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Maintaining the '10

Keeping a VC10 in the air is not just a case of topping off the fuel and kicking the tires. A lot of elbow grease is needed to perform all the tasks needed to ensure that an airframe is in good shape, to repair any problems and to complete major servicing on these aging airframes. To pay tribute to the men and women who keep the VC10s in the air here are some images (some old and some new) showing various scenes from line maintenance to major servicing.


Photo N. Angus

Photo N. Angus

Photo N. Angus
File0022.jpg (78982 bytes)
Photo via K. White

1. Inspections are a very important part of any aircraft's maintenance schedule, some of these can be done 'on the line'. VC10 K4 ZD242 is shown here with some inspection panels open.
2. Once it gets more complex (or the weather turns bad) the hangar is the next place to go to.
3. Here a VC10 is seen on jacks, surrounded by staging which gives access to any part of the airframe.
4. This photo shows that not much has changed inside the Brize Norton hangars! Same scene, but many years earlier.

File0023.jpg (74505 bytes)
Photo via K. White
File0024.jpg (92899 bytes)
Photo via K. White

Photo Crown copyright via D. Cobbold

Photo Crown copyright via D. Cobbold

1. C1 XR806 is the subject here, the spare wheel seen next to the front jack may indicate a wheel or brake issue that was receiving attention along with a lot of other tasks.
2. To get closer to the Conway engines a lot of panels open on the engine nacelles.
3. RAF St. Athan is the place where major servicing is done on the VC10. Two aircraft are seen here in front of the 'Twin Peaks' hangars.
4. VC10 K2 ZA143 is seen here parked in front of the hangar. She is engine-less and with all openings and windows taped over, probably awaiting major servicing.


Photo Crown copyright via D. Cobbold

Photo M. Burrell

Photo M. Burrell

Photo M. Burrell

1. Once work gets under way the aircraft is taken apart almost to the bare structure. A lot of inspections take place and all the components are replaced or refurbished.
2. With the major work over the systems and engines are tested and for this the aircraft moves outside again.
3. ZD242 is parked at the engine test facility, obviously not complete again as the weather radar and a lot of panels are still missing.
4. The structure that the aircraft is parked against is a silencer which helps to muffle the sound of the Conways, which is appreciated by those working or living nearby I'm sure.


Photo Crown copyright via D. Cobbold

Photo T. Everitt

Photo A. Townshend

Photo A. Townshend

1. At the end of the reassembly and the testing phase the aircraft is flown on an airtest and then departs RAF St. Athan again, usually in primer paint to be flown to the painters.
2. In some cases the aircraft is completely stripped to bare metal again for the repainting process. This photo shows a VC10 being masked off in preparation for its first layer of new paint.
3. You don't always get to choose where you have to perform maintenance, in this case a hydraulic pump decided to call it quits. The aircraft is VC10 K4 ZD240.
4. As can be seen from the skyline the location for this event was Mc.Carren International Airport in Las Vegas. There are worse places to spend an extra night!


Photo J. Thomas

Photo J. Thomas

Photo J. Thomas

Photo J. Thomas

1. VC10 K3 ZA147 'F' is parked at St. Athan after the completion of the type's last major servicing.
2. The same aircraft taxiing out for take off during the test flights which are performed after a major servicing.
3-4. Two more photos of ZA147 during the last two test flights. After completion of the test flights the airframe will be flown to the painter for new coat of grey.


Photo J. Thomas
     

1. ZA147 climbing away from St. Athan on 25 November 2010. With the last major service completed on this airframe St. Athan will only perform minor service on the VC10 from now on. The end of an era is drawing closer.

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