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VC10 Memories

The VC10 has been around for a long time and it still inspires everyone who has ever flown, or flown on them for the RAF or one of its civil operators, as well as all those who have worked with the type. Memories are now the only thing left from the flying days of the VC10. I think it is important that memories - stories that tell much more than mere facts can do - should be treasured. For this purpose I would like to collect VC10 memories on this site. Any stories, recollections, reminisces or ramblings, experiences - humorous or otherwise - and also photos. As long as they somehow feature a VC10 please mail them to me if you would like to see them included in this site (please state if you want your E-mail address published with the story or not). The rest of my site mainly collects the facts of the VC10's career, I would like to collect the personal experiences here.

This section has been subdivided into several pages to keep the loading times reasonable and to group 'themed' stories together as much as possible. The first link in each paragraph goes to the top of the respective page but after that the links go directly to the individual stories. Any stories that have not yet been re-located are listed further down the page.

Flight testing the VC10 - When the VC10 design was still new it was the flight test crews that got to experience flying on a VC10 for the first time. Before this could be done they needed an escape route just in case something went really wrong. Once the test program got going, engineers from different departments got to fly along. This included a trip to Nigeria to test the air conditioning. Something that isn't often realised is that a lot of data is produced during flight testing and this needs to be processed, for example by an IBM expert, to get the needed results. Some of these test flights to distant airfields also provided interesting sights for the locals. The crews themselves, including the pilots, were only human of course and managed to weave some interesting games into their day to day flying.

The first flight as seen from the left seat - Vickers' Chief Test Pilot 'Jock' Bryce wrote this story about his experiences getting ready for G-ARTA's first take-off.

Trials and Tribulations - This is the title that Maurice Ungless gave to his reminisces of working as a ground crew member during the very early days of the VC10's development. Three pages of stories and photos tell about Maurice's work and travels, including trips to Spain and South Africa so that hot and high conditions could be sampled. (Page 2, Page 3)

Operating VC10s in Africa - The design of the VC10 was optimised for airfields in the Middle East and Africa where temperature and altitudes troubled many an American-designed airliner. Along with these challenges, one passenger remembers that flying on Air Malawi just felt different. For the BOAC crews that flew on these routes, it meant that they sometimes had to entertain people like Idi Amin. The best way to describe the operations in those days of course is to show what it was like, such as in this video from David Samways, or through these photos from Nigel Human's father. Flying back and forth between Malawi and the UK regularly, Julian Fitzherbert describes how he experienced two 'lasts' while Phil Hogge describes operating the VC10s, and all the charms of Africa that came along with flying on those routes. One bonus that was available to the crews was the opportunity to bring back some fruit that was otherwise unobtainable in the UK. Tony Russell was not an occasional visitor but worked for East African Airlines for several years, keeping their VC10s flying. John Anderson explains how a shipment of mortar barrels led to a detained VC10. Getting back to the charms of the continent, 'The Village' tells of an early morning experience in an African village.

VC10 Characters - This page was created to commemorate all the men and women who worked on, with or just enjoyed the VC10. It includes several stories and photos but could use many more.

Addis Ababa 1972 - This story is about the tragic crash of 5X-UVA on 18 April 1972. Harriet Ware-Austin lost her two sisters as a result of that crash.

IFR Conditions on the Flight Deck - In April 1966 Super VC10 G-ASGC was operating from New York to Manchester when the flight deck was suddenly filled with dense smoke. Both the Flight Engineer and the Co-Pilot from that flight relate their views (or lack thereof) of this memorable flight.

Radio Development on the VC10 - Chris Mitchell remembers how development of the various radio navigation aids for the VC10s didn't always go as planned.

White Waltham Silver Jubilee Air Show - This page lists all the stories, including some video, about the flypasts that G-ARVM carried out during this air show in 1977.

From the Cabin is a collection of memories that are somehow linked to the experience that passengers had while traveling on a VC10. Running all the way from pranks to MiG interceptions, while including photos of Times Square and mountains, and lots more (such as this story of an amorous couple in first class, memorabelia from the last British Airways VC10 flight, or memorabelia that did not turn up.).

The two lists below still reflect the 'old style' Memories section, click on a link to go to that story. Most of them are on two main pages but there are also a few separate pages (as indicated).

Testing and airline days:

Brian Trubshaw remembered - G-ASIW tail damage

Destination Aden

London to Nairobi by BOAC VC10

First Flights

East African Airways maintenance

Politics and VC10s

Peril lurking in 1st class (Separate page)

The Chinese Seaman incident

The VIP and Tampax

Vickers' Chocolate Works

How to spot a VC10

Scenery at a VC10 mainline station

Holiday to the Seychelles

Marketing the VC10 in South America

The first and last VC10 flight of Captain Richard King (Separate Page)

The Atlantic Dash

Redesigning a VC10

The aircraft I didn't want to fly (Separate page)

The watch that never arrived

The Pod

VC10 cartoons

BOAC Post section

Galloping Fuel Flow Meters

All together now!

Wrong Airport?

Local Politics and Diet

The Eccentric Flight Engineer

Convincing a Sheik

A new job in Filton

Flying for a Sheik

Interchangeability on the VC10

G-AXLR Test Flying (Separate page)

The hijacking of BA 771 G-ASGO March 3rd 1974 (Separate page)

A VC10 fuselage on a trailer

Last British Airways scheduled service departure

Last British Airways charter flights

BOAC/British Airways VC10 Flightdeck Recordings

Accidents that did not happen


Everything RAF:

Something you won't see everyday

My memories of Base Squadron RAF Brize Norton - By Ken 'Chalky' White

Photos by Ken White (Separate Page)

The Ultimate Number Plate

VC10 Poetry, by G.R. Fraser

Memories of RAF Brize Norton, by G.R. Fraser (Separate Page)

Aeromedical VC10

RAF Gan Turnaround

VC10 40th Anniversary Formation Flight

Fun & Games with Harold (Separate Page)

Excitement over Brize Norton

Insurance needed?

VC10 tanking trip

Flying over the North Pole

The VC10 offer of a lifetime

Shiny Toilets and the Junior Jet Club growing up with the VC10

Record setting days in the RAF (Separate Page)

Re-engining the VC10

'Secret' VC10

A Wedding VC10

Introducing the VC10 C Mk1 into RAF service (Separate Page)

Flying VIPs

The 1969 Daily Mail Trans-Atlantic Air Race (Separate Page)

Freight doors and Twisted '10s

A Strange Pair

Visiting Kathmandu and other places

Scoring landings in Belize

Magic tricks

Display flying

HF Radio still in use

Crashing a simulator


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