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C/n 801/2 - Test Specimen
C/n 803 - G-ARTA
C/n 804 - G-ARVA - 5N-ABD
C/n 805 - G-ARVB
C/n 806 - G-ARVC - ZA144
C/n 807 - G-ARVE
C/n 808 - G-ARVF
C/n 809 - G-ARVG - ZA141
C/n 810 - G-ARVH
C/n 811 - G-ARVI - ZA142
C/n 812 - G-ARVJ - ZD493
C/n 813 - G-ARVK - ZA143
C/n 814 - G-ARVL - ZA140
C/n 815 - G-ARVM
C/n 819 - G-ASIW - 7Q-YKH
C/n 820 - G-ASIX - A4O-AB
C/n 823 - 9G-ABO
C/n 824 - 9G-ABP
C/n 825 - G-ATDJ - XX914
C/n 826 - XR806
C/n 827 - XR807
C/n 828 - XR808
C/n 829 - XR809
C/n 830 - XR810
C/n 836 - XV106
C/n 837 - XV107
C/n 838 - XV108
C/n 839 - XV109
C/n 851 - G-ASGA - ZD230
C/n 853 - G-ASGC
C/n 863 - G-ASGM - ZD241
C/n 881 - 5X-UVA
C/n 882 - 5H-MMT - ZA147
C/n 883 - 5Y-ADA - ZA148
C/n 884 - 5X-UVJ - ZA149
C/n 885 - 5H-MOG - ZA150

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C/n 804 - G-ARVA - 5N-ABD

Timeline

Date  
7 October 1962 Rolled-out for engine runs and system tests to commence.
8 November 1962 First flight.
16 January 1963 Registered as G-ARVA to BOAC.
7 June 1963 Flew back to Brooklands for drag reducing modifications to slats and engine nacelles.
July 1963 Rejoined other VC10s at Wisley.
9 August 1963 Certificate of Airworthiness issued.
12-19? August 1963 Spent one week at Aden for hot weather engine ground running trials.
5 May 1964 Ferried to Brooklands by John Cochrane and Eric Bucklow for removal of test equipment and refurbishment to production standard. 'VA was the only airframe from the testing fleet to be refurbished at the factory, the others went to Marshall for this.
8 December 1964 Delivery to BOAC as G-ARVA
1964 Wet-leased to Nigeria Airways in BOAC colours with Nigeria Airways stickers.
1966 Back from lease.
September 1969 Sold to Nigeria Airways.
29 September 1969 Re-registered as 5N-ABD.
20 November 1969 Lost in accident at Lagos, Nigeria.

Photos


Photo copyright BAE Systems

Photo copyright BAE Systems/Brooklands Museum archives

Photo copyright BAE Systems/Brooklands Museum archives

Photo copyright BAE Systems/Brooklands Museum archives

1. The first production VC10, G-ARVA, is seen here behind the fuselage of G-ARVB on the assembly line at the Weybridge factory.
2. G-ARVA, the first of 42 Vickers VC10 airliners ordered by BOAC, made a successful maiden flight from Weybridge on Thursday, November 8th, 1962. Despite an 8 knot tailwind the VC10 was airborne in less than 800 yards. Due to low visibility, it was flown straight to the flight test airfield at Wisley, where it joins G-ARTA, the company owned first VC10, which has logged over 100 hours flying since June 29th 1962. Vickers chief test pilot, Brian Trubshaw, with Bill Cairns as co-pilot, captained the aircraft
3. G-ARVA parked at Wisley with ground supplies of air and electricity connected, this may have been a promotional photo for the company that supplied the GPU. 'VA was allocated to system testing in the flight test programme.
4. On this photo G-ARVA is parked at Wisley behind Gloster Javelin XA778, the tail of prototype G-ARTA is in the foreground. The Javelin was normally based at Boscombe Down but this aircraft was fitted with sensitive calibrated instruments and was used to fly with (most likely) G-ARTA to verify the readings of its pitot-static system.


Photo J. Davey

Photo J. Davey

Photo J. Davey

Photo J. Davey

1. On 12th August 1963 G-ARVA flew to Aden for hot weather engine tests. An East African Airways Comet 4 can be seen on the apron.
2. John Davey took these photos of the landing, taxi in and the aircraft parked on the apron. The Aden Airways Argonaut is an ex-BOAC aircraft, the livery is the same one as applied on G-ARVA but with different titles.
3. Parked on the apron with a welcoming comittee around the aircraft.
4. A few days later, on August 14th, John was allowed on to the apron to take more photos of G-ARVA. He, along with his friend, was also invited on board for a look around.


Photo J. Davey

Photo J. Davey

Photo J. Hughes

Photo collection J. Hieminga

1. G-ARVA at Aden with white-suited engineers looking after her.
2. G-ARVA's tail as seen at Aden.
3. G-ARVA coming in to land at Heathrow in 1965 with frost under the wings from the cold soaked fuel. At this point it carries the first 'Golden Speedbird' livery with the stepped cheatline.
4. In 1964 G-ARVA was wet-leased to Nigeria Airways. Stickers were used to modify the BOAC scheme.


Photo K. Till

Photo F. Renaud

Photo P. Huxford / Mach III Plus

Photo via L. Holden

1. Keith Till spotted G-ARVA at Heathrow in July 1966. It has been repainted in the second variant of the Golden Speedbird livery which was introduced on the Super VC10.
2. G-ARVA is seen here in Khartoum, Sudan in August 1966.
3. 5N-ABD parked at Heathrow in 1969, perhaps before delivery to Nigeria Airways.
4. This photo shows that the livery applied to 5N-ABD was different from the one carried by G-ARVC, sadly 5N-ABD only flew in this livery for a few months before its fatal crash.

 

Colourschemes

Vickers /BOAC BOAC scheme of white over grey fuselage, dark-blue cheatline and fin with two white bands over fin.
BOAC First version of BOAC 'Golden Speedbird' scheme with stepped, gold-edged dark-blue cheatline. Grey lower fuselage and white upper fuselage. Dark-blue fin with gold speedbird logo.
BOAC Second version of BOAC 'Golden Speedbird' scheme, golden edge on cheatline removed and cheatline now arcs smoothly down towards the nose without the step of the previous scheme.
NA White fuselage, grey underside. Green cheatline and Nigeria flag on fin.

 

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