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VC10 Books

All right, I confess. I didn't figure out all this stuff by myself. So where did I get all this information from? Well, there are some good books on sale that I can recommend, also I used some other publications such as magazines and brochures (I moved these to a separate page). The list below features some books that don't directly cover the VC10 story but do provide background information on Vickers, BAC, airlines that operated the VC10 or its ill-fated pre-decessor: the Vickers 1000. Many of these publications are still available through Amazon either from their own stock or through marketplace sellers. Alternatively sites like Ebay or Abebooks may also provide a copy at a competitive price.

I have now added several titles that are either memoirs by various crewmembers and other persons, or compilations of different stories from the VC10's era of aviation. The VC10 content is sometimes as little as a single story, or as much as in Gwyn Mullet's first book where he describes his training and experience on the type and a lot about the life of an airline pilot in those days.

No author is immune: errors do sometimes creep into books. I have produced some erratums for some of the specifically VC10 oriented titles, which can be printed and added to your copy. They are available below, with more to follow (when I can find the time of course).

Click below to skip to:
(Crew) memoirs

The aircraft:  

Flying the VC10

B.J. Hurren (1964), Wolfe Publishing Ltd.

Not available anymore, try Ebay or Abebooks


Jim Lucas (1970), V.H.F. Supplies.

Not available anymore, try Ebay or Abebooks

Airliners No.13 - BAC(Vickers) VC10

Jim Lucas (1976), Airline Publications & Sales Ltd, ISBN 090511714X

Not available anymore, try Ebay or Abebooks

Modern Civil Aircraft 1, Vickers VC10

Martin Hedley (1982), Ian Allen Ltd, ISBN 0 7110 1214 8

To print an erratum, click here to open the PDF.

Airlines & Airliners - VC10, Issue no. 2 - Summer 1993

Phil Lo Bao (1993), Aviation Data Centre.

To print an erratum, click here to open the PDF.

Not available anymore, try Ebay or Abebooks

Silent, Swift, Superb: The Story of the Vickers VC10

Scott Henderson (1998), Scoval Publishing, ISBN 1902236025

Vickers VC10

Lance Cole (2000), The Crowood Press, ISBN 1861262310

Vickers VC10: AEW, Pofflers and Other Unbuilt Variants: Project Tech Profile

Chris Gibson (2009), Blue Envoy Press, ISBN 0956195105

Vickers VC10 - Queen of the Sky

Peter R. Foster (2013),

Buy it now!

VC10, The Story of a Classic Jet Airliner, March 2015.

Stephen Skinner, Key Publishing Ltd.

To print an erratum, click here to open the PDF.

More a magazine than a book, but you could argue that, so I have included it in both lists.

Available from Key Publishing. (Probably sold out as it is not listed in the shop anymore)

Available as a digital download from PocketMags

Vickers/BAC VC10 Owner's Workshop Manual

Keith Wilson (2016), Haynes Publishing, ISBN 978 0 85733 799 3

Click here for a review of this book.

To print an erratum, click here to open the PDF.

The Incomparable Vickers VC10

Scott Henderson (2017), Scoval Publishing, ISBN 978 1 902236 15 5

Click here for a review of this book

To print an erratum, click here to open the PDF.

Buy from Scoval Publishing (Website appears to be down)

VC10 - Icon of the Skies

Lance Cole (2017), Pen and Sword books, ISBN 978 1 47387 532 6

Click here for a review of this book.

To print an erratum, click here to open the PDF.

Flight Craft 20: Vickers VC10 & Super VC10

Lance Cole (2020), Pen and Sword books, ISBN 978 1 52676 006 7

Click here for a review of this book.

To print an erratum, click here to open the PDF.

Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8 & Vickers VC10

Stewart Wilson (1998), Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, ISBN 1875671366

From Bouncing Bomb to Concorde, the authorized biography of Sir George Edwards

Robert Gardner (2006), Sutton Publishing Ltd, ISBN 978-0750943895

Test Pilot

Brian Trubshaw (1998), Sutton Publishing, ISBN 075092733

Of Comets and Queens: An Autobiography

Sir Basil Smallpeice (1981), Airlife Publishing, ISBN 0 906393 10 8

Fly Me, I'm Freddie!

Roger Eglin and Berry Ritchie (1980), George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd., ISBN 0 297 77746 7

LAKER: The Glory Years of Sir Freddie Laker

Ania Grzesik and Gregory Dix (2019), Recursive Publishing, ISBN 978 0 0056486 09

FREDDIE: The Second Coming of Sir Freddie Laker

Ania Grzesik and Gregory Dix (2021), Recursive Publishing, ISBN 978 0 9956486 30

or buy from: Recursive publishing

Vickers Against The Odds 1956/77

Harold Evans (1978), Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN 0340234342

British Aircraft Corporation - A History

Charles Gardner (1981), B.T. Batsford Ltd, ISBN 0713438150

Government and British Civil Aerospace

K. Hayward (1986), Manchester University Press, ISBN 0-71900-877-8

Not available anymore, try Ebay or Abebooks

Vickers Aircraft since 1908

C.F. Andrews & E.B. Morgan (1988), Putnam, ISBN 0-85177-815-1

British Aircraft Corporation - A History

Stephen Skinner (2012), The Crowood Press Ltd., ISBN 978-1-84797-318-4


Pictorial History of BOAC and Imperial Airways

Kenneth Munson (1970), Littlehampton Book Services Ltd, ISBN 0711001367

BOAC - An Illustrated History

Charles Woodley (2004), Tempus Publishing, ISBN 0752431617

Interesting book about the origins and routes of BOAC. Provides some background to the stories surrounding the VC10, and also scores some points with me by listing this site as a source of information. Has been reprinted since it was first published.

Speedbird - The Complete History of BOAC

Robin Higham (2013), I.B. Tauris, ISBN 978-1-78076-462-7

A long awaited book that was commissioned in 1960 but not published until 2013. As it was written very much from the boardroom's view this tome can be a bit dry at times, although it provides a very extensive overview of BOAC's complete history.

The British Overseas Airways Corporation: A History

Graham M. Simons (2019), Pen and Sword, ISBN 978-1473883574

A very comprehensive overview that is easy to read, but crams in a lot of detail. A lot of colour images including promotional material. The best overview of the BOAC history in my view.

BOAC and the Golden Age of Flying

Malcolm Turner (2019), Burnt Ash Publishing, ISBN 978-1916216105

A different way of presenting a book about BOAC: less text, mainly hits the highlights but does cover the special 'feel' of the jet-set era. Lots of images including many advertising posters and such. A coffee table book to browse through and enjoy reflecting on a time sadly gone. Very nice printing quality but a shame that some images are misproportioned or blurred.

Order from the publisher.


Wings Across The World - An Illustrated History of British Airways

Harald Penrose (1980), Cassell Ltd, ISBN 0304306975

British Airways: It's History, Aircraft and Liveries

Keith Gaskell (1999), The Crowood Press, ISBN 1840371420

The History of British Caledonian Airways

David Thaxter (2011), ISBN 978 0 9564043 2 9

Available through

East African - An Airline Story

Peter J. Davis (1994), Runnymede Malthouse Publishing, ISBN 0952304708

From Brooklands to Brize

Ian Macmillan & Richard King (2015), The 10 Squadron Association, ISBN 978 0 9934646 0 7

Click here for an erratum

Available through 10 Squadron Association. or

101 Squadron 90th Anniversary 1917 - 2007

Flt Lt Andy Brown & Sgt Graham Curtis (2007), Royal Air Force.

Not commercially available

101 Squadron Celebrating 95 Years 1917 - 2012

MACr Steve Taylor (2012), Air Media Centre, UK MOD.

Not commercially available

Wings over Thurleigh

Bedford Aeronautical Heritage Group, Michael Dobson et al (2012), ISBN 0-9541594-0-3

Available through

British Airliner Prototypes since 1945

Stephen Skinner (2008), Midland Publishing, ISBN 978-1857802993

Although obviously covering more than just the VC10, this book includes 9 pages about G-ARTA and G-ASGA. The book is lavishly illustrated with many full page colour photos.

RAF Brize Norton - Gateway to the World

Wilf Pereira (1993), Patrick Stephens Limited, ISBN 1-85260-436-0.

Wisley - The story of Vickers' own airfield

Stephen Skinner (2005), GMS Enterprises, ISBN 978-1904514305

This small booklet describes the history and significant events that took place at Wisley, Vickers' own flight test center.

To print an erratum, click here to open the PDF.

Project Canceled - The disaster of Britain's abandoned aircraft projects

Derek Wood (1986), Jane's Publishing, ISBN 0-7106-0441-6

As with the book below, this one is interesting for its coverage of the Vickers 1000/VC7 project.

Stuck on the Drawing Board - Unbuilt British Commercial Aircraft since 1945

Richard Payne (2004), Tempus Publishing, ISBN 0752431722

There is not much in here about the VC10 itself but the book does include the unbuilt models from the V1000 to the VC10, the VC11 and the unbuilt Super-Super VC10.

Aviation Archive: Aerial Tankers

Key Publishing (2019)

A 'bookazine' about aerial refuelling from Key Publishing. It provides a brief overview of the history and a two to three page per type listing of the various types that served in this role. Mostly a magazine special with large photographs (even some fold-outs).

Buy from Key Publishing

Air to Air Refueling Aircraft

Chris Gibson (2021), Key Publishing

A small 96 page softcover book that covers the history of air-to-air refuelling and a good overview of the various projects, tanker aircraft and significant milestones for these force multipliers. Although small in size, this is a serious book with lots of illustrations and a good coverage (amongst others) of the UK's tanker projects, including the VC10s. It helps that the author is a VC10 fan.

Buy from Key Publishing
(Crew) memoirs:  

Both Feet in the Air

Archie S. Jackson (1977), Terence Dalton Limited, ISBN 0-900963-73-5

Archie Jackson retired as a VC10 Captain in 1976, his autobiography describes his career and the changes in aviation over thirty-five years.

Life on the Airliners - The Remarkable 'Low-Down' on the High Life

Bob Price (1991), Brooks Books, ISBN 1-872706-06-1

A compilation of stories from civil aviation, including a great short story about some unruly passengers on a VC10 flight.

Can Anyone See Bermuda?: Memoirs of an Airline Pilot (1941-1976)

Archie S. Jackson (1997), Cirrus Associates, ISBN 978-0951559857

In 1997 Archie wrote a new book about his career, including some different anecdotes than those in his original autobiography.

A Truckie's Tale

Group Captain Harry Marshall, OBE DFC (1997), J&KH Publishing, ISBN 1900511967

Harry Marshall started as a navigator on Valettas, ending on VC10s with 10 Squadron between 1977-1979. He describes his experiences in this biography. Not a lot about his VC10 flying is included, but he covers the attempts to cut the defence budget in the 70s and how the VC10 managed to escape this.

Not available anymore, try Ebay or Abebooks


Denis G. Long (1999), CommAvia Publishers, ISBN 0-9529273-2-2

After a fifty-year career on the commercial side of the aviation business, Denis Long first wrote Long Odds and LongER Odds, continuing the theme with this title (more titles were to follow, I don't know if they were published). All books are compilations of various (mostly short) tales from civil aviation with the odd military tale and several cartoons thrown in.

Not available anymore, try Ebay or Abebooks

Chicken of Beef? Tales of an Air Steward

Jim Barham (2010), Pomegranate Press, ISBN 978-190724208-3

Jim applied to be an Air Steward in 1971, starting on VC10s. In this small book he describes several tales from his career.

Trust me I'm the Pilot

Baron de Tourtoulon (2012), FastPrint Publishing, ISBN 978-1780354323

Alan de Tourtoulon had a complicated relationship with the VC10, which he describes in more detail in 'The aircraft I didn't want to fly'. This book contains the longer version of this story and describes more of his career.

With My Head In The Clouds (part 1)

Gwyn Mullet (2013), Consilience Media, ISBN 978-0992643324

For part 2, click here (no VC10s but more about Gwyn's BA career). Sadly, he never got around to writing part 3. Part 1 is a very extensive look into Gwyn's early years and describes training for the VC10, both as a young co-pilot and later on as a Captain, in detail, as well as the life of a pilot. See here or here for some stories from this book.

Girl on a Plane

Miriam Moss (2015), Andersen Press, ISBN 978-1783443314

This is no crew memoir, but a fictionalised account of the three days that Miriam was held hostage in G-ASGN at Dawson's Field in 1970. Even though characters and conversations have been changed, it is a very impressive account of what the hostages experienced.

Looking Up at the Sky: My 50 years flying with the RAF 1960-2010

C.B. 'Sid' Adcock (2017), Woodfield Publishing, ISBN 978-1846831843

The long career described in this book includes a long association with the VC10s from 10 Squadron as a co-pilot, Captain, Flight Commander and lastly as the Commander of no.241 Operational Conversion Unit.

Collected Articles

Jeff Gray (2017), Independently published online

VC10 Captain Jeff Gray passed away in 2016 and his son Robert later found a complete autobiography and several articles that Jeff had written. The articles are available to download for free, the biography is available from Burnt Ash Publishing, see below. This collection includes 'Falling Leaves' about G-ARVE's test flight.

Available here.

Dancing the skies and falling with style

Calvin Shields (2019), Independently published, ISBN 978-1791332204

This book is part-fiction and part-biographical, the stories about the aircraft are real but the characters and some of the author's romantic involvements may be fictional. See here for a story from this book.

Forty-Seven Years Aloft: From Cold War Fighters and Flying the PM to Commercial Jets: A Pilot's Remarkable Story During the Golden Era of British Aviation

Brian Burdett (2019), Air World, ISBN 978-1526753038

Brian's career started in the RAF, ending up as one of the youngest four-jet Captains on the VC10, including VIP flights and display flying. After switching to civil aviation, he also flew VC10s for Gulf Air, ending up on the Virgin A340 before retirement.

A Cold War Fighter Pilot in Peace and War

Derek J. Sharp (2019), Fonthill Media, ISBN 978-1781557242

Although he started out as a fighter/attack pilot, Derek Sharp ended up with 10 Squadron as a senior instructor, as well as flying VIPs. His book contains several chapters about his VC10 career, mostly based on articles he wrote for in-house magazines.

A Concorde in my Toy Box: A Pilot's Career, from the School Glider to the Sound Barrier

Michael Riley (2019), Mereo Books, ISBN 978-1861519511

The story of Michael Riley's career, from gliding at 16 years old to the left seat of a Concorde carrying celebrities. Along the way he also flew both the 707s and VC10s at BOAC/BA.

It's Pull To Go Up

Jeff Gray (2020), Sunrise Publishing, ISBN 978-1916216174

Charles Jeffrey Gray completed a tour as a Lancaster Pilot during WWII and joined BOAC after the war. He ended up as a VC10 Captain, Instructor and Examiner, continuing to fly the type with Gulf Air after retirement. Jeff Gray passed away in 2016 but his son found this complete autobiography in his papers. He also wrote articles like 'Falling Leaves' about G-ARVE's test flight, see above.


Buy from Sunrise Publishing

Sky Talk

Philip Hogge (2020), Sunrise Publishing, ISBN 978-1916216150

Phil Hogge joined BOAC in 1962, starting on Britannias but he also flew the VC10, 707 and 747. He was chief pilot for both Boeing types, ending up as GM Flight Operational Services for British Airways before retiring. Phil has used his experiences as the basis for short stories that feature various events from his career, but using fictional characters. An example of his writing is here.


Buy from Sunrise Publishing

Ascot Airways: The Life and Times of a Royal Air Force Steward

Robert D. Whittingham (2021), Whittingham Publishing, ISBN 978-1919603025

Robert Whittingham has published a book about his career as a steward with No.10 Squadron, looking after the varied passengers on 'RAF Airlines'. One story that is in the book is his account of how he was part of the crew that rushed to Addis Ababa on XR808 to take the survivors and wounded from the 5X-UVA crash back to the UK, which is also on the RAFBF site here. There are lots of other stories included as well, such as one about a test flight on Concorde, or about the time when he approached Air Force One and heard "Stop, or I will shoot" and several anecdotes about looking after distinguished passengers.

Tailwinds & Teapots

Robert Thornton (2021), Independently published, ISBN 979-8710576359

Robert Thornton flew as a steward for BOAC and in this independently published book he recounts stories from the 70s, when he crewed on VC10s and spent his early twenties flying around the globe.

Fifty Six Years & Many Airlines Later

Bob Cooper (2021), Independently published

Bob Cooper worked for nineteen different airlines and maintenance organisations and in this independently published book he explains the challenges of maintaining the many different types he encountered, including the VC10.

May be available from

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