Gwyn Mullet 1946 - 2015
PPRuNe, December 2015
I only found out this weekend that Gwyn Mullet passed away in his sleep on 23 June 2015. After his fourth retirement in 2010 Gwyn settled down in Berlin with his wife Johanna and put pen to paper to record the ups and downs of his flying and personal life. This led to two books of which part one covers his early years, flying training and early BOAC/BA career on the VC10 and 747. Part two chronicles the rest of his BA career on the 737 and 747 and he had a part three in the planning to explain how he managed to retire three more times after the first such occasion from BA in 2001.
In his books he did not spare himself, he was brutally honest about the adventures he found himself in and the results on his personal life. This honesty is coupled with a good sense of humour which undoubtedly helped him through some darker times. The end result of this are two very readable books that provide an insight into the life and loves of an airline pilot who flew for a mainline airline for over 30 years. He was kind enough to share some of his stories for use on my site and if you want a taster, please do have a look at The Atlantic Dash and African Fruitbaskets. He was a great storyteller and a true gentleman. I'll shamelessly plug his books one more time.
10 Squadron - A Centennial History
10 Squadron Association - November 2015
On 1st January 2015 10 Squadron celebrated its 100th anniversary. This RAF Squadron has been active in both World Wars, initially in spotting and bombing roles and later as part of Bomber Command. Its post WWII history includes periods with both Transport Command and Bomber Command but the squadron is of course very much linked to the VC10 through its 39-year association with this iconic type. To commemorate the squadron's centennial, 10 Squadron Association historians Ian McMillan and Richard King have produced a book chronicling the century-long history of 10 Squadron. This book will be available soon through the association (you do not need to be a member) and ordering details are on their website (click on this link). For £25 (+ £5 p&p for the UK) you will receive a 344 page illustrated tome featuring a VC10 painting by Mandy Shepherd on the cover.
Rebuild of XR808 has been completed at RAF Museum
RAF Museum website, November 2015
The RAF Museum has announced that VC10 C1K XR808, also known as 'Bob', is now complete, parked in her display spot and on public display. This completes an eight month process of careful dismantling, some 'interesting' road moves with the fuselage and wings being the most tricky ones, and a meticulous reassembly. Having XR808 safe and complete in her new home would not have been possible without all the hard work by GJD Services, supported by the transportation, haulage and crane companies (Cook Transport being one), BAE Systems Heritage and the RAF Charitable Trust.
At the museum XR808 is parked next to Lockheed C-130K Mk.3 XV202. In this position the aircraft will also be used as a 'living classroom' to support the RAF Charitable Trust's aim to inspire and encourage young people to consider a career in aviation and learn about the technology. The spacious interior is very much suited to this new task, even though it will be a new one after so many years of carrying people (including VIPs) and cargo. The strengthened floor of a VC10 C1 can carry almost anything!
XR808 moved to new parking place and nearing completion
GJD services/XR808 Facebook page, October 2015
The work on rebuilding XR808 after its journey from Bruntingthorpe to RAF Cosford is nearing completion. On Friday 16th October the airframe has been moved to a new position on the museum site, next to the resident Hercules, where it will remain on display. Having reinstalled the lefthand outboard wing panel and the engines last week, the team will now just have the righthand wing panel as the final large bit that needs reattaching. After that the refuelling pods will go back on and the visiting public will no longer be able to tell that this particular aircraft once resembled a large Airfix kit. See the Facebook page linked to above, or the one for this site, for photos.
SGT Thomas Mottershead VC DCM Statue Appeal
Appeal website, September 2015
A charity appeal has been launched to raise funds for a statue of SGT Thomas Mottershead VC DCM in his home town, Widnes. Thomas Mottershead was the only non-commissioned Royal Flying Corps pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross and for 44 years the scroll with his name flew on XV106, and later on XR808. Please visit the appeal website to see how you can help: the SGT Thomas Mottershead VC DCM Statue Appeal.
Image copyright R. Collins / Mottershead Statue appeal
Partial repaint for G-ASGC at Duxford
Key Publishing forums, September 2015
Duxford based Super VC10 G-ASGC was recently spotted with scaffolding surrounding the fuselage. The last time work was carried out on the outside of the VC10 was in 2011, the aircraft received some minor touching up to her BOAC paintscheme before starring in a British Airways commercial, this time the fuselage top will be repainted.
Photos D. Whitworth
ZA150's public debut
Andysvideo.com, September 2015
At the Wings & Wheels event on 30th August 2015, Brooklands Museum owned ZA150 made its public debut, performing a taxi run up and down the Dunsfold runway where it performed its last landing almost two years ago. There was some competition on the day, with ZD241 also running at the Cold War Jets day at Bruntingthorpe. Those who came to Dunsfold were treated to a wonderful show with both cars and aircraft performing at the two day event. If you weren't able to be there, the next best thing is the following video which was produced by Andy Lambert using several camera's in the aircraft and on a chase vehicle. Do visit his Youtube Channel for more great videos! Make sure to switch to full screen and choose the HD version, the footage was shot in 4K quality.
Upcoming taxi runs next weekend
This next weekend will see two VC10s performing taxi runs on the same day, subject to serviceability of course.
Dunsfold-based ZA150 carried out a practice run on 18th August to show the show organisers that both the aircraft and team were ready for their public debut. Both passed with flying colours. The Wings & Wheels show is a two day event on 29th and 30 August but the VC10 will only run on the Sunday morning around 9:30am. The aircraft will be open to the public on both days, for an extra charge which will go towards the maintenance and upkeep of the aircraft. For more info about the show: http://www.wingsandwheels.net/
Bruntingthorpe-based K4 ZD241 will close the show on the second Cold War Jets day of 2015 on 30th August. Having performed several times at this event, no doubt the last run of the day will be as impressive as earlier efforts. Most likely the VC10 will run around 15:30 or 15:45 but the exact schedule has not been published yet. More info can be found here: http://www.bruntingthorpeaviation.com/open-days/
The sad events at Shoreham last weekend have certainly made everyone aware once again of the risks that are involved in aviation. I think that this next weekend will enable us to do two things at once: spare a moment for those who lost their lives at Shoreham or are still fighting for their life, and at the same time enjoy a day out looking at and listening to some of the great designs that aviation has produced over the years.
New decal sheet now available
RAM Models, August 2015
As announced in April, a new decalsheet for 1/144 scale models featuring the four special tails that were carried by VC10s has been released. There has been a small delay but the end result is now available through the link above. These are high quality waterslide decals and the attention to detail is amazing. Every small marking on the aircraft is faithfully reproduced and there are four very extensive instruction sheets included, one for every scheme.
Photo J. Hieminga, decals kindly provided by RAM Models
ZA148 moved to new parking place at Newquay
Newquay, 10th July 2015
After the Classic Air Force pulled out of the Newquay facility, the word emerged pretty soon that a new museum would be set up to maintain the collection of aircraft at the base. With a Varsity, Canberra, BAC 1-11, Harrier, Sea Devon, Lightning, two Hunters and some other stuff the collection is well worth preserving and then of course there is the VC10 K3 ZA148 as the star of the new museum. On 10th July the VC10 and 1-11 were moved to the new location of the museum, next to Hardened Aircraft Shelter (HAS) 3 which will house the main part of the collection. The VC10 will remain outside at the new location but now that at least one major shareholder has stepped in to secure the future of the aircraft, we can breathe a little easier. For photos of the move, see this page on the website's forum.
Trial Taxi Run for ZA150
Dunsfold, 7th July 2015
ZA150 has not been very active since its retirement but that doesn't mean that nothing is happening at Dunsfold. ZA150 is still very much a live airframe, never having been decommisioned like the other VC10s. It is maintained in this condition by a dedicated team and the culmination of their work was this trial taxi run down the Dunsfold runway on 7th July 2015.
Video M. Chaplin
ZA149 to move to Sharjah in Gulf Air colours
Bruntingthorpe, 27th June 2015
The front fuselage of ex-EAA 5X-UVJ, now ZA149, is still at Bruntingthorpe and is being repainted before moving to the United Arab Emirates. It is due to be shipped to Sharjah which means that it will most likely take up residence in the Al Mahatta Museum which is a small aviation museum. It celebrates the history of flight in the UAE region and hosts a small collection of aircraft types that have flown for Gulf Air, including an Anson, a deHavilland Dove and Heron, a C-47 and the front fuselage of a deHavilland Comet. ZA149 will represent the five Standard VC10s that spent three intensive years flying from the Gulf region. The colours chosen are those of the 'Golden Falcon' scheme that was carried by A4O-VI and A4O-VL, and which continued to adorn the later Gulf Air fleet until 2003. The interior is being refurbished to represent a typical civil VC10 interior.
Photos J. Hieminga
XR808 'Bob' has moved to RAF Cosford
XR808 Facebook page, RAF Museum, 21 June 2015
During the past week the final major parts were unbolted from XR808 and loaded onto trailers. The forward fuselage, the largest part of this VC10 after its careful dismantling, started the journey to RAF Cosford today. The 93 ft long section was loaded on a special trailer from Cook Transport and traveled at a gentle pace from the Leicestershire airfield which has been its temporary home since July 2013. After a long journey the transport reached the airfield, having negotiated the M69, M54, some less roomy streets in and around Shifnal and a fairly low railway bridge. The inner wings made the same journey on Sunday 28th June and were reattached to the fuselage. Several more loads are needed before 'Bob' is complete again but some major hurdles have been taken.
Images RAF Museum
Cold War Jets Day 24 May 2015
Bruntingthorpe Aviation, May 2015
The next Cold War Jets day at Bruntingthorpe is coming up on 24th May. Details are available through the link above or on the poster below. Along with the other types, VC10 ZD241 will once again fire up to roar down the runway. Make sure to visit ZD241 on this day as new merchandise will be available to support this VC10!
New Decal Sheets from RAM Models
RAM Models, April 2015
UK company RAM models have just released a new decal sheet that includes the four special schemes that were carried by the RAF VC10s. It is meant to be used with the 1/144 Airfix kit which originally builds a K2 tanker. The four special schemes are:
There may be more in store from this company as they recently announced having purchased all the tooling from the Airways Vacform kits range, which includes a 1/72 VC10 model. Keep an eye on their website linked to above or their Facebook page.
CAF Newquay facility to close
Classic Air Force Live, March 2015
In 2013 the Classic Air Force was the first to offer a home to one of the VC10 K3 tankers when they took on ZA148 and offered it a home at their new base at Newquay in Cornwall. In April 2014 the old Air Atlantique home at Coventry airport, the original home of the organisation, once again opened to visitors and today the announcement was made that the organisation will not be able to support two locations which means that the Newquay facility will soon close, only two years after its opening.
Initial responses to the Facebook announcements are understandably heated but when reading through the responses from the Newquay team, there is also an underlying reassurance that there is a plan in place. The team has mentioned that the aircraft which are not flyable will be well dealt with. Next to VC10 K3 ZA148 the airport is now also home to ZH763, the last BAC 1-11 to fly in the UK, an airframe which is still pretty close to its previous airworthy state although the last engine run was not as successfull as hoped. The smaller static airframes are obviously able to be moved by road but the VC10, 1-11 and perhaps also the Vickers Varsity and Canberra may face a different future.
Time will tell what will happen but it makes the advertisement on the back cover of the VC10 special magazine from Key (a large photo of ZA148 with 'come visit us') somewhat poignant.
Key publishing VC10 special now out
Key publishing website, February 2015
Author Stephen Skinner, who has published books about the 1-11, BAC and Wisley airfield amongst others, has created a magazine special about the VC10. Key publishing has now released this 116 page special as a tribute to the VC10. It includes production lists, a look at the type's development, various careers and more. To order online visit the link above, otherwise a trip to the local bookshop or newsagent might be needed!
Image copyright Key Publishing
BOAC book from Scoval Publishing and new website
Scoval Publishing, January 2015
There are a few books about BOAC already but Scoval Publishing has released a pictorial history of the airline and its associated companies. The book will only be available through the publisher itself, for more details see the advertisement below. The company has started the new year with a new website to showcase its publications and sample pages of the BOAC book can be viewed on this site. There is also information about the release of Scott Henderson's new VC10 book which is now planned for mid 2015.
Ordering details: "Only available direct from Scoval Publishing Ltd. £40 + £5,00 p&p (UK). Payment by cheque, Paypal or BACS. For further details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 01661 820838 or write to 91 Middle Drive, Ponteland. Newcastle upon Tyne, NE20 9DW. For overseas orders, please contact us for details on postage and packing."
Images copyright Scoval Publishing