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News Archive - 2009/2010

Cosford Museum to receive VC10 Tanker

Shropshire Star, 29 December 2010

In a news article about upcoming additions to the RAF museum at Cosford mention is made of a VC10 which is to be added to the collection in 2011. While it is good to hear that a RAF VC10 Tanker will be preserved it is a bit odd that only four years back the museum really wanted to get rid of G-ARVM, the last airline configured Standard VC10 in the UK, with the fuselage eventually being saved by The Brooklands Museum. Let's hope that this VC10 will get its deserved retirement at the museum.

VC10 used for passenger carrying again as Tristars are grounded

Telegraph, 21 December 2010

In January the UK MOD decided not to carry passengers in VC10s anymore due to concerns over the aircrafts equipment in contrast to more modern designs. Today the RAF had to turn back that decision, with a senior officer signing waivers to allow RAF personnel to fly home on 101 Squadron's VC10s for their Christmas leave. This step became necessary as the Tristars of 216 Squadron developed problems that caused them to be temporarily grounded, leaving the RAF without a significant chunk of its passenger carrying capacity. For more read the article available through the link above.

VC10 now longest serving aircraft in RAF fleet

E-mail, 16 December 2010

Today the Harrier marked its final day as an active RAF aircraft with a 16 ship formation flight. With the retirement of the Harrier the VC10 is the longest serving aircraft in the RAF inventory. The oldest VC10 still in service is XR808 which was delivered on 7 July 1966, 44 years ago.

Final VC10 major completed at St. Athan

Forum, 9 December 2010

With ZA147's take off from St. Athan a chapter has closed. For 44 years the RAF has performed major servicing on VC10s, initially at RAF Brize Norton, then RAF Abingdon and finally at RAF St. Athan. Now that the last of these has been completed a large part of the workforce is leaving the base and the remainder has moved out of the 'Super hangar' and back into the older (but renovated) 'Twin Peaks' hangar as of mid-December when XV101 was delivered there for a minor servicing.

The sequence of photos below was taken on 25 November 2010 and shows ZA147 during the last two test flights after completion of the type's last major.

Photos J. Thomas

Defense Review confirms out of service date for 2013

BBC News/Defence Review, October 2010

The UK's latest defence review unleashes several cost cutting exercises which together should cut defence spending by 8% over the next four years. Amongst the cancelled carriers, Harriers and Nimrods is a line that confirms the fate of the current VC10 fleet:

"We will accordingly ... reduce the role of the VC10 transport/tanker aircraft to undertake air-to-air refuelling only, with the target of withdrawing it by 2013 as A330 enters service;"

Over the past few years several dates were thrown around, some of them creeping up towards 2020, but this confirms that in three years time the flying life of the VC10 should be over. Behind the scenes the schedule of spares reclamation from airframes will probably not change much. Currently GJD is working (or will soon start) on ZD242 which has been at Boscombe Down for the past few years undergoing testing to learn about airframe ageing.

In two years time the 50th anniversary of the VC10's first flight can be celebrated but while we may see a flypast for that event, it may well be the last significant celebration of the VC10's life that will include one.

Victoria Cross names to be reused

e-mail, July 2010

When XR807 and XV109 made their last landings at Bruntingthorpe in April 2010 (see here for photos of XV109) the names that they had carried ever since they were delivered to the RAF appeared to have been removed. I received an e-mail that explained that these names will be transferred to other aircraft in 101 Sqn's Tanker fleet. ZA147 will now be named after 'Sqn Ldr Arthur Scarf VC' (ex XV109) and ZA150 will take up the name of 'Fg Officer Donald Garland VC & Sgt Thomas Gray VC' (ex XR807). The RAF's VC10s will therefore continue to honour these VC holders.

Queens Birthday Flypast 2010

RAF Website, 12 June 2010

The flypast for HM The Queen's birthday included two VC10s as item three of the large formation that overflew Buckingham Palace on Sunday 12 June 2010.

Looking at the composition of the formation, the VC10s fly in trail AAR formation and together with the BBMF and the Tornado/Typhoon group are labeled as 'Homeland defence, future, present, past'. With the BBMF representing the past, and the Tornado/Typhoon being the present defence, does that mean that the VC10 is the future? I guess not but still, we can dream...

A4O-AB stars in music video, May 2010

It may not be your kind of music but have a good look at the video for Kate Nash's latest song 'Do Wah Doo' (click on the title on the righthand side of the TV). You see people boarding Viscount G-APIM 'Steven Piercey' at the beginning of it, but from that point on all the inside shots show VC10 A4O-AB, specifically the flight deck, rear cabin and executive washroom. If you take a look at the 'Making of...' video on the same page there are some outside shots as well.

XR807 and XV109 make their final landing at Bruntingthorpe

Flypast forums, April 2010

Tuesday the 6th of April saw the ferry flight and last landings of C1K airframes XR807 and XV109. They arrived at Bruntingthorpe to be 'spares recovered' by GJD Services. This means that any component that will help in keeping the other 13 airframes in the air will be removed with the remains cut up for scrap metal. To see video footage of their arrival click here or here.

XR807 and XV109 at Bruntingthorpe shortly after their arrival

Not much time is wasted in getting underway, with fencing installed the decommissioning work has started

View looking aft inside XV109

The control wheel buttons have disappeared already, a flight crew souvenir?

Photos F. Wallace

Two airframes to be phased out in April 2010

GJD Services, March 2010

Bruntingthorpe based GJD Services have been awarded the contract to dispose of the current RAF VC10 fleet as the airframes are phased out of service. Most of this work will be done at Bruntingthorpe but those aircraft destined for preservation will be prepared at their final destination. The press release does not mention numbers and locations unfortunately.

The first two airframes are expected to be flown to Bruntingthorpe in early April, C1Ks XR807 and XV109 will be the likely victims.

UK Ministry of Defence updates VC10 statement

Flight International, 22 January 2010

In an updated statement the Ministry of Defence now states that the VC10 "remains safe to fly". The VC10 continues to be used to carry passengers but has been temporarily removed from a small number of tasks while the basis on which passengers fly in the aircraft is being reviewed. More after the link above.

RAF suspends passenger operations with VC10s

Flight International, 19 January 2010

The Royal Air Force has announced today that it will no longer employ the VC10s of 101 Sqn for passenger carrying operations. That means that after 48 years the days of the VC10 as a passenger aircraft are over. This is not the end of the line though, the VC10 will continue to operate as a tanker aircraft and will most likely also carry cargo. The aircraft will continue to serve with 101 Sqn until replaced by the A330-200 based FSTA.

What, no VC10...?

New York Public library, 2009

What can I say, I'm disappointed....

Photo J. Hieminga

XR806 is no more...

Forum, 30 October 2009

Early in September the nose section of XR806, a long time resident of RAF Brize Norton ever since its accident in 1997, was moved out onto the airfield from its location between the structures and paint bay where it had been in use for battle damage repair training. At that point it was to be used for fire training. Often this is the last assignment for a piece of airframe structure and this was no different. During the last week of October the remains of XR806 were completely scrapped and removed from the airfield. Click on the forum link above to view some photos of this nose section at its last location.

Queen's Birthday Flypast 2009 and RAF Brize Norton Families Day

Flypast forums, 13 June 2009

This year's birthday flypast for Her Majesty The Queen will consist of five elements. The third element consists of a VC10 with two Tornado GR4s.

Some photos of this formation as well as other photos from the RAF Brize Norton Families day (including a VC10/Vulcan formation) can be seen on the Flypast Forums (photos Nick Blacow) and on PlaneTalk here (photos Damien Burke) and here (photos Chris Haywood). Careful, there are a lot of Vulcan photos there as well! (I'm sure you won't mind though.)

First VC10 replacement flies

RAF, 10 June 2009

The first airframe destined to replace the VC10 in service as the new Multi-Role Tanker Transport has flown from Airbus home base Toulouse. In July it will move to Airbus Military in Madrid for outfitting as a tanker aircraft. Photos can be seen through the link above.

End of RAF operations in Iraq

BBC & RAF, 4 June 2009

Ever since the first Gulf War in 1990 the RAF has been active in and around Iraqi airspace. After 19 years of service in the Middle East the RAF has now pulled back its assets from this area. RAF Marham was treated to the sight of three VC10s in formation as they escorted Tornados from resident XIII Squadron home, carrying aircrew and support personnel. Follow the links above for news coverage including footage of the flypast.

Another Corgi VC10 available

Corgi Newsletter, May 2009

The fourth Corgi VC10 model, this one in early BOAC colours, is now available to order. Details are on the Corgi website, but you can also ask your local Corgi dealer of course.

For a photo of the pre-production version of this model have a look at the VC10 models page.

And in a nice twist the announcements for the second half of this year now show a fifth VC10 model again in 101 Sqn colours. This model has been announced before but was dropped due to low orders. Apparently this decision has now been reversed again. There are photos of a pre-production model on the Unofficial Aviation Archive

Air-to-Air refuelling by the VC10 tankers of 101 Squadron

Times Online, via I. McMillan, March 2009

The Times looks at the operations of the VC10 with 101 Squadron, describing a typical Air-to-Air refuelling sortie over the North Sea and looking back at the VC10's history.

Click here to read the article.

Vickers VC10 – AEW, Pofflers and other Unbuilt Variants

Author, March 2009

Due to hit the shelves in a few weeks is a new book written by Chris Gibson about the unbuilt military variants of the VC10. For the first time a closer look at all the plans that Vickers based upon the VC10 design is available, featuring archive material, drawings and new artwork.

Many of the options offered featured new and interesting approaches to the problem of fitting military hardware for one or more roles into an airframe. This led to multi-role variants, including one where the nose section of the aircraft could be exchanged for one equipped for another specific role. Another interesting story is the AEW project. In this competition the VC10 may have made a much better platform than the Nimrod that was trialed, which eventually was passed over by the venerable Shackleton.

So, do you want to know what a 'Poffler' is? The book should be available from the first week of April and can be ordered from Amazon through the link below:

Vickers VC10: AEW, Pofflers and Other Unbuilt Variants: Project Tech Profile

New 1:200 model brand on the market

Aviation Megastore, January 2009

For those enthusiasts collecting 1:200 scale models the range has been pretty limited with just the Collector's Aircraft Model shop stocking British made, limited run models. Recently JC Wings has sprung up as a new brand with a range of 1:400 and 1:200 models. All models are limited to 500 pieces worldwide so if you are interested I would suggest a quick trip to your preferred supplier. I haven't been able to locate a website for the company but the two links below are shops stocking the models. Initially a BOAC and BA VC10 have been issued with the BA model having sold out at some locations already. An RAe XX914 version is now available for pre-orders.

Replica Miniatures

Aviation Megastore

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