Decided to post this here as it will include a few photos.
Geoff Hall posted this unusual photo on a Facebook group yesterday and also allowed me to use it on my site:
It is clearly a Super VC10, showing only traces of the EAA colourscheme. So which aircraft is it and why these colours? We know that the ex-EAA Supers were all flown back to the UK in 1977, and Geoff dated his photo in April 1977, so it is most likely related to these movements. The ferry flights took place on:
5H-MMT as a likely candidate. We also know that 5H-MMT was used for two additional flights from Filton in that same month. The problem was that BAC needed VC10 rated test pilots but their ratings had lapsed by then. All but one of the ferry flights were captained by Arthur Ricketts and by special dispensation from the CAA, he renewed the VC10 ratings for Eddie McNamara and Brian Trubshaw, carrying out a training flight on 24 May 1977 and the examination flight on 25 May 1977. This allowed Eddie McNamara to captain the ferry flight of 5X-UVJ the next month, while Arthur flew the last one for 5H-MOG.
Can we substantiate this ID perhaps? Let's look at some photos:
This shows 5H-MOG with a Standard VC10 next to it and two Supers in the background, with the tail of another VC10 on the edge of the image on the right. The Super VC10 that is furthest away from the camera appears to have a white tail and lacks the coloured cheatline of the other ex-EAA airframe next to it.
The Standard VC10, which appears mostly white on the photo above, is A4O-VL:
This shows the two Supers in the background as well, and shows that the furthest one is devoid of any markings on the tail. That could be our mystery Super VC10. The other one that does carry the EAA markings has the flag of Uganda at the top of its fin markings, and this denotes the country where it was registered. That makes this 5X-UVJ as the other Ugandan-registered EAA Super was 5X-UVA, which sadly perished in 1972.
That leaves two EAA Supers as options, but another photo shows that 5Y-ADA retained most of its markings. This airframe only lost the flags and titles before being stored:
A second photo shows what may be our mystery ship next to 5Y-ADA:
This last image is the only one that shows the white VC10 in another location, as it appears from most of these images that it was parked at the end of the apron, behind 5X-UVJ.
There is also this photo of A4O-VI, which may well be the tail protruding into the first photo of 5H-MOG (the small fences around the nose of 5H-MOG are the same):
Based on all this, we have three of the four EAA Supers accounted for in these photos from Filton, which leaves 5H-MMT as the remaining option. As to the why, the training flights for Trubshaw and McNamara were most likely carried out using the existing 5H-MMT registration, but BAC may not have wanted to 'advertise' the EAA connection and therefore decided to anonimise the Super VC10 for this occasion.
This last photo, showing ZA140 (ex-G-ARVL/A4O-VL) in the foreground, has a Super in the left rear corner that shows a black stripe but not much of a yellow cheatline, so this may well be 5H-MMT as well, although we cannot be sure of course. The rest of the colourful cheatline may be hidden beneath the grime and/or paintstripper.
Anyway, that concludes this little puzzle for now.
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