Royal Air Force VC 10

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Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by somersid » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:42 pm

Hello there,

I only stumbled across this website by accident while messing about but once I saw it I felt compelled by the subject to put my pennies worth in.

This a mighty nostalgia trip for me seeing these aircraft.

My Dad was in the Royal Navy and we were stationed at the Royal Navy Aircraft Holding unit at R.A.F. Changi in Singapore.

I remember both the civilian and R.A.F. versions of the VC10's flying in and out of Paya Leba airport and R.A.F. Changi with awe and bewilderment. Can you imagine my delight as a 5 year old boy when on our return to the UK in 1967 when I saw what aircraft the R.A.F. were fly us back in!

Royal Air Force VC10 no 108 of the Royal Air Force Transport Command.

All the passenger seats faced the rear of the plane. There was bags of space between seats and in the isle. The R.A.F. did not cram its passengers in quite like the civilian carriers.

We took off from R.A.F. Tenga and we made a refuelling stop on the Indian Ocean island of GAN in the middle of the night. For those of you who don't know Gan was a tiny R.A.F. refuelling station in the middle of nowehere where the single small runway literally runs from the beach at one end of the island to the beach at other end. Just the sort of landing constrictions the VC10 was designed for.

We flew onto R.A.F. Akrotiri on Cyprus before landing at Lyneham on a cold October day. My Dad and my younger brother walked out onto the apron where the aircraft had been chocked up
just to gaze up at the beast we had flown across the world in.

The flight was sooooo comfortable and the service provided by the R.A.F. would make all civilian operators shrink in shame and disgrace. (I've flown enough of them to know).

The VC10 has got to be the most graceful of any aircraft of the modern era when you see one in flight or just parked on the tarmac.

I hope that at least one of these beautiful aeroplanes remains in tact and airworthy as a testament to the once great British aircraft industry. Awsome.

Ian, Helston, Cornwall. --+0+--

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Re: Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by Tonkenna » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:35 pm

Well Ian she is indeed an elegant old lady who has kept her looks and there are certainly plans to keep one or two intact when she retires in a few years time, but sadly there is little chance of keeping one airworthy I am afraid... still, there is still time to see the old girl in here element.

Can't find an Air-to-air shot of 108, but here is one from a couple of years ago at Brize:


Tonks 8)
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Re: Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by somersid » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:21 pm

Thanks for the picture Tonks, it brings a tear to the eye.

Ian, --+0+--

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Re: Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by Charlie » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:32 pm

I spent most of last month in 108 - including my longest VC10 trip. Apart from the usual niggles of a jet in her "late middle age", she was generally very well behaved indeed. :D

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Re: Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by AJW » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:51 pm

Its good to hear 108 is still doing well! She has a particularly special meaning to our family! Would be nice to see her stay in a museum when the RAF have finished with her!

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Re: Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by rockinrobbie » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:55 am

New to the site, spotted your point about recently working your longest VC10 trip, I might have something to offer, pull up a sandbag and make yourself comfie.............. In the early days of No. Ten Sqn operating the VC10, the Squadron undertook 'globals' as part of crew training. We left McChord USAFB (Seattle Washington State)and worked direct back to Brize flying over the North Pole this was using XV102 departing McChord on the 20th June 1978, flying time 8 hours 45 minutes...............( no inflight re-fuelling in those days) it was mid summer, so of course the North pole was in constant daylight all 'day' flying. Thanks for the item, brought back a few memories for me. best wishes Robert ( taff ) Clarke - 10 Sqn Air Steward 1974 - 1979.

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Re: Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by harryl » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:26 pm

Rockinrobbie refers to long distance flight by VC10. For me the ultimate was in July 1968 SFO to Brize, as I recall (without digging out my log book) 10 hours 45 minutes duration and pretty close to the aircraft's max range - payload was minimal, tanks brimmed before departure and we landed with a little over 20,000lb fuel remaining.

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Re: Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by Laurieg » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:12 pm

Not the longest on record, I know but the longest single leg I did was Niarobi to Lisbon with, funny enough, 108, (9:25). Accompanied on that trip with Steve Mills and crewed with Paul Delahunt-Rimmer and Jerry Herman. Seemed a lot longer though, if any of you have been on a VIP you will know how little room us operators had!!!

On another note, my shortest flight time was 10 minutes! (And I got a night stop in downtown Calne) =D>
Never had a GE's wallet. It was always empty when I got back but I always had a smile on my face :-)

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Re: Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by ICM » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:34 pm

As rain has seriously stopped play here today, I thought I'd get my logbook out and see whether I could add anything to the XV108 entries up above. My longest trip in her was nothing terribly special: a 8hr 10mins Bahrain - Prestwick leg, after a diversion caused by BZN and presumably most everywhere else down south being out with weather.

Much more interesting were the two shortest legs: Brize - Heathrow - Brize, in early July 1976, when I was on the crew positioning 108 as the spare aircraft for the first Royal task that 10 Sqn had undertaken in some years. HM The Queen was going to the USA for the US Bicentennial celebrations, starting with a flight to from Heathrow to Bermuda to join HMY Britannia, sail up to the US East Coast, and rejoin the VC10 for various internal legs. We followed the primary aircraft to LHR, parked out of sight amongst the southside freight hangars, took on fuel for Bermuda just in case, and listened-in on the radio. In due course we heard the co-pilot request start-up and clearance ..... to be told that ATC had no flight plan for them. Of all the flight plans submitted that morning to BA operations, they had failed to file that for Her Majesty! Just a moment later, John Redding, the Captain, came on the air, calm and considered, to say that with his passenger now on board there was no question of his delaying, that he would start and proceed to the holding point, by which stage he would need take-off clearance and a departure clearance of some kind, if necessary with an immediate handover to RAF radar down towards Lands End, so that Oceanic clearance could catch up with him en-route. And sure enough, about 2 minutes later we caught a glimpse between hangars of his aircraft taxying at a good pace, with the Royal Standard flying from the peri-sextant mounting, and off they went. With the primary aircraft now safely away, back on 108 we needed to de-fuel, as we were vastly overweight for the return to Brize Norton .... and, in the end, that meant a wait of several hours before some empty tankers could be provided. It was a hot day, in that very hot summer of 76, and I guess that HM was at least halfway to Bermuda before we finally got back to Brize late that afternoon.
Ian Macmillan

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Re: Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by harryl » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:31 pm

Thanks Ian for the memory of that (previously unknown, to me anyway) ATC cock-up at LHR involving the 1976 Royal flight, a potentially very awkward situation so well handled by the captain - but then JR was the consummate professional, a most modest man who set a standard to which most others could only aspire.

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Re: Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by Richard Moss » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:18 pm

My longest single sector was 9hrs 35mins from Las Vegas to Brize. My shortest was 9 minutes from Boscombe to Brize - real extremes.

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Re: Royal Air Force VC 10

Post by dennis » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:47 pm

I did the same Singapore - Brize run in 1969 aged 9 :P

My Dad was station at RAF Seletar from 1966.

And Uncle Fred was the nav & OC flt - Much time was spent up the front --+0+--

I parked up for 10 mins in the right seat of a VC10 at RIAT this triggered a lot of happy childhood memories....

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