work VC10 K3 tanker ZA148, ex 5Y-ADA, now has its full set of Conways back. A team from the museum, led by Gary Farrar, spent several days getting the four engines back in the nacelles. Supported by GJD Services they used the original engine hoisting kit to winch the Conways back up to the engine mounting beam, where four bolts per engine securely fix it to the airframe. For now the associated piping and cables have not been reconnected but as this can be done without the kit of special tools, the plan is to do this at a later stage. Theoretically the airframe could be brought back to ground running condition but the financing does not allow this right now.
Minor break-in at Brooklands Museum
October 2017, The Brooklands Museum
The Omani VC10 at the Brooklands Museum suffered a minor break-in on 23rd October and is now missing a standby Attitude Indicator from the flight deck. On behalf of the museum I would like to ask everyone to keep an eye out for a Ferranti Standby Artificial Horizon, as shown on the accompanying image. Hopefully it will surface somewhere so that it can be reinstalled on the aircraft. Thanks!
What next for ZA147?
The fourth anniversary of the final flight of a VC10 was just a few weeks ago, and this might be a good opportunity to throw an interesting question out there: what should become of the VC10 that carried out this final flight?
VC10 K3 ZA147 started life as East African Airways' second airfame, registered as 5H-MMT it was delivered in October 1966. After its second first flight as a K3 tanker in August 1985 it served with 101 Squadron until that sad day, 25th September 2013, when it closed the book on the VC10's active, flying life. It has since been stored at Bruntingthorpe and as such serves as a spares ship for ZD241. The problem is that this is not a situation that can last forever as over time the airframe will deteriorate from being exposed to the elements on the outside, and moisture problems on the inside. The team looking after ZD241 managed to clean up ZA147 just a few weeks ago but this is not a long term solution.
Ideally the airframe could be moved to a museum in the UK that is willing to taken on the responsibility of looking after a complete airframe. GJD Services at Bruntingthorpe has the tools and knowledge to do this, having moved XR808 to RAF Cosford in 2015, but they cannot do this for free. So now is the time to think about possible homes for this record-breaking airframe and possible ways to collect the needed funds for a move. Please use the forum on my site, or the site's Facebook page to send in your suggestions. Alternatively use the e-mail link on the left to get in touch about this.
VC10s on TV in BBC series
BBC, October 2017
On October 1st the BBC showed the first episode of a new miniseries about life in Aden in the mid 60s. The trailer (see below) for this series started off with a tantalising view of a BOAC VC10 with passengers disembarking. Although many speculations about the airframe used for this scene ensued on the internet, the truth turned out to be a clever use of CGI, although they should of course have removed the refuelling probe from the original model, which was obviously based on a RAF tanker variant. The Facebook page for BlackGinger, the South Africa based company that created the visual effects needed to put this shot together, shows a video with a breakdown of the creative process.
Also on October 1st, the fourth episode of season 3 of BBC's series Outlander featured a take-off shot of a BOAC VC10, relabeled as North Atlantic Airways, with another shot showing of one of the series' stars in what looked a lot like a VC10 interior. The production company may have used the interior of G-ASGC for this, but may have used generic seats with coloured covers and a suitable backdrop as well. The outside shot appears to be based on period footage with some retouching to change the BOAC titles to those of the fictional airline.
The Incomparable VC10 - available at last
Scoval Publishing, October 2017
The long awaited new book on the VC10 from Scott Henderson has been announced a while ago, was due out this past summer but has suffered several setbacks on the road to your coffee tables. Just after I typed the previous news item in June the publisher found that there were some issues with the printing quality that had to be resolved first. But now Scoval Publishing is really ready to deliver these books to you VC10 fans. The books arrived at the publisher today and the website has been updated with an order form. The book is available for £45 + £5 p&p in the UK, or free delivery to RAF Brize Norton if you're in the RAF. The deluxe leather bound version will be available in a few weeks time, but get in touch with Scoval Publishing through their e-mail address if you are interested in this.
The website (see link above or click here) shows several sample pages from the book on its main page. I hope to be able to review it soon.
XV108 nose section to be repainted in original colours
XV108 Facebook group, September 2017
The team looking after XV108's nose section at East Midlands Aeropark have announced that they plan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first flight of XV108, which took place on 7th June 1968, by repainting the nose section in its original 10 squadron colours. This plan has been around since the fuselage was installed at the aeropark but has been brought forward to celebrate the anniversary. The support equipment surrounding XV108's nose already carries the correct colours for a reconstruction of a 20th century scene at RAF Brize Norton.
Jet Thunder event at Bruntingthorpe, Sunday 27th August
Victor XM715 page, August 2017
Contrary to earlier reports, there will be an event at Bruntingthorpe on Sunday 27th August, albeit on a smaller scale. Only a selection of jets will perform taxi runs but resident VC10 K4 is included in this line up. Tickets are available at the gate at £15 pp (under 12 years free) but numbers are limited. For more, see here: Victor XM715 website.
No taxi run for ZA150 at Wings and Wheels
Wings & Wheels, August 2017
The team that looks after Dunsfold-based ZA150 has just been told by the airshow organisation that the scheduled taxi run for Sunday 27th August will most likely be canceled. Although the aircraft is in perfect shape there are apparently some doubts about this in the minds of the show organisation, which have led to this decision. The VC10 will be present in the static line up and will be open for visits on both days. Let's hope that the difficulties can be overcome so that at least one VC10 can strut its stuff on a runway this August!
Limited Edition VC10 Watch available
ZD241 Facebook page, July 2017
Having designed many different items for the merchandise catalogue of the ZD241 team, Steve Jones has now come up with a limited edition stainless steel men's watch. This is based on a waterproof quartz watch and it is customised with the VC10 logo, a top view drawing of a VC10 K4 and a Vickers Armstrongs logo on the black face. Also, the rear cover will be laser etched with a K4 outline and an individual number, only 101 pieces will be produced. The clasp will also have the Vickers Armstrongs logo laser etched on it, as will the black watch box that it comes in.
At the time of writing some 40 examples out of the 101 are as yet unallocated, if you'd like one, get in touch with Steve soon. It will retail at £135 including delivery to UK adresses, with the proceeds supporting ZD241's future. Subject to timing, Steve will try to get these watches on board ZD241 for a taxi run down the Bruntingthorpe runway before delivery. You can get in touch with Steve through the Facebook link above, or if you're not on Facebook, send me an e-mail and I will forward this. For more images of these watches, check out the Facebook page through the link above.
ZA150 will be open for Dunsfold Wings & Wheels
Wings & Wheels, July 2017
As there will be no Cold War Jets day this August (see below), those of you looking for some Conway noise will have to visit the Dunsfold Wings & Wheels event on Sunday 27th August. The show runs for two days, on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th August, and ZA150 will be open for visits on both days. Subject to servicability ZA150 will carry out a taxi run in front of the audience on Sunday only, around 9:30am.
Cold War Jets day cancelled, but Rolling Thunder is on
Due to business activities at Bruntingthorpe the regular Cold War Jets day in August will sadly not take place this year. There is every intention to hold two events per year but this one will have to be cancelled. If you would like a fix of moving Cold War Jets and are enthusiastic about photography as well then TimeLine events may be able to help you out. On 30th September they have teamed up with the team looking after ZD241, as well as The Buccaneer Aviation Group to offer an afternoon/evening event at Bruntingthorpe during which several aircraft will perform taxi runs and there will be plenty of opportunities to photograph them from all angles and both with and without artificial lighting. To book tickets and for more information see their website: TimeLine Events.
Congratulations to 101 Squadron
Wikipedia, 12 July 2017
On this day 101 Squadron reaches their centenary! Originally formed at Farnborough on 12th July 1917 with the Royal Aircraft Factory FE2b, the squadron has been reformed several times, operating Blenheims, Wellingtons, Lancasters, Lincolns, Canberras and Vulcans. On 1 May 1984 101 Squadron was reformed to receive the first of the VC10 K2 and K3 tankers, later also operating the K4s and of course the remaining C1Ks after 10 Squadron was disbanded in 2005. From October 2013 on it has been flying the new Voyager KC2 and KC3 airframes.
Open day with taxi run coming up at Dunsfold
Brooklands Museum, June 2017
On July 15th there will be an open day for ZA150 at Dunsfold. Tickets for this event are limited in number and can be obtained through the Brooklands Museum link above (or below). Between 12:00 and 15:30 there will be a chance to see the aircraft perform a taxi run on the runway and afterwards visitors will be able to visit the inside of the VC10. Tickets must be pre-booked, there is no opportunity to buy these at the gate on the day.
Review and Giveaway: get a free copy of VC10 - Icon of the Skies
Pen and Sword, June 2017
With thanks the generosity of Pen and Sword books I have three copies of Lance Cole's title 'VC10 - Icon of the Skies' to give away to readers of this site. If you want one, send me an e-mail containing your full name and adress, no later than Wednesday, 21st June. I will draw three names at random and will then drop these books in the mail.
Update: the three books are on their way to the three lucky winners.
The Vickers VC10 due out soon
Scoval Publishing, June 2017
The long awaited new book by Scott Henderson is due out soon! Following on from his earlier book 'Silent, Swift, Superb' this new title is a new work that both provides an update and brings to a conclusion the story of the VC10. Containing all new photos this book aims to present the full history of the type in text and images, up to and including the retirement of the last RAF tankers and the move of XR808 to Cosford. The book will be published in a standard version for £45.00 plus p&p, available from the website from 26th June on, and a leather bound limited edition for £100.00, which will be available in July. Keep an eye on the Scoval Publishing website for details on how to order your copy.
Cold War Jets day coming up
Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, May 2017
The next open day at Bruntingthorpe is coming up on Sunday 28th May. The gates open at 9:00am and VC10 K4 ZD241 will most likely be the first runner on the program. Afterwards the VC10 will be parked close to the display line. The team looking after her will be on site selling merchandise in support of the continued preservation of this VC10. Next to this obvious highlight, the other active airframes will perform taxi runs, including the impressive Lightnings, there will be a flypast by the BBMF and several large scale model aircraft will fly.
At 1:00pm author Keith Wilson will be available on or near the VC10 to sign his Haynes VC10 manual, so feel free to bring your copy along.
Large scale BOAC VC10 flying
E-mail, April 2017
Terry Mason has been flying a large scale RC model VC10 for several years now but recently this model has been repainted, losing its RAF tanker colours. It now represents BOAC Super VC10 G-ASGG in the second BOAC speedbird livery and has performed its first flight in this scheme. The model is still a very impressive sight in the air and it is great to see the iconic blue and gold speedbird livery on it.
Roden kit for VC10 K4 ZD241 available
Roden.eu, March 2017
In February 2017 Roden released a new version of their 1:144 scale VC10 kit, this time allowing you to build K4 tanker ZD241 as it is preserved at Bruntingthorpe airfield. The only markings missing on the decalsheet are the GJD Services logos that were applied by its current owner.
New VC10 book by Lance Cole
Pen and Sword Publishing, March 2017
Lance Cole has written about the VC10 in the past but he has now picked up a new take on its story. His latest title was released by Pen and Sword on 2nd March and covers the political side of the VC10's story. Amazon's page about this book is here, but please note that the reviews are actually about Lance's previous book and they have used an incorrect cover image. Hopefully Amazon will correct this before too long.
The press release for this new title is below, a full review for this title is here.
25 April 1928 – 4 March 2017
Well known for his flights in BAC 1-11 G-ASYD and Concorde, Roy Radford also captained the first flight of the K2 tanker variant of the VC10 on 22nd June 1982, together with John Lewis. Roy had been in the RAF since 1946 and flew both Valiants and Victors before taking an ETPS course and joining A&AEE at Boscombe Down. In 1964 Roy left the RAF and became a test pilot for BAC under Chief Test Pilot Brian Trubshaw. He captained two first flights for G-ASYD and became Chief Test Pilot himself in 1981. In 1985 he became the Flight Operations manager at Filton, a post that he held until his retirement in 1989. Roy Radford passed away on 4th March 2017, aged 88.
Open day for ZA150 at Dunsfold
Brooklands Museum, February 2017
On Saturday 11th March there will be an open day at Dunsfold Aerodrome for VC10 K3 tanker ZA150. The team that looks after the aircraft will conduct tours of the inside and will also perform a taxi run on the runway. Entry is by pre-booked ticket only, so visit the Brooklands Museum website if you want to get up close to this VC10.
Article about BOAC's VC10 orders
The Aviation Historian, 15 January 2017
Anyone interested in the political background of BOAC's VC10 orders might want to take a look at the latest issue of The Aviation Historian. In issue 18 of the quarterly magazine Professor Keith Hayward continues on from his previous articles on the Vickers 1000 and Hawker Siddeley Trident with a good look at the troubled process of the VC10's procurement. For the full story have a look at the back issues and get hold of issue 14 for the story about the Vickers 1000 and issue 16 for the story about the Hawker Siddeley Trident. The Aviation Historian is not available in the shops but only online as single issues or through a subscription. The editors have a lot of experience in aviation publishing and have combined forces to create a unique, high quality and different magazine that features articles that would not normally reach the regular high-street aviation magazines. See the link above for more info or to order your copy.