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C/n 801/2 - Test Specimen
C/n 803 - G-ARTA
C/n 804 - G-ARVA - 5N-ABD
C/n 805 - G-ARVB
C/n 806 - G-ARVC - ZA144
C/n 807 - G-ARVE
C/n 808 - G-ARVF
C/n 809 - G-ARVG - ZA141
C/n 810 - G-ARVH
C/n 811 - G-ARVI - ZA142
C/n 812 - G-ARVJ - ZD493
C/n 813 - G-ARVK - ZA143
C/n 814 - G-ARVL - ZA140
C/n 815 - G-ARVM
C/n 819 - G-ASIW - 7Q-YKH
C/n 820 - G-ASIX - A4O-AB
C/n 823 - 9G-ABO
C/n 824 - 9G-ABP
C/n 825 - G-ATDJ - XX914
C/n 826 - XR806
C/n 827 - XR807
C/n 828 - XR808
C/n 829 - XR809
C/n 830 - XR810
C/n 831 - XV101
C/n 832 - XV102
C/n 833 - XV103
C/n 834 - XV104
C/n 835 - XV105
C/n 836 - XV106
C/n 837 - XV107
C/n 838 - XV108
C/n 839 - XV109
C/n 851 - G-ASGA - ZD230
C/n 852 - G-ASGB
C/n 853 - G-ASGC
C/n 854 - G-ASGD
C/n 855 - G-ASGE
C/n 856 - G-ASGF
C/n 857 - G-ASGG - ZD235
C/n 858 - G-ASGH
C/n 859 - G-ASGI
C/n 860 - G-ASGJ
C/n 861 - G-ASGK
C/n 862 - G-ASGL - ZD240
C/n 863 - G-ASGM - ZD241
C/n 864 - G-ASGN
C/n 865 - G-ASGO
C/n 866 - G-ASGP - ZD242
C/n 867 - G-ASGR
C/n 881 - 5X-UVA
C/n 882 - 5H-MMT - ZA147
C/n 883 - 5Y-ADA - ZA148
C/n 884 - 5X-UVJ - ZA149
C/n 885 - 5H-MOG - ZA150

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C/n 814 - G-ARVL - A4O-VL - ZA140


16 January 1963 Registered as G-ARVL to BOAC. On the registration document the c/n 813 was initially listed but this was corrected to 814.
2 June 1964 First flight.
16 June 1964 Delivery to BOAC as G-ARVL.
1 February 1965 HM The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh travel to Addis Ababa for a state visit to Ethiopia. First Royal flight on a VC10.
31 July 1968 Incident at Lagos, due to bad weather and a no.3 engine shutdown the VC10 diverted to Accra. The experimental carbon fibre compressor blades were found to be shredded due to the heavy rain.
25 March 1974 Ownership transferred to Gulf Aviation Company Limited.
7 October 1975 Re-registered as A4O-VL in Oman.
December 1977 Leased to Air Ceylon.
Early 1978 End of service with Gulf Air/Air Ceylon. Initially sold to Dismore Aviation.
3 April 1978 Sold to RAF for conversion to type 1112 K2 tanker. Ferried Heathrow to Filton on this date.
25 June 1983 First flight after conversion at Filton.
25 July 1983 Delivery to 101 Squadron as ZA140 'A'. First tanker to be delivered.
1991 Acquired 'The Empire Strikes Back' nose art during its Gulf War service, along with an impressive mission tally.
21 June 1991 Took part in the joint service OP GRANBY flypast as the lead aircraft of the second element of the fixed wing formation of the Second Element. Due to low cloud part of the flypast, including the Second Element, had to be canceled and ZA140 returned to Brize. Carried commemorative covers.
May 2000 Withdrawn from service, final flight to RAF St. Athan.
March 2001 Scrapped at St. Athan.


Photo B. Wright

Photo copyright by RuthAS (Own Work) via Wikimedia Commons

Photo John Thmpson Group / collection J. Hieminga

Flightpath Postcards / Carl McQuaide

1. A shiny new G-ARVL at Heathrow in its delivery scheme.
2. This bright image shows G-ARVL in the first BOAC Golden Speedbird scheme and with Nigeria Airways stickers at Ikeja airport, Lagos in 1969. It may have carried the old BOAC white striped livery during construction but this was changed before its first flight.
3. This is a promotional photo for the Thompson Refueller, but it shows G-ARVL in the background with Air Ceylon stickers on the doors.
4. By December 1969, when this photo was taken at Manchester Airport, 'VL had been repainted in the second version of the BOAC scheme.

Photo Ray Pettit via

Photo via D. Williams

Photo Peter Keating collection

Photo collection F. van Vliet

1. Ownership of the aircraft was transferred to Gulf Aviation Company Ltd. but in effect the VC10s were still owned by BA and kept their British registrations.
2. In October 1975 the aircraft was re-registered as A4O-VL in Oman.
3. 'VL was one of two Gulf Air VC10s (the other one being 'VI) to receive the modern 'Golden Falcon' scheme.
4. A4O-VL with Air Ceylon titles taxiing past Omani A4O-AB at Heathrow. The aircraft was leased to Air Ceylon between December 1977 and January 1978.

Photo collection J. Hieminga via R. Thurston

Photo via Aviation Photography of Miami collection

Photo copyright BAE Systems / Brooklands Museum archives

Photo copyright BAE Systems / Brooklands Museum archives

1. A4O-VL was stored at Filton next to the ex-EAA fleet.
2. A4O-VL was still carrying Gulf Air colours but also wearing the Air Ceylon titles.
3. ZA140, ex-A4O-VL, is seen here in front while being converted to a K2 tanker. The next airframe behind it is a K3 with another K3 in the rear left corner.
4. The hole in the roof that had to be cut to get the extra fuel cells inside is clearly visible in these images.

Photo copyright BAE Systems / collection J. Hieminga

Photo copyright BAE Systems / collection J. Hieminga

Photo collection J. Hieminga via C. Knott

Photo collection J. Hieminga via C. Knott

1. The official handing over ceremony for the first VC10 tanker took place in a hangar at Filton.
2. As can be seen on this photo, a large group was present for the occasion. It also appears that a particular painting was involved, I wonder which one.
3. On 25th July 1983, a shining ZA140 is at seen at Brize Norton for the first time.
4. Although ZA141 had been the first to fly, ZA140 became the first tanker to be delivered, and turned up in the new hemp colours, contrasting with the white over grey 10 Squadron VC10s.

Photo collection J. Hieminga via C. Knott

Photo Crown Copyright

Photo collection J. Hieminga via R. Thurston

Photo collection J. Hieminga

1. The handover at Brize involved 101 Squadron crewmembers doing the honours.
2. Not until the aircraft was on the Squadron's strength was the letter 'A' applied.
3. ZA140 had the highest construction number of the five K2s but the RAF registrations were not allocated in sequence.
4. During the first Gulf War in 1991 ZA140 also acquired 'The Empire Strikes Back' nose art next to a BP logo. The logo referred to the squadron's radio callsign.

Photo collection J. Hieminga

Photo collection J. Hieminga via C. Knott

Photo collection J. Hieminga via R. Thurston

Photo Peter R. Foster

1. It is also obvious that the colourscheme has suffered somewhat during the missions that ZA140 carried out.
2. ZA140 was the only K2 to carry mission markings and ended up with 43 markings.
3. ZA140 is seen here with openings taped over, in temporary storage.
4. During the last years of its RAF service ZA140 was repainted in the modern grey colours of 101 Squadron.


G-ARVL can be seen in the background during the first part of this footage of HM The Queen arriving in Ethiopia.


Vickers /BOAC BOAC scheme of white over grey fuselage, dark-blue cheatline and fin with two white bands over fin.
BOAC First version of BOAC 'Golden Speedbird' scheme with stepped, gold-edged dark-blue cheatline. Grey lower fuselage and white upper fuselage. Dark-blue fin with gold speedbird logo.
BOAC Second version of BOAC 'Golden Speedbird' scheme, golden edge on cheatline removed and cheatline now arcs smoothly down towards the nose without the step of the previous scheme.
BOAC/BA As above but with British Airways titles on the forward fuselage.
GA Gulf Air VC10 scheme, overall white with a large red, purple and green cheatline flowing from nose to fin. Gulf Air titles on forward fuselage.
GA Gulf Air 'Golden Falcon' scheme. Overall white with scalloped purple, green and red lines flowing from nose to halfway down the fuselage. Same colours on top of fin with large golden falcon image below it. 'Gulf Air' in gold western and arabic script on fuselage top.
AC Same as above but with 'Air Ceylon' titles on forward fuselage.
RAF First RAF 101 Sqn 'Hemp' scheme. Grey undersides with hemp colours on top and fuselage sides. Toned down markings and large letter on fin. In 1991 a BP logo and the text 'The Empire Strikes Back' was added to the nose in front of the crew entry door along with 43 mission markings.
RAF All over grey scheme with large lightning flash down the side of the fuselage. Toned down roundels and fin flashes, code letter on fin.

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