Vickers-built 707s etc...

Any VC10 related discussions.....
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petet16
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Vickers-built 707s etc...

Post by petet16 »

Bill1980 wrote:I pointed out that although the MD of BOAC once suggested to Sir George Edwards that he should build 707s under licence at Weybridge instead of designing a new aircraft (true story!) it was no excuse to put Boeing windows on their model :lol:
No doubt that would've been Guthrie's suggestion :lol:

Bill1980
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Re: Airfix Survey

Post by Bill1980 »

It was one of his forerunners, the splendidly named Sir Basil Smallpeice :lol:

petet16
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Re: Airfix Survey

Post by petet16 »

Step forward Sir Basil :)

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Bill1980
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Re: Airfix Survey

Post by Bill1980 »

The very same bean counter! Knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. I think we need a VC10 Villains Gallery on the forum :lol:

Ironically, after being given the Order of the Boot by BOAC, he went to work for Cunard. Which was then in dire straits- because of the competition from airlines #-o

Jelle Hieminga
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Re: Airfix Survey

Post by Jelle Hieminga »

I'm not sure that it was Smallpiece who was the villain here. At that point in time the 707 was the best looking option for BOAC, the VC10 was only an idea in the designer's mind. First the pressure was on to get an airliner built in Britain, then it became political pressure to buy the VC10. The way I see it, the top of BOAC was just along for the ride then.
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Bill1980
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Re: Airfix Survey

Post by Bill1980 »

His book, Of Comets and Queens, was quite revealing. BOAC had suffered various problems with indigenous aircraft designs (e.g. the Hermes, Britannia and Comet) and perhaps found off the shelf American products a more practical solution. Also, the Government was entitled to a hefty dividend from BOAC whether it made money or not.

I would say that out of BS and Giles Guthrie, the latter was more culpable, as of course the manufacturer was already committed to production when BOAC tried to wriggle out of their commitments (there was a debate in Parliament recorded in Hansard) and then scuppered export opportunities by leaking information about the aircraft's fuel economy.

I was interested to learn that Tarom, the Romanian state airline, had expressed interest in the VC10. I had a couple of flights in their IL-62 at the age of ten and even then, wished it was a VC10. If only history had taken a different turn, I might have hadcmy wish...

My apologies for digressing from the Airfix thread :roll:

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Vickers-built 707s etc...

Post by Jelle Hieminga »

In the Airfix survey thread we've gone a bit off topic after this post:
Bill1980 wrote:I have to admit I'm too lazy to build kits nowadays and I clicked on the Corgi, rather than Airfix, option. I did build a 1960s Airfix kit many years ago and as I remember, it's only really good as a model of the prototype. If they retooled it to a good standard (preferably in 1:72 scale) I might be tempted!

My request was for a 1/144 die cast model of the Super with the doors in the right place and the right size, with correct windows. I pointed out that although the MD of BOAC once suggested to Sir George Edwards that he should build 707s under licence at Weybridge instead of designing a new aircraft (true story!) it was no excuse to put Boeing windows on their model :lol:

Bill
I've split off these posts from the Airfix thread as I felt the subject deserved its own thread.

Sir Basil's autobiography gives a very good insight into what BOAC was planning to do around the late 50s and early 60s. As I mentioned there was no design available to them that suited their needs, other than the 707, so the suggestion to buy these was not a strange thought. In the political arena there was a very strong desire to spend BOAC's money (which wasn't really their own, but I digress) within the UK and this led to the suggestion that Vickers build a 'British 707'. One of the main political figures involved in this represented the area in Surrey where Vickers was located and therefore he was very much in favour of having them build BOAC's next airliner.

There were several ideas floating around at the time, it has been suggested that BOAC's chief engineer Beverly Shenstone was involved in pushing the idea of the T-tailed, rear-engined model. Also there were political figures who very much suggested that Britain should not just copy an American design, but should create a new design that was all-British. Then we also have Sir George Edwards and the design team at Weybridge who had been working on new designs since the Vanguard and integrated the needs of BOAC for an 'Empire airliner', the suggestions of Shenstone and their own ideas into the design we now know as the VC10. Political pressure on BOAC, specifically Gerard (later Sir Gerard) d'Erlanger, did the rest. In his book Smallpeice mentions that he was absent during both contract signings by d'Erlanger and therefore unable to influence his decision, even though he specifically advised against it. This does sound a bit like being 'conveniently absent' to me. Smallpeice was probably under the same pressure as d'Erlanger but tried to distance himself from it, but that's just my interpretation of the facts.

For an overview of the characters and events:
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Bill1980
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Re: Vickers-built 707s etc...

Post by Bill1980 »

An excellent analysis, Jelle =D>

I have yet to read Speedbird, the history of BOAC, but I think that will now be the book in my Christmas survival kit :lol:

Bill.

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Re: Vickers-built 707s etc...

Post by Jelle Hieminga »

I've read about 80% of it by now and although it can get a bit dry, it does chronicle the entire BOAC history very well. Higham does stay pretty close to the boardroom in his viewpoint and he tells the VC10 story in much the same way as Smallpeice did.
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vololiberista
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Re: Vickers-built 707s etc...

Post by vololiberista »

Guthrie in my was the real criminal. He demeaned the VC10 at every opportunity. Even while being interviewed on the flight deck!

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