Dear reader, please bear in mind that news about VC10s is sparse. I don't expect many news items, on the other hand... you never can tell, so be sure to check frequently. For the latest news please keep an eye on the VC10 forum and the A Little VC10derness Facebook page as items of interest sometimes turn up at these locations first, before these pages are updated.
Something's different about this VC10
Bruntingthorpe, 3 December 2013
It's not yet Christmas but in a sort of silly season spirit here's a photo of a VC10 with something new. Answers on a postcard please... (or here)
ZA147's front fuselage may move to Scotland, if enough Whisky is sold
Morayvia, November 2013
Earlier this year Moryavia tried to purchase the last VC10 K4, ZD241, but unfortunately did not manage to secure the needed funds. Around the same time they organised a limited edition Glen Moray malt whisky. This is limited to 242 bottles, each of which in a smart presentation box with a numbered label. Included is a leaflet which describes the VC10's RAF service and the two squadrons that operated it. All the bottles were flown on VC10 K3 ZA147 and this is reflected on the label. The fact that the aircraft burst two tires on landing was a bit worrisome but all the bottles were unscathed.
Moryavia are now trying to acquire the front fuselage of this same ZA147, the VC10 K3 that made the last ever landing of a VC10. They would welcome any donations to help them with this purchase and the needed costs for transporting this fuselage section to Scotland. As there are still some Whisky bottles available from the original run, purchasing one or more will help them in preserving this VC10 front fuselage, and it makes a very nice Christmas present too.
The whisky is a Glen Moray, 10 year old, Cask strength (60.1%) single malt, drawn from a single cask by hand. Bottles are sold for £90 plus postage and packaging. All the proceeds will be equally divided between Morayvia and the RAF Benevolent Fund. For orders please contact Bob Pountney through e-mail.
Front fuselage of XV108 moved to East Midlands Aeropark
BBC News, 16 November 2013
When GJD Services started work on dismantling XV108 in September 2013 the forward fuselage of this VC10 C1K was removed just in front of the wings and set aside. On November 16th this complete front fuselage was loaded onto a low-loader and transported to the East Midlands Aeropark, arriving around 15:00. At this museum and viewing area the front fuselage will be put on display, it is hoped that the interior can be restored to how it was configured when in service.
New VC10 book will be published in 2014
E-mail, October 2013
Now that the VC10 has made its last landing, the complete history of this iconic aircraft can be put to paper. In a sequel to his popular 'Vickers VC10 - Silent, Swift, Superb' author Scott Henderson is now working on 'The Vickers VC-10, Queen of the Skies' which will be available in 2014.
VC10 Tribute Shirt available again!
VC10.net forum, September 2013
In August the VC10 tribute shirt became available and the original batch of 31 shipped out in time for the photocall event at Brize. At RAF Brize Norton, Dunsfold and Bruntingthorpe these shirts were prominently present to salute the VC10's 51 years of service. There is now a second and last chance to order one of these shirts (or more than one). The design features a white polo shirt with a VC10 on the back and a Vickers-Armstrong logo on the chest. You can buy this shirt at cost price or for a slightly increased price in which case all the profits will go towards the upkeep of a live VC10 at Bruntingthorpe. So visit the thread in the forum (see link below or above this message) and order yours now! If you don't want to sign up for the forum just for this, e-mail me with the needed details and I'll relay the message.
Commemorative Whisky bottles are still available
Morayvia, September 2013
During the 'VC10 retirement' dinner at RAF Brize Norton on 20th September 2013 two donated whisky bottles, numbered 10 and 101 from the limited edition produced by Moryavia, were auctioned off for charity, netting the RAF benevolent fund £1003. If you'd like to get one of these whisky bottles for yourself (for the original price!), some are still available. See the post below for the details and e-mail address.
ZA147 and the closing of an era
Bruntingthorpe, 25 September 2013
Touching down at Bruntingthorpe at 16:02 after two loud go-arounds, ZA147 closed a chapter of the aviation history book which has spanned 51 years. Ernie Marshall, chief designer for the VC10, stated that he wouldn't be surprised to see a VC10 flying in 50 years and thanks to a few extensions to its service life it managed a career of 51 years and 3 months. More photos on the page about 5H-MMT / ZA147.
Last VC10 landings, one down, one to go
25th September 2013
With ZA150's delivery to Dunsfold yesterday there is only one VC10 flight left on the cards and that will be ZA147 which will go to Bruntingthorpe today. From 10.00am on people will be allowed on the airfield to view this landing which is scheduled to arrive around 12:30LT. Please note that the weather may cause this time to change.
The last VC10 built will make its final landing at Dunsfold on Tuesday 24th September
Brooklands Museum/Dunsfold Park, 23rd September 2013
‘Queen of the Skies’ retires to Dunsfold Park
Dunsfold Park and Brooklands Museum are pleased to announce that the last Vickers VC10 will arrive tomorrow (Tuesday 24th September) at its new permanent home, the famous Surrey airfield. The VC10, which carries the RAF serial number ZA150 was the very last VC10 of 54 built at Brooklands in the 1960s it is one of the last two flying with the RAF from Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and being retired this week.
The aircraft will be landing on the airfield at 12:30* with its six-strong aircrew and will be greeted by members of the aviation teams from Dunsfold Park and Brooklands Museum.
Jim McAllister, Chief Executive of Dunsfold Park Ltd, comments, “We are absolutely delighted to be working with Brooklands Museum to provide a new home for the Vickers ‘Queen of the Skies’ VC10. The Aerodrome has an illustrious aviation history which we are keen to remember and celebrate so this is a welcome addition to the Hunter, Sea Hawk and 747 which currently reside here.”
The RAF bought 14 new VC10s in the 1960s for strategic transport and later went on to purchase aircraft retired from the commercial market, converting a further 14 into air-to-air refuelling tankers during the 1980s and ‘90s. In total, the RAF has operated 28 VC10s of differing variants, and the aircraft conducted a range of tasks from troop and VIP transport, aero-medical missions and air sampling after nuclear tests. In recent years the VC10s have been used solely for air-to-air refuelling, with their last missions in this role having been completed on Friday 20th September. The VC10 becomes the second longest serving type in the RAF’s inventory with 47 years of service just narrowly eclipsed by the English Electric Canberra which was withdrawn in 2006.
ZA150 was originally built as 5H-MOG for East African Airways as a “Combi”, based on the Super VC10 but with a large forward freight door – which, incidentally, greatly eased the conversion of this variant into a tanker aircraft, allowing five huge fuel tanks to be installed on the main deck. After its airline service was completed, this aircraft was stored at Filton for several years before making its first flight as a tanker in 1984.
Allan Winn, Director of Brooklands Museum, says, “It is hugely important for us to have saved this aircraft as the last heavy airliner ever to be completely built at Brooklands – and indeed in the UK. But it is also significant as its retirement marks the end of an unbroken century of front-line service by Brooklands-built aircraft with the British armed forces. That is a unique record, unchallenged by any other factory-customer relationship anywhere in the world. We are delighted that Dunsfold Park has made it possible for us to house this symbolic aircraft back in Surrey.”
Dunsfold Park will be open for visitors wishing to witness this important arrival, with access via the North Gate off Stovolds Hill. Longer-term arrangements for public access to the VC10 at Dunsfold Park will be confirmed in due course.
* The arrival of the VC10 at Dunsfold is subject to weather and operational constraints: please monitor www.brooklandsmuseum.com or www.dunsfoldpark.com.
Final operational sortie for ZA147 and ZA150
RAF website, 19 september 2013
On Friday 20th September 2013 the last two active VC10s still flying with 101 Squadron will fly their last operational sortie. During this trip they will carry out air-to-air refuelling and perform fly pasts at several RAF bases. The full schedule is available through the link above. The fly pasts will be carried out individually:
12.20 – Newcastle
12.40 – Warton
13.05 – RAF Coninsby (VC10 will be accompanied by a GR4)
13.15 – RAF Marham (VC10 will be accompanied by a GR4)
13.35 – Birmingham
12.35 – RAF Lossiemouth (VC10 will be accompanied by a GR4)
12.55 - RAF Leuchars (VC10 will be accompanied by a Typhoon)
13.15 – Prestwick
After this the aircraft will form up again for a fly past at RAF Brize Norton before landing around 14:00. After this trip the list of scheduled events for these aircraft is short. On Sunday one or both will be seen in a Photocall event at Brize and all rumours indicate that on Wednesday the last ever landing will be performed at Bruntingthorpe.
Final flight date most likely set for 25th September
VC10.net forum, September 2013
According to received information the most likely date for the final flight to Bruntingthorpe is now 25th September 2013, arriving around 11am. Details will be confirmed later and this is of course subject to the weather and technical issues cooperating.
Last VC10 airshow appearance will be at RAF Leuchars, 7th September
RAF Leuchars Air Show website, September 2013
With just two airframes left in service and the out of service date looming ever closer, it looks like next Saturday will see the last ever Air Show appearance for a flying VC10. One of the two remaining VC10s, ZA147 or ZA150, will join the static show for this Battle of Britain Air Show in Scotland.
ZA148 joins the Classic Air Force at Newquay
One of the RAF's last three active VC10s, K3 ZA148, left RAF Brize Norton at 9:10am today and flew South for a practice approach at Bristol before continuing to Newquay airport in Cornwall. Arriving overhead around 10:30 she performed several low passes before landing at 10:56am. This airframe started life as East African Airways type 1154 Super VC10 5Y-ADA and flew over East Africa for ten years before the collapse of EAA caused a reposession by BAC. After storage and conversion she flew again as a K3 tanker on 4th July 1984 and served the RAF for a further 27 years (having been delivered to 101 Squadron in 1986). She will now be preserved at Newquay by the Classic Air Force. See links above for more photos of the arrival.
VC10 Tribute Shirt - Order yours now!
VC10.net forum, August 2013
Two of the regular contributors to my forum have taken it upon themselves to organise a tribute t-shirt for the VC10. They designed a white polo shirt with a VC10 on the back and a Vickers-Armstrong logo on the chest as a tribute to the 51 years that the VC10 has served, both as an airliner and a tanker. You can buy this shirt at cost price or for a slightly increased price in which case all the profits will go towards the upkeep of XR808 'Bob' at Bruntingthorpe. They now need orders! So visit the thread in the forum (see link below or above this message) and order yours now! If you don't want to sign up for the forum just for this, e-mail me with the needed details and I'll relay the message.
VC10 Simulators will fly their last mission on Friday 13th September
PPRuNe topic, 22 August 2013
On Friday 13th September the two VC10 simulators still in use at RAF Brize Norton will fly their last mission, most likely with a very senior crew up front. After this there will be a small informal ceremony during which the simulators will be powered down for the last time. One of the original installation engineers, who also switched the K Mk3 sim on after installation, will perform the shutdown of this same simulator. This particular simulator was built by Rediffusion in Crawley in 1987.
The Brooklands Museum has expressed interest in obtaining one of the simulators. They also operate the Concorde simulator which, although fixed-base, still does a great job of simulating the fastest British airliner ever built. With the VC10 being the next fastest it would make a fitting line up.
K3 ZA148 will land at Newquay on Wednesday 28th August
On Tuesday 20th August the BAC 1-11's 50th anniversary was celebrated at The Brooklands Museum and although talk was mainly about BAC's 'Bus Stop Jet', there was some exciting VC10 news as well. Head of the Classic Air Force at Newquay Tim Skeet announced that they will receive VC10 K3 ZA148 after it's final flight, which will take place next week on Wednesday 28th August. On the same day this news was also posted on their Twitter feed and Facebook page:
Exciting news.... On Wednesday August 28 the Classic Air Force is receiving a Vickers VC10! The aircraft (ZA148) will be arriving from RAF Brize Norton at the end of its last flight and will go on display at the CAF hangar. Don't miss this chance to see her land for the final time.
This wonderful news means that this ex-EAA airliner, which started life as 5Y-ADA, will have a safe future with its new owners and will probably go undercover in their large hangar as well. What more can a VC10 wish for?
This leaves just two airframes' futures unsecured, but the rumours that have turned up over the past two days do point towards some good news on this front. Some sources state that the RAF Museum at Cosford will take on one of the remaining K3s and that the other one will go to the North Atlantic Aviation Museum in Gander, Canada. If this is true then no more VC10s will be arriving at Bruntingthorpe for scrapping but all the remaining flyers will have a home. There are also rumours about cockpits of VC10s going to various places but for now nothing has been confirmed, also the future of XR808 and ZD241, both of which have been earmarked for preservation at Bruntingthorpe, is still not clear. For now we'll continue celebrating ZA148's good fortunes and will keep our ears open for other developments.
The last of the original RAF VC10s has been retired
Delivered in 1966, after 43,865 hours of flying time the last of the original RAF VC10s has touched down for the final time. XR808 left RAF Brize Norton around 11:00am and performed a go-around before landing at Bruntingthorpe around 11:30. This marks the end of 47 years of continuous service with the RAF for this airframe.
Three VC10s are still in service and will continue until an unconfirmed out of service date around 20 September, with final flights on 23 September (although the RAF news now talks about October, see link above). Until then ZA147 will be at the Falkland Islands for which destination she left this same morning, relieving ZA150 which is currently stationed with 1312 Flight at RAF Mount Pleasant. When ZA150 gets back to the UK she will join ZA148 at RAF Brize Norton.
Final destination of XR808 has changed
For quite some time now the last VC10 C1K in service was destined to be preserved at the RAF Museum at RAF Cosford. Over the past days several dates have been mentioned for its final flight which seemed imminent, but in an about turn that was unofficially announced yesterday the airframe seems to be going to Bruntingthorpe instead. The owner of GJD services, the company that is tasked to scrap the VC10 airframes, has posted on the forum here that GJD is hoping to purchase XR808 for inclusion into the Cold War Jets collection as a live airframe.
Although no official announcement has been made as far as I can ascertain, this does appear to be a pretty solid story and would mean another twist in the VC10's retirement plans. Over the past year as VC10s have been retired there have been several plans to preserve them. Scottish aviation heritage association Morayvia have attempted to purchase VC10 K4 ZD241 but were sadly unable to come up with the purchase price. In May an announcement was made at Bruntingthorpe that ZD241 would stay live at that airfield, this was confirmed later on in a small article in Flypast Magazine which stated that the airframe had been bought by David Walton, the man behind Avro Vulcan XH558's return to flight. Currently however ZD241 is engineless so it seems that some work may be needed to achieve this goal. Other plans to keep one VC10 airworthy have been put in motion (see the forum on this site for more) but the financial needs for this plan are huge, and will probably not be achieved.
The plan to retire XR808 to Cosford opened a few old wounds which related to the fate of G-ARVM, the previous VC10 which has been at Cosford from 1979 to 2006 when she was reduced to a fuselage only and moved to the Brooklands Museum. Many people hold the RAF Museum accountable for this, and while I argued back then that they could at least have shown some responsibility, it is unfair to put the full blame on them. It was British Airways who owned the airliners at Cosford and who were supposed to look after them, the VC10 did at that point not fit into the RAF Museum's collecting policy and was therefore asked to leave.
VC10 C1K XR808 however does fall within this policy and because of this I personally am surprised by this turn of events. After 47 years of loyal service in the RAF surely this airframe deserves a place in a RAF Museum? The RAF have operated 28 of these iconic British airliners over the years which is more than half of the production run of 54.
With ZD241 being engineless, the other RAF VC10s going to the scrapper and XR808 due at Bruntingthorpe next week, it looks as if we will only have one complete VC10 to commemorate all those years of RAF VC10 operations, but it will not be in a RAF museum. I'm not saying that XR808 should not be kept live, but right now this is also just a plan and is subject to approval and financial viability. After all the hard work this old lady has done I was hoping its retirement plans would have been more secure.
Morayvia, July 2013
To commemorate the end of the VC10's military service Scottish organisation Morayvia, which looks after Nimrod XV244 and did try to obtain a VC10 as well, have organised a limited edition Glen Moray malt whisky. This will be limited to 242 bottles, each of which will come in a smart presentation box with a numbered label. Included is a leaflet which describes the VC10's RAF service and the two squadrons that operated it. All the bottles were recently flown on VC10 K3 ZA147 and this is reflected on the label. The fact that the aircraft burst two tires on landing was a bit worrisome but all the bottles were unscathed!
The whisky is a Glen Moray, 10 year old, Cask strength (60.1%) single malt, drawn from a single cask by hand. Bottles will be sold for £90 plus postage and packaging. All the proceeds will be equally divided between Morayvia and the RAF Benevolent Fund. For orders please contact Bob Pountney through e-mail.
Limited edition Mandy Shepherd prints to be auctioned for charity
RAF, June 2013
To celebrate the upcoming final flight of the VC10 in RAF service, a special painting was commisioned from wildlife and military aviation artist Mandy Shepherd. The painting, titled "SHUT DOWN CHECKS COMPLETE", shows a head on view of a VC10 over a large world map with all the theatres in which the VC10 has operated, along with several images showing the different aspects of its service.
From this painting, three editions of prints were made, most of which were sold to current and past serving members of the RAF within two weeks. Four prints from the second and third editions will be auctioned though:
1st edition: Two large size prints, both signed by The Prince of Wales and The Princess Royal, which will be retained by squadrons at RAF Brize Norton.
The proceeds from all sales will go to charities nominated by the Squadron. If anyone is seriously interested in bidding on the three prints which will be sold at auction later this year, get in touch through e-mail. The Ebay auction is open to anyone through this link:
For more about the artist, go here.
VC10 in Queen's Birthday Flypast for the last time
RAF website, 15 June 2013
The annual Trooping the Colour parade on Saturday 15th June in celebration of HM The Queen's birthday was closed by the RAF's flypast finale. At 1PM a large formation of 30 aircraft flew down the mall and over Buckingham Palace concluding the official celebrations. Element six of the formation consisted of a 216 Squadron Tristar and a 101 Squadron VC10, the RAF's longest serving aircraft. VC10 K3 ZA147 'F' carried out this duty. A photo of the aircraft at Brize Norton prior to departure is here, images showing the formation are on this page. The link at the header of this article goes to the RAF press release, in which ZA147 is labeled as 'The wonderful VC10', we can only second that of course!
ZD241, the last BOAC Super VC10, will stay alive!
FighterControl forum, 29 May 2013
According to a post at FighterControl, an earlier message I received and the announcer at the latest Bruntingthorpe event, ZD241, the last of the K4s, is now set to become the 'live' VC10 at Bruntingthorpe with a first run in August if all goes well. Initially it was thought that this honour would go to a C1K but ex-BOAC G-ASGM will now take this spot. As such the aircraft will be maintained in live condition by GJD services, the company responsible for scrapping the retired VC10s which is also a licensed maintenance facility.
ZD241 has been retired after 45 years
Facebook page, 21 March 2013
Although the original date for its final flight, which was Wednesday 20th March, came and went, the last BOAC Super VC10 still in active service performed its final flight on 21st March 2013, landing for the final time at Bruntingthorpe. Its original first flight took place on 26 February 1968 which was 45 years ago last month.
Between 1968 and 1981 it flew for BOAC and later British Airways as G-ASGM. The RAF purchased the airframe along with the rest of the British Airways Super VC10 fleet and in the early nineties it was ferried to Filton for conversion into a K4 tanker. It performed a second first flight as a tanker on 10th May 1995 and was delivered to 101 Squadron a month later. It then spent the next 18 years delivering fuel to various military jets all over the world, most recently around the Falkland Islands as part of 1312 Flight at RAF Mount Pleasant.
ZA149 makes its last landing
Facebook page, 18 March 2013
Ex-East African Airways Super VC10 ZA149, formerly known as 5X-UVJ, flew to Bruntingthorpe on Monday 18th March, performed several passes with the gear up followed by a low approach with the gear down and finally its final landing around 13:30. This marks the end of the line for what the OC 101 Squadron described as one of his 'Supertankers'. Chris Sandham-Bailey took the photo below of this sad moment.
Click here to read the RAF news release about this last flight.
Final K4 airframe and one K3 will retire next week
VC10 forum, March 2013
With the extension to the VC10's service life which was announced earlier, I for one thought that the final six airframes would continue to operate until the final day of VC10 operations. As it turns out this is not the case. Next week, on Monday 18th March and Wednesday 20th March the final K4 airframe ZD241 and a K3, ZA149, will be retired to Bruntingthorpe.
ZD241 started its life in February 1968 and was delivered to BOAC a month later as G-ASGM. As such she is the last of the original BOAC airframes still operational. Having been retired in 1981 the aircraft stood idle for almost ten years before being ferried to Filton for conversion, re-emerging as a VC10 K4 tanker in May 1995 with the accolade of being the K4 with the shortest time between first flight and delivery. This relatively trouble-free development period may have been a precursor to its long service life, surviving beyond all the other K4s. In recent years ZD241 spent a lot of time at RAF Mt. Pleasant airfield on the Falkland Islands, flying home for the last time on 8th March.
In contrast the history of ZA149 is distinctly different. Having been built as the 'ultimate Super VC10', the type 1154 for East African Airways, she was delivered as 5X-UVJ in April 1969 and started flying the African skies. After a relatively short career the aircraft was reposessed by BAC in 1977 upon the collapse of the airline and was sold to the RAF for conversion to a tanker. Its second first flight was on 25th March 1985 and delivery to the then recently reformed 101 Sqn occured on 14th May 1985. So by now she has been flying as a tanker for almost 28 years, having been an airliner for only 8 years.
If any more details about the deliveries become available they will probably be posted on the website Facebook page or the forum, see the links above.
Article confirms extension of VC10 service
Aviation week, January 2013
Although I'm a bit late in posting this, it is never too late to mention good news: the out of service date for the VC10 has now officially been postponed until September 2013. The article linked to above talks about a review of the UK's defence needs and the status of the slipped A400M and Voyager projects, which is the reason that there may be a capability gap in tactical air transport and air-to-air refuelling. Because of this the VC10 will get to fly on a bit longer but other measures are also being taken, one being a similar extension to the planned in service life of the Tristar.
The announcement that there will be a VC10 at RIAT was a pretty sure sign but this article further confirms this rumour. We will get to enjoy the sound of four Conways a little while longer.
RIAT news is indicator for postponed VC10 retirement
RIAT Website, December 2012
Announced as a 'Christmas gift' on the website of the Royal International Air Tattoo, which is held at RAF Fairford each year, the RAF has announced that a VC10 will be present at the 2013 edition of the airshow in July 2013. Previous indications of planned retirement dates all pointed towards a date in the spring, but this means that the type will be operated into the summer as well, perhaps retirement has been postponed to the fall of 2013?
XV106 and XV108 retired on 7 November
Facebook page, 7 November 2012
As announced below two more C1Ks have been retired to Bruntingthorpe. Work on the VC10s which have been delivered to the airfield seems to have slowed down some as the previous airframes are still around, although they are slowly being dismantled. For photos have a look at the Facebook page through the link above.
Next two C1Ks due to be retired on Wednesday 7 November
A post on my forum and on my Facebook page mention that the last two C1Ks to be retired are due at Bruntingthorpe on Wednesday 7 November. There are currently three C1Ks still active but XR808 will be going to the RAF Museum at Cosford so that leaves XV106 and XV108 as the next two to be 'reduced to spares'.
101 Squadron hands over to 216 Squadron in the Middle East
RAF website, 4 October 2012
On 4th October 101 Squadron officially handed over their duties in the Middle East to the Tristars of 216 Squadron. After 22 years of continuous VC10 operations in this area this era has come to an end. For more about this have a look at the link above. This is another step towards the final flight of the VC10 which is scheduled for 2013.
New VC10 model in 1:500 scale from Herpa
Herpa website, October 2012
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the VC10's first flight model maker Herpa will soon release a 1:500 scale VC10 model. This will portray a BOAC-Cunard Super VC10 in the 'Golden Speedbird' colours which were introduced together with the Super VC10 in 1965.
VC10 50th Anniversary Raffle Result
RAF/BAE Systems, September 2012
Thank you to everyone who supported the recent VC10 50th Anniversary Raffle in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund. Thank you to Wotton Travel Limited, Cycle Surgery and Runners Need for their help and a huge thank you to BAE Systems, Snow and Rock and Serco for their support and sponsorship.
The result of the raffle which was drawn at the Bournemouth Airshow on the 2nd of September 2012 is as follows:-
1st Prize – Flights and 10 days accommodation in Barbados - Ticket number 03772 - P. Dawson, Oxfordshire.
2nd Prize – Flights and 5 days accommodation in Dubai - Ticket number 03460 - A. Deas, Lincolnshire.
3rd Prize – Flights and 3 days accommodation in Rome - Ticket number 04645 - A. O’Hora, Oxfordshire
Thanks also to everyone all over the UK who helped and worked so hard in selling tickets.
The final total raised for the RAF Benevolent Fund was £5234.74
Three ship flypast over several RAF bases announced
RAF Lossiemouth Facebook page, 21 August 2012
The RAF Lossiemouth Facebook page has an announcement about a three-ship VC10 formation which will overfly several RAF bases on 28th August 2012. This is a provisional date, with an equally provisional timing of 1305 hours overhead Lossiemouth. Don't be fooled by the 'retirement announcement', the VC10 will still fly on until March 2013, there's a comma missing in a sentence there!
The three-ship will consist of the three different VC10 variants which are currently in service, K3, K4 and C1K, as this will be the last opportunity to fly them together. The C1K version is the modified transport/tanker variant which has been in RAF service since 1966 while the K3s are ex-EAA airliners and the sole remaining K4 was originally delivered to BOAC as G-ASGM.
Update: the provisional plan according to some informed sources is along these lines.
Departure from RAF Brize Norton around 0900Z (10:00 local time).
Obviously weather and aircraft serviceability may cause changes to these plans.
XV104 retires to Bruntingthorpe and schedule for remaining months
Facebook page, 4 July 2012
In May a rough schedule turned up for the retirement of the remaining active VC10s and XV104 was slated to be next. A bit later the date 6 June 2012 was provided for its last flight to Bruntingthorpe. Shortly before this flight the date was moved, as technical issues (?) kept the aircraft at RAF Brize Norton. During the VC10 at 50 event at The Brooklands Museum to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the VC10 a new date was confirmed by the OC 101 Sqn during his talk: 2 July 2012.
2 July came and went but XV104 stayed at Brize, as the weather was not good enough to enable a visual arrival at the Bruntingthorpe airfield. The flight was scrubbed in the afternoon and rescheduled for 4 July 2012. This time the weather cooperated and around 15:00 VC10 C1K XV104 made its last landing after 45 years of service. Damien Burke took some photos which can be seen through this link if you have a Facebook account, or here:
This leaves 8 VC10s in active service with 101 Squadron and this will continue until September 2012, when two more C1s will retire, leaving XR808 as the only C1 left in service. The other active VC10s include ZD241, the only remaining ex-BOAC Super VC10 converted into a VC10 K4, which is semi-permanently stationed with 1312 Flight on the Falkland Islands, and the four ex-EAA Super VC10s. These four K3 'Super Tankers' will be the backbone of 101 Squadron's air-to-air refuelling tasks. The final flight of the VC10 is scheduled to be around March 2013 when the last 6 aircraft will be retired.
RAF/BAE Systems, June 2012
To celebrate 50 years of flight of the VC10 a raffle is to be held in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund. The RAF Benevolent Fund provides a spectrum of care, supporting everyone from children growing up on RAF stations, to those serving today, to the veterans who fought for our freedom. Our aim is to raise £10,000. The prizes will commemorate former civil routes of the VC10.
VC10s to participate in two events for 16/17th June weekend
E-mail/website, 15th June 2012
On Saturday 16th June the VC10 will be featured in the Flypast for HM the Queen's birthday. Two VC10s will participate, joined by two Typhoons and two Tornados, along with waves of other aircraft.
Also, a VC10 will perform a flypast at the RAF Cosford Air Show, which is held on 17 June 2012. This has been confirmed on the news page for the air show. There are more reasons to go though, one of which is a Jaguar taxi demonstration. For the full list of participants see here: http://www.cosfordairshow.co.uk/intheair.html
Two VC10s to feature at RIAT and XR808 sports new artwork
RIAT website, June 2012
Two VC10s will be at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford. One in the static park and one flying, together with a C-130, A400M, Tristar and other transport aircraft in a unique formation. There is a good chance that XR808 will be one of the two VC10s present, seeing as it has recently been adorned with anniversary markings on its tail to celebrate both the 50th anniversary of the VC10 and the 95th anniversary of 101 Squadron. XR808 being at RAF Fairford on 7th July 2012 will be a nice event in itself as that will be the exact 46th anniversary of its handover to 10 Squadron, on 7th July 1966, which was then temporarily based at Fairford!
Have a look at the anniversary tail on UK Airshow review through this link.
XV104 next to be retired
E-mail, 31 May 2012
XV104 is scheduled to perform its last ever flight to Bruntingthorpe sometime in June. The date was initially set at 6 June but this has now been changed due to technical issues. This next retirement is in line with a recent post on the Keypublishing forum which provided a rough schedule for the final VC10 airfames.
On a related note, the scrappers at Bruntingthorpe recently reduced the airframes of the four previously retired VC10s to a heap of scrap metal. For the exact dates have a look at the table on the RAF VC10s page.
XR808 receives special tail markings to celebrate 50 years of service
Forum, 31 May 2012
VC10 C1K XR808 is currently having its tail repainted with a special design to celebrate the VC10s 50th anniversary. A first photo is on 101 Squadron's Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/356898101016170/ (you have to be logged in to Facebook to see this.
RAF salutes HM The Queen in flypast
RAF News, 17 May 2012
The RAF will salute HM The Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year with a large flypast on May 19th. For details of this flypast click the link and have a look at the graphic illustration at the bottom of the page. Section 5 of the flypast consists of a VC10 tanker and two Tornado GR4s. There will be live coverage of the event on BBC1 starting at 10:30am. During the Central Diamond Jubilee weekend there will be a second (perhaps smaller) flypast on Tuesday 5th June. Details of this flypast are not yet known.
VC10 at 50 event at Brooklands Museum
Brooklands Museum, March 2012
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of G-ARTA's first flight Brooklands Museum is hosting an event on the 29th June. Details can be found through the link above. Some details may be changed between now and then subject to availability of a 101 Squadron VC10 for a flypast.
St. Athan delivers last ever serviced VC10
BBC News, 23 February 2012
It's the end of an era as the last ever RAF aircraft to undergo servicing at St. Athan leaves to rejoin 101 Squadron. VC10 C1K ZA147 took off at 15:50 into an overcast sky on the short flight back to RAF Brize Norton, leaving the workforce and facilities there for the last time. With this last minor star service performed the VC10 fleet is left with a limited allowance of flying hours and cycles until the type is stood down sometime in 2013.
Last VC10 arrives for servicing at St. Athan
Flypast Forum, 17 January 2012
With the VC10 fleet slowly diminishing the need for servicing at RAF St. Athan is also diminishing. The last two VC10s to undergo minor servicing here shared a moment together before K3 ZA150 left on 19 January leaving K3 ZA147 in the capable hands of the experts there. ZA147 is scheduled to be ready in March 2012 which will bring over 70 years of RAF aircraft servicing to an end at St. Athan, and is also a major step towards the final flight of a VC10.
In December 2010 ZA147 was also the aircraft to undergo the last major servicing at St. Athan, so this K3 signifies the end of an era for the workforce there.
Photos can be seen through the link above.
XV101 has been retired on 20th December
Forum, 20 December 2011
As announced below XV101 has also made its final flight to Bruntingthorpe to await the scrapman's axe. The final landing was around 11:40 local time after two passes over the field. There are now four VC10s at Bruntingthorpe all in line for spares reclamation and scrapping. XV101 joins XV105 which has already lost most of the parts needed to keep the rest of the fleet flying, and XV102 and XV107, both of which were delivered last week.
XV101 to retire on 20th December
Forum, 17 December 2011
The next airframe to be ferried to Bruntingthorpe will be XV101 and the out of service date is set for 20th December. It will join the other VC10s already awaiting their appointment with the scrapman.
Another two retirements from the fleet: XV102 and XV107
Forum, 12 December 2011
Today two VC10 C1Ks made their way to Bruntingthorpe on their final flight as they too have an appointment with the scrapman. XV102 and XV107 should have arrived there today to join XV105 in the scrapper's que. The 'spares reclamation' process on XV105 is currently on hold while a 737 is processed. Photos of XV105 can be found in this topic on The Buccaneer Aviation Group forums.
Later this month XV101 is also scheduled to make its last flight to Bruntingthorpe.
Update: XV107 went 'tech' before departure and therefore only XV102 was delivered, bursting a tyre just after landing. Photos here: VC10 XV102 retires (Buccaneer Aviation Group forums).
Update 2: XV107 was delivered a day later, on 13 December 2011 as 'Ascot 859'.
Update 3: the two links above seem to be dead, the topic doesn't exist anymore on the forums. This page on the Keypublishing forum does show photos of both XV102 and XV107 landing (scroll down).
British Airways ad featuring the VC10
British Airways Youtube channel, September 2011
British Airways launched their new advertising campaign with a video called 'To Fly. To Serve'. Using footage shot at Duxford, Shuttleworth and other locations as well as some clever digital manipulation it shows scenes from its past. These include several historic airliners with the VC10 part being played by Duxford resident Super VC10 G-ASGC. Click the link above to watch it.
There is also another video which shows more of the story: British Airways people & planes over the last 90 years
And a 'making of' video here: British Airways - the making of our advert
XV105 retires today
E-mail, 30 August 2011
VC10 C1K XV105 was scheduled to fly to Bruntingthorpe on Friday 26th August but bad weather meant that this delivery had to be delayed. The plan is now to depart from RAF Brize Norton late in the morning for its last ever flight, with an estimated arrival time around 12:30. At Bruntingthorpe she will undergo spares recovery and scrapping at the hands of GJD Services in a similar fashion as XR807 and XV109 were processed last year. Public access to the airfield around the time of XV105s arrival will not be possible.
BBC news item about VC10 deployment over the Mediterranean
BBC website, 27 June 2011
The BBC was aboard a 101 Squadron VC10 which is deployed on refuelling duties over the Mediterranean to support the bombing raids on Libya. Click the link above to see the video.
G-ASGC is prepared to star in British Airways commercial
Flypast forums, June 2011
Recent activity at Duxford saw resident Super VC10 G-ASGC undergoing washing and a facelift in preparation for a British Airways commercial that will be filmed there. Rapide G-AIYR sported Imperial Airways colours for the same purpose, as well as Shuttleworth's DH.51 G-EBIR which was standing in for a DH.16. It looks like 'GC will retain the BOAC/Cunard colours, but I'm hoping that the finish will have more of the golden shine of the original scheme.
10 Squadron to be reformed on 1 July 2011
Royal Air Force, May 2011
10 Squadron, for years the main military operator of the VC10, is to be reformed on 1 July 2010. It will then continue in its role as a tanker/transport squadron operating the new A330 tanker for the Royal Air Force. In service the aircraft will be known as the KC-30 Voyager Tanker. It will start out with two A330s but will build up to 14 aircraft eventually.
A4O-AB moves at Brooklands to enable Concorde turnaround
Brooklands Museum, May 2011
On 10 May 2011 A4O-AB was pushed back several yards to create the needed room to turn Concorde G-BBDG around. Assisted by a team from British Airways Engineering 'DG was pulled forward on 11 May, turned around and parked back in its spot. But this time with her nose into the prevailing wind which should lessen the stress that high winds put on her airframe. VC10 A4O-AB was subsequently moved back to her original parking spot, as well as BAC 1-11 G-ASYD which also had to make way.
Photos J. Downey
ZA149 assists in A400M development
Forum and e-mail, February 2011
K3 ZA149 was flown to Toulouse to assist in developing Airbus' latest military transport, the A400M. To clear the large airframe for air-to-air refueling the pair performed dry contacts in preparation for full refueling trials later in the program.
RAF Photographic competition
Daily Mail, 10 January 2011
One of the entries in the annual RAF photographic competition is a stunning overhead shot of two VC10s in close formation over Buckingham Palace during the Queen's Birthday flypast. It is just one of a number of wonderful images which have been entered and which show the diverse tasks of the RAF. Although not the winner, the image is at the top of the Daily Mail article about the competition which can be found through the link above (or click here). The other entries are also well worth viewing.
Cosford Museum to receive VC10 Tanker
Shropshire Star, 29 December 2010
In a news article about upcoming additions to the RAF museum at Cosford mention is made of a VC10 which is to be added to the collection in 2011. While it is good to hear that a RAF VC10 Tanker will be preserved it is a bit odd that only four years back the museum really wanted to get rid of G-ARVM, the last airline configured Standard VC10 in the UK, with the fuselage eventually being saved by The Brooklands Museum. Let's hope that this VC10 will get its deserved retirement at the museum.
VC10 used for passenger carrying again as Tristars are grounded
Telegraph, 21 December 2010
In January the UK MOD decided not to carry passengers in VC10s anymore due to concerns over the aircrafts equipment in contrast to more modern designs. Today the RAF had to turn back that decision, with a senior officer signing waivers to allow RAF personnel to fly home on 101 Squadron's VC10s for their Christmas leave. This step became necessary as the Tristars of 216 Squadron developed problems that caused them to be temporarily grounded, leaving the RAF without a significant chunk of its passenger carrying capacity. For more read the article available through the link above.
VC10 now longest serving aircraft in RAF fleet
E-mail, 16 December 2010
Today the Harrier marked its final day as an active RAF aircraft with a 16 ship formation flight. With the retirement of the Harrier the VC10 is the longest serving aircraft in the RAF inventory. The oldest VC10 still in service is XR808 which was delivered on 7 July 1966, 44 years ago.
Final VC10 major completed at St. Athan
Forum, 9 December 2010
With ZA147's take off from St. Athan a chapter has closed. For 44 years the RAF has performed major servicing on VC10s, initially at RAF Brize Norton, then RAF Abingdon and finally at RAF St. Athan. Now that the last of these has been completed a large part of the workforce is leaving the base and the remainder has moved out of the 'Super hangar' and back into the older (but renovated) 'Twin Peaks' hangar as of mid-December when XV101 was delivered there for a minor servicing.
The sequence of photos below was taken on 25 November 2010 and shows ZA147 during the last two test flights after completion of the type's last major.
Photos J. Thomas
Defense Review confirms out of service date for 2013
The UK's latest defence review unleashes several cost cutting exercises which together should cut defence spending by 8% over the next four years. Amongst the cancelled carriers, Harriers and Nimrods is a line that confirms the fate of the current VC10 fleet:
"We will accordingly ... reduce the role of the VC10 transport/tanker aircraft to undertake air-to-air refuelling only, with the target of withdrawing it by 2013 as A330 enters service;"
Over the past few years several dates were thrown around, some of them creeping up towards 2020, but this confirms that in three years time the flying life of the VC10 should be over. Behind the scenes the schedule of spares reclamation from airframes will probably not change much. Currently GJD is working (or will soon start) on ZD242 which has been at Boscombe Down for the past few years undergoing testing to learn about airframe ageing.
In two years time the 50th anniversary of the VC10's first flight can be celebrated but while we may see a flypast for that event, it may well be the last significant celebration of the VC10's life that will include one.
Victoria Cross names to be reused
e-mail, July 2010
When XR807 and XV109 made their last landings at Bruntingthorpe in April 2010 (see here for photos of XV109) the names that they had carried ever since they were delivered to the RAF appeared to have been removed. I received an e-mail that explained that these names will be transferred to other aircraft in 101 Sqn's Tanker fleet. ZA147 will now be named after 'Sqn Ldr Arthur Scarf VC' (ex XV109) and ZA150 will take up the name of 'Fg Officer Donald Garland VC & Sgt Thomas Gray VC' (ex XR807). The RAF's VC10s will therefore continue to honour these VC holders.
Queens Birthday Flypast 2010
RAF Website, 12 June 2010
The flypast for HM The Queen's birthday included two VC10s as item three of the large formation that overflew Buckingham Palace on Sunday 12 June 2010.
Looking at the composition of the formation, the VC10s fly in trail AAR formation and together with the BBMF and the Tornado/Typhoon group are labeled as 'Homeland defence, future, present, past'. With the BBMF representing the past, and the Tornado/Typhoon being the present defence, does that mean that the VC10 is the future? I guess not but still, we can dream...
A4O-AB stars in music video
KateNash.co.uk, May 2010
It may not be your kind of music but have a good look at the video for Kate Nash's latest song 'Do Wah Doo' (click on the title on the righthand side of the TV). You see people boarding Viscount G-APIM 'Steven Piercey' at the beginning of it, but from that point on all the inside shots show VC10 A4O-AB, specifically the flight deck, rear cabin and executive washroom. If you take a look at the 'Making of...' video on the same page there are some outside shots as well.
XR807 and XV109 make their final landing at Bruntingthorpe
Flypast forums, April 2010
Tuesday the 6th of April saw the ferry flight and last landings of C1K airframes XR807 and XV109. They arrived at Bruntingthorpe to be 'spares recovered' by GJD Services. This means that any component that will help in keeping the other 13 airframes in the air will be removed with the remains cut up for scrap metal. To see video footage of their arrival click here or here.
XR807 and XV109 at Bruntingthorpe shortly after their arrival
Photos F. Wallace
Two airframes to be phased out in April 2010
GJD Services, March 2010
Bruntingthorpe based GJD Services have been awarded the contract to dispose of the current RAF VC10 fleet as the airframes are phased out of service. Most of this work will be done at Bruntingthorpe but those aircraft destined for preservation will be prepared at their final destination. The press release does not mention numbers and locations unfortunately.
The first two airframes are expected to be flown to Bruntingthorpe in early April, C1Ks XR807 and XV109 will be the likely victims.
UK Ministry of Defence updates VC10 statement
Flight International, 22 January 2010
In an updated statement the Ministry of Defence now states that the VC10 "remains safe to fly". The VC10 continues to be used to carry passengers but has been temporarily removed from a small number of tasks while the basis on which passengers fly in the aircraft is being reviewed. More after the link above.
RAF suspends passenger operations with VC10s
Flight International, 19 January 2010
The Royal Air Force has announced today that it will no longer employ the VC10s of 101 Sqn for passenger carrying operations. That means that after 48 years the days of the VC10 as a passenger aircraft are over. This is not the end of the line though, the VC10 will continue to operate as a tanker aircraft and will most likely also carry cargo. The aircraft will continue to serve with 101 Sqn until replaced by the A330-200 based FSTA.
What, no VC10...?
New York Public library, 2009
What can I say, I'm disappointed....
XR806 is no more...
Forum, 30 October 2009
Early in September the nose section of XR806, a long time resident of RAF Brize Norton ever since its accident in 1997, was moved out onto the airfield from its location between the structures and paint bay where it had been in use for battle damage repair training. At that point it was to be used for fire training. Often this is the last assignment for a piece of airframe structure and this was no different. During the last week of October the remains of XR806 were completely scrapped and removed from the airfield. Click on the forum link above to view some photos of this nose section at its last location.
Queen's Birthday Flypast 2009 and RAF Brize Norton Families Day
Flypast forums, 13 June 2009
This year's birthday flypast for Her Majesty The Queen will consist of five elements. The third element consists of a VC10 with two Tornado GR4s.
Some photos of this formation as well as other photos from the RAF Brize Norton Families day (including a VC10/Vulcan formation) can be seen on the Flypast Forums (photos Nick Blacow) and on PlaneTalk here (photos Damien Burke) and here (photos Chris Haywood). Careful, there are a lot of Vulcan photos there as well! (I'm sure you won't mind though.)
First VC10 replacement flies
RAF, 10 June 2009
The first airframe destined to replace the VC10 in service as the new Multi-Role Tanker Transport has flown from Airbus home base Toulouse. In July it will move to Airbus Military in Madrid for outfitting as a tanker aircraft. Photos can be seen through the link above.
End of RAF operations in Iraq
Ever since the first Gulf War in 1990 the RAF has been active in and around Iraqi airspace. After 19 years of service in the Middle East the RAF has now pulled back its assets from this area. RAF Marham was treated to the sight of three VC10s in formation as they escorted Tornados from resident XIII Squadron home, carrying aircrew and support personnel. Follow the links above for news coverage including footage of the flypast.
Another Corgi VC10 available
Corgi Newsletter, May 2009
The fourth Corgi VC10 model, this one in early BOAC colours, is now available to order. Details are on the Corgi website, but you can also ask your local Corgi dealer of course.
For a photo of the pre-production version of this model have a look at the VC10 models page.
And in a nice twist the announcements for the second half of this year now show a fifth VC10 model again in 101 Sqn colours. This model has been announced before but was dropped due to low orders. Apparently this decision has now been reversed again. There are photos of a pre-production model on the Unofficial Aviation Archive
Air-to-Air refuelling by the VC10 tankers of 101 Squadron
Times Online, via I. McMillan, March 2009
The Times looks at the operations of the VC10 with 101 Squadron, describing a typical Air-to-Air refuelling sortie over the North Sea and looking back at the VC10's history.
Vickers VC10 – AEW, Pofflers and other Unbuilt Variants
Author, March 2009
Due to hit the shelves in a few weeks is a new book written by Chris Gibson about the unbuilt military variants of the VC10. For the first time a closer look at all the plans that Vickers based upon the VC10 design is available, featuring archive material, drawings and new artwork.
Many of the options offered featured new and interesting approaches to the problem of fitting military hardware for one or more roles into an airframe. This led to multi-role variants, including one where the nose section of the aircraft could be exchanged for one equipped for another specific role. Another interesting story is the AEW project. In this competition the VC10 may have made a much better platform than the Nimrod that was trialed, which eventually was passed over by the venerable Shackleton.
So, do you want to know what a 'Poffler' is? The book should be available from the first week of April and can be ordered from Amazon through the link below:
New 1:200 model brand on the market
Aviation Megastore, January 2009
For those enthusiasts collecting 1:200 scale models the range has been pretty limited with just the Collector's Aircraft Model shop stocking British made, limited run models. Recently JC Wings has sprung up as a new brand with a range of 1:400 and 1:200 models. All models are limited to 500 pieces worldwide so if you are interested I would suggest a quick trip to your preferred supplier. I haven't been able to locate a website for the company but the two links below are shops stocking the models. Initially a BOAC and BA VC10 have been issued with the BA model having sold out at some locations already. An RAe XX914 version is now available for pre-orders.
News items from previous years can be found on the pages below: