VC10: Icon of the Skies (Kindle)
BOAC, Boeing and a Jet Age Battle
Other books have charted the VC10 in airline life, but this book blends that story with a well-researched tale of corporate and political power play. It asks; just what lay behind the sales failure of the VC1O?
Politics played an important part of course, as did BOACs tactics, and a who dunnit cast of politico-corporate events and machinations at the highest level of society during the dying days of Empire in 1960s Britain. Key players in the story, from Tony Benn to famous test pilot Brian Trubshaw (Concorde), are cited and quoted.
The VC10 was the nations biggest jet airliner of its age and regarded as the worlds best looking airliner. It was safe, fast, and designed to take off from short runways in Africa and Asia, at the request of its main operator BOAC - the airline that would later go on to become todays British Airways.
The VC10 and the larger Super VC10 were beloved by pilots and passengers alike and became icons of the 1960s. They were hugely popular all over the world; East African Airlines made its name with Super VC10s, and so too did Freddie Laker with his famed VC10 fleet.
Yet the VC10 was eclipsed by Boeings 707 which sold by the hundreds, despite the fact that the 707 was less capable and could not initially operate from the runways of the Commonwealth and old British Empire routes, as the VC10 undoubtedly could.
The men of the Vickers Company who created the VC10 would later go on to engineer Concorde and, of course, the rest is history. But the era of the VC10 was pivotal and, by exploring this historical period in depth and highlighting all the various impediments that stood in the way of success for the VC10, Lance Cole adds an important layer to our understanding of twentieth century history.
I enjoyed this book very much, it is an entertaining and stimulating read – not just for VC10 enthusiasts but also for anyone interested in the history of aircraft manufacturing and airline operation in Britain.Ulster Airmail magazine – reviewed by Guy Warner
This well-written and readable book tells two parallel and frequently-intertwined stories. One concerns the design and development of an aircraft; the other, the machinations, confusions and incompetency’s which repeatedly altered, stalled and frustrated the development of that particular machine. The author well-summarises the situation when he states that ‘This is the story of not just an airliner, but also the airline industry, an airline and the nation and society it served’.NZ Crown Mines
British flag carrier BOAC, later BA, effectively and deliberately sabotaged the commercial success of the VC10 because itFiretrench
wanted to buy Boeing airliners. The author has provided an excellent account of the political battles and the commercial skulduggery, the
impressive service of the VC10s with those airlines that had the wisdom to buy it, and its outstanding service as a transport and tanker with the RAF. Much Recommended.
Read the full review here.
This is a really interesting book and should be on the bookshelf of any civil aviation fan – particularly those interested in early jet development, or British aviation history. It taught me a lot about the VC10 and the politics surrounding the early years of jet aircraft development.Airport Spotting Blog
Read the full review here.
Enjoyable and informative.Anthony Hart
Lance Cole’s latest book tells the story of the VC10. An aircraft that had it all, speed, power, comfort for its passengers and stunning good looks. An aircraft that did everything that was asked of it and more. So then, just why when compared to its main rival the Boeing 707 did it sell in such small numbers? The answer simply put was that both the aircraft, and the talented, dedicated men who worked on it where betrayed by men of power. But I am not qualified to tell that story, Lance Cole is and I believe he has. Not only told the story, but told it in a way that is both engaging, readable and thoroughly enjoyable. The text is complimented with a good selection of photographs and diagrams. If your interest in aviation extends to just how far the decisions of corporate power, and inept politicians can reach, then I can’t recommend this book enough.
Britain's Greatest Aircraft (Kindle)
During the last century the British aircraft industry created and produced many outstanding aeroplanes. These aircraft were world leaders in advanced technology, utilizing inventions by British engineers and scientists such as radar, the jet engine, the ejector seat and vertical take-off and landing. This book describes the design-history, development and operational careers of twenty-two legendary military and civil aeroplanes. Each one has played a significant part in aviation history. Sopwith Camel, SE.5, Bristol F2B Fighter and the Airco DH4 were all great successes in the relatively early…By Robert Jackson
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