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Flight Craft 20: Vickers VC10 & Super VC10 (Paperback)

Aviation Modelling

By Lance Cole
Imprint: Air World
Series: Flight Craft
Pages: 88
Illustrations: 200 colour & black and white
ISBN: 9781526760067
Published: 30th August 2020

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Designed and manufactured by the men who would make Concorde, the Rolls-Royce powered Vickers VC10, and its larger variant, the Super VC10, represented the ultimate in 1960s subsonic airliners. The VC10 was Britain’s answer to the Boeing 707 and the Douglas DC-8.

The VC10 was a second-generation jetliner designed in the 1960s and manufactured into the 1970s. It incorporated advanced engineering, new aerodynamics, and design features, to produce a swept, sculpted machine easily identifiable by its high T-tail design and rear-engine configuration.

The VC10 could take off in a very short distance, climb more steeply and land at slower speed than its rivals the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8. These were vital safety benefits in the early years of the jet age. At one stage, the Super VC10 was the biggest airliner made in Europe and the fastest in the world.

On entry into service, both the VC10 and the longer Super VC10 carved out a niche with passengers who enjoyed the speed, silence and elegance of the airliner. Pilots, meanwhile, loved its ease of flying and extra power. Yet the VC10 project was embroiled in political and corporate machinations across many years and more than one government. BOAC got what they asked for but went on to criticise the VC10 for not being a 707 – which was a different beast entirely. Questions were asked in parliament and the whole story was enmeshed in a political and corporate affair that signified the end of British big airliner production. Yet the men who made the VC10 also went on to design and build Concorde. Many VC10 pilots became Concorde pilots.

In service until the 1980s with British Airways, and until 2013 with the RAF, the VC10 became a British icon and a national hero, one only eclipsed by Concorde. It remains an enthusiast’s hero.

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About Lance Cole

Lance Cole has been a motoring and aviation writer, author and PR for over 30 years. He is also an internationally published photographer and illustrator. Lance has a background and training in industrial design, motoring journalism, and car testing. The author of over 20 books (including eight for Pen and Sword) and more than 100 articles for major magazines and newspapers, Lance is well known for his interest in design and driving. He has driven and photographed old cars all over the world. He currently lives in Wiltshire with his Australian wife and yearns for a return to the outback of beyond where old cars rule.

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