VC10 lands at Bruntingthorpe airfield after last flight
A chapter of British aviation history closed recently on the 26th September, when the last flying Vickers VC10 landed at an airstrip in Leicestershire.
The distinctive grey, four-engine jet with the high tail plane, which first flew in the 1960s settled onto the tarmac runway in soft sunshine after a short flight from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
The plane, number ZA147, which served in the Falklands and the First Gulf War, touched down at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground near Lutterworth shortly after 4pm.
It was due to have arrived around midday, but had been delayed by bad visibility.
The airplane was one of a fleet of multi purpose aircraft which had been used by the RAF for nearly 50 years.
However its role has now been taken over by Airbus 330s and the VC10s have been retired.
Richard Clarke of the Cold War Jets Collection, which is based at Bruntingthorpe, said: “This is a very said day for British aviation.
“The VC10 had served with the RAF since 1966 in a variety of roles including a troop carrier, freighter and tanker.”
The aircraft, a K3-model tanker, and its sister craft ZA150 were officially retired from the RAF on September 20.
Their last duty last Friday was to perform a re-fuelling flight from RAF Brize Norton over the North Sea where they linked up with Eurofighter Typhoons and Panavia Tornado GR4s.
On Tuesday, ZA150 flew to its retirement at Dunsfold airfield in Surrey. It will later go on display at an aviation museum.
However, the VC10 and the Super VC10 were better known as the stars of the passenger fleet operated by British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) in the 1960s and 70s.
A total of 54 were built and flown mainly by BOAC, later British Airways, although they were also operated by a couple of African airlines.
Mr Clarke said: “The military version of the VC10 saw service in the Falklands principally re-fuelling aircraft. It also served in the first Gulf War.”
In July, the Cold War Jets Collection received another recently retired VC10, XR808. This aircraft, nicknamed Bob, will become part of the collection which attracts thousands of visitors each year to the former bomber base.
When XR808 retired, Wing Commander Kevin Brookes, officer commanding 101 Squadron, said:
“This mark of aircraft has been much admired, not just in the United Kingdom but also around the world and will undoubtedly take her place in aviation and RAF history; she is another example of outstanding British design and engineering.”
As the Cold War Jets Collection already has a VC10, ZA147 will be broken up.
Courtesy of the Leicester Mercury and Tim Healy