The VC10 managed to reach the eye of the public in many ways. This page shows some of the publications and other artefacts that are related to the VC10 in its civil life.
This wonderful toy was marketed by Airfix, well known for its plastic model kits. It enabled the lucky owner to play the part of a BOAC VC10 Captain, complete with matching hat. Compared to the toys available nowadays it did require a bit more imagination, although according to the box the engine noise was simulated (batteries required).
Photos A. Townshend
The VC10 was every boy's dream of course, and it is not surprising that Ranger, the National Magazine for Boys, took the time to tell them about it in this brochure. As the text may be hard to read on some pages here are some quotes:
"Four Rolls-Royce Conway engines power our VC10. They have no silencers - because they are already quiet enough without them."
And after explaining briefly how the engine works:
"That busy process is often accompanied by considerable noise. Not so with our aircraft. Not only are its Conway engines extra quiet but they are mounted at the rear of the plane. The effect of this clever idea is that the aircraft flies ahead of its own noise. For passengers like us it is like flying in a gentle giant."
The people on the ground were not really considered in those days I guess! Apart from this the real gem in this brochure is the poetry on the last page titled 'To the Captain of a VC10'.
Where better to park a pint.....
Images via A. Townshend and D. Garwood
A favourite of mine, and the inspiration for the title of the site: A BOAC bumper sticker.
Plenty of post cards have been produced over the years, the two below were specific promotion items from the airlines.
The VC10 reached many a magazine cover, especially in the first years of its existence.
1. Flight International, 21 June 1962
Images via A. Townshend
Thanks to Paul Robinson here are some more covers featuring VC10s.
1. Airlines & Airliners, issue 2, summer 1993
Images via P. Robinson
First flight covers were flown on several of BOAC's inaugural flights, organised by their 'exclusive philatelic agents'. Judging by the examples below, there was a range of these covers, which were issued over several years.
The first service to the Seychelles was flown on 3-4th July 1971 using G-ASGM.
Image via A. Townshend
Another category is special philatelic covers to commemorate events such as G-ARTA's first flight. Aerodynamicist Heinz Vogel was the driving force behind the VAFA covers that were flown on various VC10s over the years, as well as on other types to commemorate various significant dates from British aviation history. The main VC10 related cover is VAFA number 9, as shown below, as that was produced to commemorate the first flight of G-ARTA on 29th June 1962. The commemorative flypast by XR806 25 years later was the main event where these covers were carried and Heinz Vogel organised signatures from the crew as well as various people who had been involved with the type. The text of the insert is reproduced on this page.
British United Airways also flew some special covers, in this case to East Africa on the occasion of their first service in November 1964.
Another interesting cover is this one, which was issued for the first Bahrain-London operation for Gulf Aviation on 5th April 1970. By this time, the operation was carried out using leased or borrowed BOAC VC10s, it would take another four years until Gulf Air would fly the route using its own VC10s, starting with G-ARVI on 1st April 1974. This cover also includes special stamps.
Sometimes, a famous passenger led to the creation of an unplanned souvenir. Knowing that his wife was a great fan, when Captain Frish found out that Yehudi Menuhin was a passenger on flight BA772 on 2nd September 1967, he asked him to sign a menu.
In the days before in flight entertainment systems the Flight Bulletin was the way to let the passengers know how high and how fast they were flying.
1. The early position reports were firm cards with a colourful map on the front, with the route drawn in.
1. Another position report from G-ARVE on a Nairobi to London flight, unfortunately the date is not mentioned.
Images via G. Hall / collection J. Hieminga
1-3. A menu from a BOAC service between London and Salisbury via Frankfurt and Nairobi.
1. This Nigeria Airways service WT929 flew from London to Barcelona, to Kano and then to Lagos.
1-3. The rest of the menu.
When airline personnel retired, they often received a framed print that was signed by all their colleagues. There are many variants around, each different as a range of related prints was available and the team that signed it differed for each retirement. The print below is in the care of the Brooklands Museum. Get in touch if you recognise any signatures/names. There are more retirement prints on this page.
1. This print was presented to Joe Searle upon his retirement from the VC10 fleet in July 1980. In April 1980 he had been part of the crew for G-ASGC's last flight.
Before each flight a loadsheet is prepared to determine the aircraft's weight and balance and to ensure that each is within the limitations of the aircraft. This particular sheet is for flight BA591, Super VC10 G-ASGC from London Heathrow to John F. Kennedy Airport, New York.
For a larger and better readable version click here.
Image via G. Hall
Another important piece of paperwork: the itinerary for a five man cabin crew scheduling them for a 17 day trip to the far east. Some ports of call: Tokyo (HND), Hong Kong (HKG), Colombo, Sri Lanka (CMB), Seychelles (SEZ), Johannesburg (JNB) and Nairobi, Kenya (NBO). Of interest is the note: After Take Off from Tokyo the aircraft suffered an engine failure and had to turn back. The next sector to Hong Kong was then flown as a three-engined ferry flight without passengers.
Image via G. Hall
These photos show the safety cards that were used by Gulf Air on their VC10s between 1974 and 1978
Images via A. Townshend
This poster was produced to show the new colourscheme that was introduced for BUA in September 1966.
A 400 piece puzzle showing a BOAC VC10 over an exotic harbour (could it be Hong Kong?)
This biscuit tin shows a familiar advertising image, showing a BOAC VC10 in the early colours that were only worn during testing. This artwork shows up in many places and was obviously also the basis for the puzzle shown above. The inside of the lid has a bit of information about the type and a welcome aboard message. These tins (measuring 195 x 103 x 35 mm) may have been sold on board as souvenirs, or they may have been produced as gifts.
Photos K. Moulijn
Pre-printed air mail letters were used in the past to save on weight when using this expensive mode of transport for a simple letter. Some of these were issued with a VC10 stamp on them.
Photo G. Pollard
Free with Shredded Wheat: your very own VC10. This is a deluxe version, it flies and sounds just like a real one! For those with spare time, click here for a PDF version that can be easily printed to build your own aircraft (don't forget to e-mail photos).
Images via J. Downes
This wonderful item was donated by Mr. Uwe Horn. An original BOAC VC10 tie, made from sturdy polyester.
Photos J. Hieminga
In 2013 after XR808 was delivered to Bruntingthorpe, two members of the forum on this site (Helen and Andy) took it upon themselves to design and produce a commemorative polo shirt. Any profits from this undertaking were earmarked for the preservation of XR808. Two batches of these quality polo shirts were produced and they were regularly seen at both the Brize Norton photo event and the two last retirements during September 2013. In 2015 once XR808 was safely at RAF Museum Cosford the money collected (GBP 285) was handed over to the museum, earmarked for the upkeep of XR808.
Photos J. Hieminga
Inspired by the VC10, Michael Travis of 60's band the Jet Set composed a musical tribute to the VC10. This 'modern' styled tribute with a catchy theme tries to capture the grace and elegance of the design, while the B-side, 'Cruising 600', tries to capture the feeling of comfort and delight as enjoyed by the passengers. Mr. Michael Eskriett was kind enough to let me use these images and MP3 recordings of the record that he bought (with autographs of the band!).
Here is something that might spark some memories for some people: I spoke to someone a while ago, and he told me that his father had an old record which was issued to commemorate the entry into service of the VC10. He made a recording from it and converted this to MP3 format so that I can let you listen to these unique sound fragments. There are several things on the record, on side A you will hear about the VC10's construction, including sounds of the Conway engines on the engine test bed, and it ends with the sound of G-ARTA taking off from Brooklands on its first flight. On side B you will fly along with a BOAC crew from Nairobi to London, and you can hear fragments of radio communications with Nairobi, Rome and London controllers. With many thanks to Jeroen Braat for converting the files and providing them to me! Additional images of the record itself and the inlay were provided by A. Townshend.
This small box with a short Super 8 movie was most likely sold aboard BUA flights to holiday-goers or on the airport. According to the text on the box it would make your home movie have that 'extra touch of distinction'. From that it was probably meant to be spliced into people's own movies so that it would look different but also to show the viewers that this family flew with BUA!
The files below are my first attempt at recording from vinyl and editing the results, so please accept my apologies at the relatively large filesizes, and the lack of quality in the recording. I tried my best to get rid of some of the clicks etcetera but this also left me with a more muddled sound (yes, even more) so the MP3s below are not as clean as I wanted, but they do deliver a relatively simple sound experience. The first file is a continuous recording of a VC10 starting up and taxiing away, the second file contains two segments recorded inside a VC10, as explained on the label.
I recently found an online BBC Sound effects collection, which may well contain these same sound files in much better quality: BBC Sound Effects (VC10).