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Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:37 am
by davidbevis
Hello all, first time poster so please be gentle.

I've been directed to this website after doing some research into VC10's. Both my father and late uncle both flew VC10's as a pilot and Flight Engineer respectively. After many years flying commercially my retired father rekindled his love for the VC10 after seeing one at a Cold War Jets day at Bruntingthorpe. He has recently started research into the airframes that are still around and yours truly as been doing most of the leg work!

I would like to ask a few questions that I'm hoping some of your members can answer for my father.

- Who Owns the VC10 at Bruntingthorpe? It appears from my research that its a company called GJD but Ive also come across a group which appears to operate the aircraft. I would like to contact someone about it as I live reasonably close to the area.

- The VC10 that is at Dunsfold appears to be owned by Brooklands museum. However while I can find plenty of information regarding its arrival at Dunsfold and the role Lord Trefgarne played in getting the aircraft for the museum, I can find nothing on the Brooklands website about it, in fact it doesn't even appear on the list of their aircraft. My Father would like to if the museum own the aircraft and if so is it open to the public etc? He seems concerned that the museum have an aircraft which they are not acknowledging. I emailed and wrote to the museum last year but I've received no reply to date.

- He was most amazed by the move of the RAF VC10 from Bruntingthorpe to RAF Cosford but would love to know more on how it was done. I believe there is some very good information about it on Facebook but I don't use Facebook so is there anywhere else anyone could point me to please?

- How Many live aircraft are left? (I would like to see my research adds up!)

Thank you in advance for any help anyone could give me. Sorry if any of the questions are daft but I'm not aviation based and some of the questions may have been lost in translation between my father and me typing!!

Thanks again

Dave B

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:48 pm
by Jelle Hieminga
Hi Dave,

We're always gentle here, don't worry! I'll try to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge:
- The VC10 at Bruntingthorpe is owned by Gary Spoors, who runs GJD Services. Although this company has scrapped its share of VC10s, Gary is very much a VC10 enthusiast and is also involved in keeping ZA148 in Cornwall and has ensured that the front ends of XV108, XV106 and ZA149 will be preserved. Next to this his company has moved XR808 to Cosford. There are several volunteers helping out with keeping ZD241 alive and well but the aircraft is operated by GJD.
- ZA150 at Dunsfold is definitively owned by Brooklands. I don't know why the website is quiet about this but there is a team of Brooklands volunteers looking after the aircraft and keeping it in running order.
- XR808 was indeed moved to Cosford by road, the best information can be found here: Indeed this is a Facebook site but you do not need to be a member to visit this page and view the info and photos as far as I know. I am working on a page for my site about this move but that will take some more time I'm afraid.
- ZD241 at Bruntingthorpe and ZA150 at Dunsfold are live. That's all. Apart from ZA150 all the VC10s have had their engines removed after their final landing. ZD241 received the engines from ZA147 after that airframe's last landing and has been kept live since. ZA148 in Cornwall will receive a set of engines sometime this year but I do not know if that means that they will restore the airframe to live condition as well. Probably not.

Hope this helps.

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:44 pm
by davidbevis
Thank you very much, its answered a few of my questions and given me something to give to my father.

I've also had a very nice reply from one of the team members on ZD241 at Bruntingthorpe. Looking forward to a day out there soon

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:46 pm
by Jelle Hieminga
Hi Dave,

Glad we could help, enjoy Bruntingthorpe! If you've got more questions or need contact details please don't hesitate to post here.

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:28 pm
by davidbevis
I wonder if you could help me with some contact details for anyone who deals with the VC10 at Dunsfold? I've tried e mailing and phoning Brooklands musuem and I've just hit a brick wall with no answers. My Father has looked though his pilots log books and found he flew that jet during his time on 101 squadron. I would like to arrange a visit but sadly no one there seems interested.

Im hoping to visit Bruntingthorpe in March when the team there are doing some ground tests and here the sound of a vc10. Even though my father flew them I never took much notice as a young lad, we lived away from Brize Norton as my Father was a Victor pilot before hand. A other reason for visiting Bruntingthorpe as my Father reckons he's flown the Victor there.

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:26 pm
by Jelle Hieminga
Hi David, I've forwarded your question, I'm sure Paul will contact you soon.

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:42 pm
by davidbevis
Thank you very much.

My I also say what a wonderful website you have. I'll leant lots from it!

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:00 pm
by Johnnyc2

Sadly I would not hold out much hope of hearing from Brooklands museum. I myself have tried to get answers from Brooklands; including writing personally to the trustees but to no avail. The sad fact is they care very little for the VC10 at Dunsfold. Look at the facts

They do not list ZA150 on their website, bar one news story about it landing at Dunsfold in September 2013.

In the two and a half years they have had ZA150, it has only been open to the public a total of four days

Although a small team look after her regularly and I'm sure they do a great job, very little is ever said about it even though they have a Facebook page and the Brooklands website.

Numerous people have written to Brooklands but receieved no replies.

Apart fron a select few musuem workers/volunteers and their friends, it's never seen.

The musuem happily farm it out to production companies as a back drop and equally happy take the money to fund its main attractions

I could go on but the fact is you have more chance of seeing a VC10 that is privately owned at Bruntingthorpe then you will seeing one owned by a museum at Dunsfold. Quite frankly the Musuem should hang its head in shame.

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:52 pm
Hi David,

Should you or your father find yourselves in Cornwall, please come and see ZA148 preserved at the Cornwall Avaition Heritage Centre (situated at Cornwall Airport, Newquay) as I am sure he will have her in his log book too. Ok, I can't promise any Conway noise just yet but we are working on that !

ZA150 is in good hands and looked after by a small group of volunteers dedicated to her preservation. I believe the Dunsfold site is not generally open to the public sadly but it was the nearest open airfield to Brooklands at the time. I am sure that if they could have got 150 in to Brooklands, then they would have as access would be so much easier.

I am sorry but for the previous poster to say "....they care very little..." seems a little unfair to me. Keep trying I am sure they will be in contact soon.


Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:18 pm
by davidbevis
Thank you Chris

I will ask my Father to look in his log book to see if he flew ZA148, I would love to reunite him with one of his old steeds.

I'm not to sure on what the previous poster means but I'm not really up on what goes on with VC10s as this is a research project on behalf of my Father but I can see his point on Brooklands being hard to get hold of as I've experienced that myself.

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:15 am
by Johnnyc2
I'm sorry but that is the way I feel.

I have been asking questions to Brooklands now for over a year but to no reply . I wanted to know what the musuem were doing to preserve to military history of ZA150 yet I receieved no response. I asked on Facebook, I got no response. I even phoned and told someone would phone me back, but guess what, no one did!

The VC10 operation at Dunsfold appears to be a tight kit group who don't allow outsiders. They have never asked for volunteers to help and have no one on their team who has experience maintaining the VC10 in is military role. Unless you are an Licenced Aircraft Engineer known to them they are not interested. They no doubt do an excellent job of looking after her but surely the museum should be doing more to preserve the military side and get military experts involved in helping.

I'm currently waiting for the freedom of information request from the MoD to find out the deal that was struck between them and Brooklands. I was told that several senior museum wokers didn't want the VC10 as they knew it would be a burden but got overruled by the trustees.

I intend on making Brooklands and it trustees accountable for their efforts into ZA150.

Mind you Dunsfold will soon be houses and what will happen to ZA150 then?

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:19 pm
by Cap10
Wow, Jc2,

You certainly have some issues with Brooklands and their volunteers. re contacting the museum, have you tried emailing the curatorial team as I'm sure you will get an answer from them.The contact should be on their website. There is so much going on there with their Re-Engineering Brooklands project, I wouldn't be surprised if some messages didn't get through to the right person, that is why I suggest contacting the curatorial team. it is they after all who look after collections.

I do know the volunteer team at Dunsfold looking after ZA150, and it is not a closed shop.What happened initially was that Brooklands wanted a team of licensed or retired licensed engineers to look after 150, given that it is live. The team there now has at least four members who have past VC10 experience, and others, currently licensed or retired who have joined along the way. That does not make it a closed shop, but from knowing the team, I guess they have sufficient numbers for their needs, who knows?

Why is it detrimental not having previous military experience, the aircraft is no longer flying and the team are doing a great job keeping 150 live with limited resources. You obviously have a bias towards the military side, but what about the good old days in civilian service with East African Airways. A lot of people remember those days too!

Re the deal done with the MOD, i think you will find that there was no deal. It was to my understanding a commercial transaction whereby Brooklands paid the scrap value to keep the last ever VC10 produced from the scrap man.

Just my input, and I stand ready to be corrected if wrong. If only the world were perfect!

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:01 pm
by 1103
Hi Johnnyc2,

What do you mean by 'preserve the military history of ZA150'? It is still in RAF colours, it still has all the military equipment that wasn't removed by the MoD fitted. We have an information boards that tell the history of this particular airframe and at Wings & Wheels we have couple of military pilots - one still serving, the other now a civilian pilot who describe what the aircraft did and how it did it in the RAF. What more would you like to see? Tell us and we can see if it can be done.

The reason why the museum has never asked for volunteers is because people have come forward of their own volition. You claim that one had to be known to the museum before getting involved with 150. I wasn't known to the museum before I got involved. I was at Dunsfold to see 150 arrive and I saw the Museum curator and told him that the museum had to keep the aircraft live and I was willing to help. I supplied my Licence details to the museum so the museum was able to demonstrate to BAe & the MoD that they had volunteers who knew what they were doing and can work safely around a large live aircraft. The original plan after 150's arrival was to make it 'safe' like 148.

I sorry if I missed your FB post(s), if I had seen it I would have replied. You would be most welcome to join us on 150, just contact John Silver at the museum and sign up as a volunteer.

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:52 pm
by Johnnyc2
Thanks for the reply Paul

Sadly I have never felt compelled to volunteer as I found the whole set up unwelcoming. I never found anywhere asking for help, the whole licenced engineer thing put me off and the fact when I did contact the musuem I got no reply.

Can you tell me why the Brooklands website has nothing about ZA150 on it and what are the musuem doing to make ZA150 more accessible to the public?

I feel strongly about the military side as I spent 20 years on 101 Sqn including seeing J into service. She spent over 30 years in military service yet the musuem has nothing on the website about it?

With all due respect do you think showing ZA150 to the public for a total of 4 days over the last 2 and a half years is acceptable?

Re: Question on 'Live' VC10s

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:22 pm
by 1103
Hi Johnny,

Some questions for you - if you don't want to discuss publicly please PM me

What is unwelcoming about the set up? You have to go on the museums books for insurance purposes, for your protection as well as the museum's.

If the museum has steady supply of volunteers, we had about 3 new ones last year, including an ex-150 guy, why does the museum need to ask for help?

I'm sorry if you didn't receive a reply from the museum, but that is outside my remit as a volunteer.

The museum does now mention 150 on the VC10 page of the website (this was one of the 150 teams frustrations too). There should be news of more open days soon.

In answer to your final question - No, but once again, that is above my pay grade (£0.00)