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5Y-ADA [ZA148] Retires to the seaside...A tribute

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:02 am
by vc10boy
Great news to hear 5Y-ADA is to be preserved properly undercover after 39 years of service..Her first flight was on 21.1.1967 and delivered ten days later to East African Airways,repossessed by BAe on the 1.5.1977 she flew for 10 years with EAA.She was ferried back to filton on the 31.5.1977 and sold to the RAF as ZA148,stored and then converted to type1164k mk3 tanker and delivered to 101 Squadron in May 1985 the letter J on the fin.

A Story About her in EAA Sevice quoted from Scott Henderson,s excellent book on the vc10...silent swift and superb...

On the night of 30th May 1967 5Y-ADA was preparing to leave Bombay for the return flight to Nairobi.The flight engineer reported to captain Brurumby that that he did not feel very well and was suffering from a stomach bug. Brumby was not keen to delay in Bombay, and persuaded the ailing crew member to join the flight back in Kenya, assuring him he would keep an eye on him. Thunder and lightening accompanied a severe tropical storm as 5Y-ADA departed from Bombay that night. As the aircraft climbed past 10,000 feet the engineer was overcome with stomach pain and told the captain he was leaving to visit the toilet. He informed Brumby that he was "leaving his panel safe" which he understood to mean that all the fuel booster pumps were on. The plane had reached about 15,000 feet when a horn sounded and Brumby noticed that the power on all four engines had decreased rapidly. Unable to maintain height, the aircraft adopted a decent attitude to maintain airspeed. All four engines had stopped but on generator remained online.

Brumby shouted for the engineer and the purser relayed the message to the toilet stricken crew member. By now, the aircraft was gliding at a high rate of of decent towards the Indian Ocean until the engineer returned to his seat and managed to relight all four engines one by one. The aircraft returned to level flight and soon regained the lost altitude. Only one passenger had noticed anything had happened and he asked the purser why the engines had stopped. He did not believe it was simply a technical hitch and demanded a large scotch on the house.

The flight continued normally and after a transit stop at Karachi 5Y-ADA headed for home. On arrival at Nairobi, the crew explained that they had run into icing conditions which had flamed out the engines but they did not explain why they had not grounded the airplane at Karachi. Icing had never been known to do this to an aircraft and word soon got around Rolls Royce and BAC who were all keen to find out more. EAA conducted their own tests when they flew a VC-10 up to 30,000 feet with the booster pump switched off on one engine. The engine flamed out at 26,000 feet somewhat higher than had occurred on the flight from Bombay to Karachi. Rolls Royce used an engine test bed to simulate heavy icing and the engine continued to operate till it finally exploded.

Non of the parties involved were satisfied with the crew's story but the crew kept to it for fear of repercussions. It is certainly clear that the incident, had it become public knowledge, would have seriously damaged EAA's reputation. The passage of time still suggests that "finger trouble" was the cause of the flame out. What remains unclear is whether the mistake was made during the pre-flight checks or immediately prior to the engineers departure from the flight deck shortly after take off. The aircraft was most probably re-fueled sometime before leaving Bombay. Given the heat and ability of kerosene to soak up water, it is plausible that several gallons of water had collected in the bottom of the fuel tanks. If a fuel drain check was not carried out prior to take off, and the engineer switched off the booster pumps prior to leaving the flight deck, the water from the bottom of the tanks would have been pumped through the cross feed system into the engines. In such a scenario, all four engines would have been extinguished at the same time.

happy retirment 5Y-ADA [The Black ADA] from vc10boy and jo my partner who typed this \:D/ \:D/..jelle..maybe copy this to the incidents page?

Re: 5Y-ADA [ZA148] Retires to the seaside...A tribute

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:11 pm
by Jelle Hieminga
I'll certainly add it to the Incidents page! It's a story with several twists though, for starters there are a few more details in 'East African: An Airline Story', with a conclusion that a combination of 'finger trouble' (the FE probably switched the Cross-feeds ON instead of the Booster Pumps when he left his seat) and water in the fuel may have been the cause of this. Scott Henderson has condensed the story a bit in the retelling. He leaves the conclusion fairly open, while Peter Davis' EAA book is somewhat more certain in stating the reasons behind it.

I've been told a similar story once but in that instance the FE had a different reason for 'forgetting' his switches. It is also reminiscent of G-ASGL's fuel starvation incident (see here: ... ent%201974) which occurred seven years later.

Anyway, 5Y-ADA lived to tell the tale and continue her career in the RAF!

Re: 5Y-ADA [ZA148] Retires to the seaside...A tribute

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:45 am
by vc10boy
hi Jelle,will you make it to Brize for the last ever photo shoot of a super tanker?,anyone know which aircraft it will be?,i so hope the rumours are correct and the last 3 EAA supers can all be saved?..altho sad times re the retirement its also great times for your vc10 enthusiast as with luck quite a few will be saved and if they are kept under cover with there systems kept alive and well looked after,then who knows what might happen in the distant future?,i suppose my dream would be that one of these airframes would be converted back to East African Airways colors,then the interior converted back to the splendor of thoes times..after all EAA HAD THE ULTIMATE SUPER VC10...and if i had my pick it would by ex 5H-MOG the last one ever made in would be fitting if she made the last flight as well being the last vc10 out of Brooklands.

Re: 5Y-ADA [ZA148] Retires to the seaside...A tribute

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:24 am
by Squawk1177
If rumours regarding the fates of the remaining three airplanes are correct it will more than likely be ZA150 for the photocall - fittingly the last VC-10 built.


Re: 5Y-ADA [ZA148] Retires to the seaside...A tribute

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:11 am
by vc10boy
The last of the many.... :-({|= :-({|=

Re: 5Y-ADA [ZA148] Retires to the seaside...A tribute

Posted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:14 pm
by Jelle Hieminga
Hi VC10boy, the story is now online here: ... starvation