Vickers VC10 – G-ARVF, BOAC launch livery 1964 1/200 Slight ImperfectionAdd to compare
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JC Wings 1/200 scale JC2376: Vickers VC10 1101 G-ARVF in the launch livery of BOAC. This is a highly accurate, superb quality diecast limited edition of only 220 Pieces. It features lowered landing gear and authentic markings plus display stand.
Length 10.25 inches Wingspan 8.75 inches
PLEASE NOTE: Although brand new and undisplayed the model has a minor paint defect on the fin lower right hand side, as shown by the photo. Also the box has a crease on the right hand side
The career of G-ARVF has taken some twists and turns to end up in an aviation museum in Hermeskeil, Germany. Obviously nobody could have guessed this when she lifted off the runway at the Brooklands airfield near Weybridge for the first time on 6 July 1963. Ordered by BOAC, she was first used by Vickers for development work. Together with G-ARVB she flew the majority of the route proving flights and did a lot of the flight training work. Starting on 17th October 1963, G-ARVF was involved in a trial that aimed to operate a single airframe for 1000 hours during many overseas flights to prepare the type for its eventual airline service. The first of these route proving flights went from London to Beirut, with later ones operating for example from London to Lagos, Nigeria, via Kano, arriving just in time for lunch. During these flights the aircraft was still owned by its manufacturer but operated by BOAC together with two flight crews and three technicians from RAF Transport Command. A wonderful example of industry cooperation that provided all parties with loads of information about the new type. More proving flights were made to places like Montreal, Toronto, Shannon, Prestwick, Nairobi, Khartoum, Rome, Aden, Salisbury and Accra. During the complete certification and route proving programme, 16,500 engine hours were flown on the eleven aircraft used, and just one unscheduled removal occurred. The culmination of all this was the certification of the VC10 on 22 April 1964. With the unrestricted Certificate of Airworthiness in hand Vickers could now deliver the VC10s to BOAC, who wasted no time and flew the first service to Lagos on 29th April with G-ARVJ. Commanding that first flight was Captain A.M. Rendall, also known to his colleagues as ‘Flaps’ Rendall, who would forever leave his mark on the VC10. On one of the early proving flights he became concerned that there was no horizontal surface in the structure around the windscreen which could help relate the attitude of the aircraft to the horizon on a visual approach. The solution to this was a thin steel wire, with adjustable tension to compensate for airframe ‘stretching’ when at altitude, mounted above the glareshield. It would forever be known as ‘Rendall’s washing line’. This was not the end of the Rendall family’s connection with the VC10 though. In later years his son also flew the VC10 for BOAC/BA, and even more recently, in March 2001 it was his granddaughter Lucy Rendall who captained the last ever flight of VC10 K2 ZA142 (ex G-ARVI) to RAF St. Athan.
Upon entering service with BOAC, the VC10 encountered the teething problems that are common for any new advanced aircraft. In the early days the crew sometimes referred to it as the ‘VC When’. The technical difficulties were soon under control though, something that could not be said for the 707. In the first two years of VC10 service superficial cracks appeared in the tailplane structure, but this was soon reinforced and they never returned. The 707 suffered from similar problems on its wings, but these were never fully solved and continued to cause concern throughout its service as wing fasteners and wing panels were continually coming loose. Also the 707 would sometimes emerge from crew training with popped rivets and wrinkles in the top fuselage skins, this never occurred on a VC10 when subjected to the same manoeuvres. From those early days on the VC10s became an integral part of BOAC’s route structure, managing the ‘hot and high’ Africa routes with ease, although some destinations still warranted some special attention. Chileka Airport, Malawi, for example was always a cause for concern for BOAC crews. The single runway layout necessitated a 180 degree turn at the end of the runway so that the aircraft could taxi to the platform via the same runway. The turning circle at the end of the runway was adequate for a Standard VC10 but the extra length of the Super VC10 made this a test of skill for its crew. On several occasions reverse thrust was used very gently to reverse the aircraft and the alternative, a long wait for an airport tractor, was thus averted. Chileka also featured a very narrow runway which made it difficult to judge height and distance, to its credit, the VC10 was the only large aircraft to land regularly at Chileka.
Another ‘special’ airport was Ndola, Zambia. BOAC would fly short hops to the mining town of Ndola from Lusaka, the Zambian capital, usually with a full load of passengers. Although the fuel tanks would never be full during these trips, the bearing strength of the paved runway at Ndola was not sufficient to take the weight of the aircraft. This problem was solved by reducing the tire pressure and thereby widening the aircraft’s ‘footprint’. Also on the BOAC route structure was Entebbe Airport, situated right next to Lake Victoria. Knowledge of the local flying conditions was absolutely necessary when taking off from Entebbe as the aircraft would fly directly over the lake, where the air temperature was usually far higher than that at the airport. The result of this was a proportional drop in performance for the aircraft and engines causing the aircraft to ‘wallow’. Close calls have been recorded and one 707 freighter was seen leaving a wake across the lake.
By 1974 BOAC had become BA, and with the introduction of the 747 the Standard VC10s where phased out. G-ARVF was one of those to find a new home, being sold to the Government of the United Arab Emirates on 24th July 1974 for ?690,000. The colour scheme for the aircraft was specially designed by BA’s overseas division, and when finished the aircraft emerged almost entirely painted white with red trim, a wise decision considering its future theatre of operations. After some final checks the aircraft was handed over and for the next seven years it flew Sheikh Zayed and other government officials to many varied destinations. As a VIP aircraft the VC10 had few vices, its reserve of power helping out with time keeping, something that can be very important on a state visit. Also the height of the rear engines kept them well clear of any guard of honour. The only thing lacking on the VC10 is an APU, which means that engine starting can get complicated and noisy on some airports. When available a ground source of pneumatic (low) pressure is used, which is similar to the bleed air that would be available from an APU or an already started engine. For those destinations where this is not available the VC10 can be equipped with a combustion starter on one of the starboard side engines, usually this will be installed on engine no.3. This system consists of a small combustion chamber to which high pressure air is directed from an external bottle. With fuel and ignition added the result is a fierce combustion that is used to get a small turbine moving which powers the N2 shaft of the engine. The effect on the outside is somewhat similar to the cartridge starters used in early jet engines. Getting an engine started this way is somewhat tricky as well as noisy but as high pressure air bottles can be easily found on many airports, or even brought along in the cargo compartment, this provides the necessary self supporting capability for the aircraft. BUA aircraft went one step further, they had three bottles fitted in the tailcone below the rudder so that they were never dependent on ground support for engine starting.
In 1981 G-ARVF was retired from its duties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government and it was decided to donate the aircraft to the Hermeskeil Museum in Germany. It was flown to Saarbr?cken – Ensheim airfield, but its last journey would be by road with its wings, engines and tail removed. Due to several low bridges between the airfield and the museum, and of course the work required to take the aircraft apart, it took three weeks to get to the museum site. After its arrival the aircraft was slowly put together again. In the Flugausstellung Junior at Hermeskeil the aircraft has found a peaceful resting place, and being on indefinite loan from the UAE, it is still preserved in its colours with its interior intact.
The Vickers VC10 is a mid-sized, narrow-body long-range British jet airliner designed and built by Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd and first flown at Brooklands, Surrey, in 1962. The airliner was designed to operate on long-distance routes from the shorter runways of the era and commanded excellent hot and high performance for operations from African airports. The performance of the VC10 was such that it achieved the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a subsonic jet airliner of 5 hours and 1 minute, a record that was held for 41 years, until February 2020 when a British Airways Boeing 747 broke the record at 4 hours 56 minutes due to Storm Ciara. Only the supersonic Concorde was faster. The VC10 is often compared to the larger Soviet Ilyushin Il-62, the two types being the only airliners to use a rear-engined quad layout. The smaller business jet Lockheed JetStar also has this engine arrangement.
Although only a relatively small number of VC10s were built, they provided long service with BOAC and other airlines from the 1960s to 1981. They were also used from 1965 as strategic air transports for the Royal Air Force, and ex-passenger models and others were used as aerial refuelling aircraft. The 50th anniversary of the first flight of the prototype VC10, G-ARTA, was celebrated with a “VC10 Retrospective” Symposium and the official opening of a VC10 exhibition at Brooklands Museum on 29 June 2012. The type was retired from RAF service on 20 September 2013. It has been succeeded in the aerial refuelling role by the Airbus Voyager. VC10 K.3 ZA147 performed the final flight of the type on 25 September 2013.