VC10s What they mean to me.

Any VC10 related discussions.....
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Jon Porter
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:25 pm

VC10s What they mean to me.

Post by Jon Porter »

Excuse the indulgence, but at least the members here will understand what I'm on about! Born in the 1950s, I grew up in Walton on Thames, just up the road from BAC Weybridge, and right under the flightpath from Heathrow. Our family noticed the first time the prototype VC10 went over, it took ages to coax the dog out of the understairs cupboard. She'd bark at 707s, Comets or Caravelles, but the VC10, that was loud! I was a member of the 9th Walton on Thames Air Scouts, and out troop leader was an engineer on the production line for the VC10 so we were fairly regular visitors to the factory. Between visits to Weybridge, cycle trips to the Queens Building at Heathrow and train trips to Gatwick and the Farnborough Airshow, by October 1970 I'd seen all the civilian VC10s and a few of the RAF C mk1s.

My Father took a new job and we moved to a village near Stamford in Lincolnshire so Harriers and Hunters became the new diet. However in 1973 we moved again, and from my bedroom window in the new house, at Carterton in Oxfordshire, I had a perfect view of the aircraft taking off from RAF Brize Norton. For a while I had a job on the airfield working at the cinema and bowling alley and those shiny 10s were a big part of my life alongside the Belfasts, Britannias and even the odd Comet. If we were showing a film and a VC10 was due to take off for a long distance flight, fully fuelled, the Tower would let us know in case the vibration shook the film from the spools. I even saw G-AXLR fly over Brize Norton on a couple of occasions, never saw it land, I'd have liked a picture of that one.

I moved away to work for the Police in 1977 but really missed those VC10s.

Whenever I visited my parents a walk round the perimeter path at BZN was compulsory. When BA started to withdraw their fleet I decided I had to get a flight on one. I wouldn't normally have flown to Bahrain but that was where the VC10 was going so that was where I was going, only it didn't! The VC10 went tech. at the gate and a few hours late my only trip to that country was courtesy of a BA Tristar! Should have used Gulf Air.

RAF Abingdon open day in 1990 brought it home that my chance of getting a flight on a VC10 was over, but one could see more of them flying over thanks to the RAF, and now I was living in Witney, so saw them every day, although in 1991 a little flare up in the Middle East made them rather rare for a while. Still with for Thames Valley Police, we often worked closely with the RAF Police at Brize Norton and in 1996 they needed some assistance with a charity event and we obliged. A few days later I receive a phone call asking what I was doing the next day. Nothing special was the reply, and that is how on a sunny October day in 1996 I ended up as one of ten guests of 101 Squadron flying in a VC10 K3 over the North Sea refuelling a succession of Tornadoes and Jaguars. I got through 14 rolls of film, and a fantastic chicken dinner eaten facing backwards in those few seats behind the cockpit.

Over 5 hours flying in a VC10, doing such work was more than I could ever have wished for.

The aircraft was 'F' ZA147.

I couldn't make it to Brize Norton or Bruntingthorpe for the goodbye, but if anyone plans on preserving that airframe, please let me know.

Gsxr600
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Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:19 pm

Re: VC10s What they mean to me.

Post by Gsxr600 »

What a great story, so nice you got to fly on a VC10 after all that time seeing them. Very jealous, I never lived anywhere near any interesting bases or airports, by the time I was old enough to drive to them, most of the best planes were in museums. At least Bruntingthorpe keeps them running so we can hear them roar at least.

VC10BAC
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Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:03 pm

Re: VC10s What they mean to me.

Post by VC10BAC »

Seconded, an epic story.

Here's mine, it may not span so many years, but it means an awful lot to me.

I had the opportunity to fly a BA Super VC10 only once, in 1979, I believe it was G-ASGH but I can't be 100% sure.
We were re-visiting Cyprus, ten years after my father' last posting. He bought tickets at a bucket shop just off Oxford Circus and we were off in Mid August 1979, destination - Larnaca.
We turned up at Heathrow for the late evening departure and were greeted by a Super VC10. We boarded and were delayed by a problem with one of the ovens.
A tech turned up and either made a repair or isolated the unit and then we were off - 45 minutes late.
I can remember the 10 taxi out and hold briefly at the end of the runway before a full dose of power being applied. The feeling of being pushed firmly back into the seat as we rapidly accelerated down the runway was incredible and has never been relived.
In no time we were airborne. The flight was quiet and non-eventful and we actually recovered the lost time and landed early!!!
I can remember leaving the aircraft, and at the top of the airstairs, watched the pair of conways spool down.
I flown many times, before and after the 10, but it was that trip and that plane that have always stood out.
It's something I've never have, and never will forget, truely awsome.
After two weeks holiday, I was so disappointed that our return trip was by Tristar and not a 10. :(

Outgoing flight: BA584 seat 8F (boarding card retained).
Last edited by VC10BAC on Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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VC10BAC

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vololiberista
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Location: LIMZ - CUF

Re: VC10s What they mean to me.

Post by vololiberista »

Yes, the flights I made to the middle East to visit my parents in the 70's were all memorable. Especially being already hundreds of feet in the air when passing the old control tower at Heathrow. I did have an old transparency of that. Lost now I think.
vololiberista

Rover75
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Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:30 pm

Re: VC10s What they mean to me. 43 years ago today.....

Post by Rover75 »

43 years ago today I flew on a BOAC Super VC10 charter flight, I have flown on aircraft such as the Lockheed Super Constellation, Comet, Viscount, Vanguard, Trident, Caravelle, TU134, Cessna 172, Tomahawk, microlight, RAF Glider and DeHavilland Rapide, various Boeing and DHC things recently, but the one that was my fondest was the Super VC10, glad to say the particular aircraft still exists at Duxford.
I still have my ticket.....
Image
Image

The flight departed Heathrow on the 29th September 1969 at 17.30 hrs, exactly 44 years ago.

Cheers

Mike

Jon Porter
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:25 pm

Re: VC10s What they mean to me.

Post by Jon Porter »

ZA147.jpg

ZA147 preparing to refuel the VC10 the photographer is on and is over the North Sea. This picture is courtesy of Richard Lever, formerly a RAF VC10 Engineer, who now works for the same company I do. Since leaving the police I have spent over 12 years on the railway within a rolling stock engineering arm for a train operating company.

A former press officer for our company was Lance Cole, who wrote an excellent book about the VC10 .

Richard also showed me some excellent shots from a major deployment of VC10s that went around the World taking in South America, Asia and even an airfield 'somewhere' where the VC10s shared the ramp with several IL62s.

The 'toolkit' carried in the bellies of the VC10s was quite extensive as the deployment with a flight of Tornadoes were going to some fairly austere locations and the ability of the support crews was often tested when aircraft tasking was changed. So for example an aircraft on deployment in Nevada or Alberta could suddenly find itself crossing the Pacific to go to Singapore at short notice to replace a Tech. Tristar or VC10 on another exercise. The support crew, expecting to go back home to Oxfordshire had to go along as well.

Another little fact, that I hasten to add was learned from a 101 Squadron pilot who is sadly no longer with us, was the VC10 K3's "Spy" role. ZA147 in fact was one of the aircraft used for this. Under the nose there is an attachment for a small pod. The endurance of the VC10 K3 with all it's internal tanks was vital for the role and let's just say we learned a lot about some potential foes as a result. I have a picture of 147 with this pod attached, but will not post it as this is likely still in use, albeit on another platform.

petet16
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Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:09 pm

Re: VC10s What they mean to me.

Post by petet16 »

The pods we used fitted on the wing pylons.

It's secondary role scored me 3.5 weeks in Hawaii, it was hell honestly :lol:

Jon Porter
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:25 pm

Re: VC10s What they mean to me.

Post by Jon Porter »

petet16 wrote:The pods we used fitted on the wing pylons.

It's secondary role scored me 3.5 weeks in Hawaii, it was hell honestly :lol:

The wing mounted pods are mentioned on an enthusiast website in Japan where a VC10 was regularly stationed in 2006/07 to monitor North Korea. The pod I saw on the nose of ZA147 was in 1996, when it was due to deploy to Malaysia for a similar purpose but involving a different country with a penchant for exploding nuclear weapons.

Stewart
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Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:11 pm

Re: VC10s What they mean to me.

Post by Stewart »

I never flew on a VC-10, something I find a little ironic. G-ASGN was blown up on my first birthday and my father flew them from 1964 - 1977 however it was not till '76 I went for my first holiday abroad to Los Angeles and we went on an Air New Zealand DC-10 and returned on the same AC, next year dad was on 747s and all out trips were on those (in fact we went of the first BA 747 into Sydney that year). I do remember sometime in '75 or '76 going to Heathrow and looking round one in the hanger there and that remains the only time I ever stood in one i could not tell you which one it was, I also remember looking out of the cockpit and seeing a pair of Hawker Hurricane wings against the back wall. I do have a twisted bit of a wingtip, which was damaged on the steps at Baghdad airport, I have yet to get the full story on that one

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