Welcome to our Viscount Museum
Air Zimbabwe Rhodesia V.756D Viscount c/n 374 VP-YNI
The Viscount story started in the early 1940s
The idea to develop the Viscount (initially known as the Viceroy) was born during World War II at a time when things were going far from well and few people were thinking much about civil
aviation. To some people in 1942 it may have seemed strangely unrealistic of the British Government to appoint a group of experts, known as the Brabazon Committee, to examine post-war
requirements for transport aircraft.
In their recommendations, however, lay the origin of an idea that was to develop into one of the most successful British civil aircraft ever built.
The Viscount was designed by George Edwards (later Sir George Edwards), who was for a quarter of a century from 1950, the dominant figure in British aviation, both civil and military.
His name is synonymous with the Viscount, the world's first gas turbine powered aircraft to carry fare paying passengers on a scheduled service, and Concorde, for which he led the British team
throughout its formative period to customer delivery.
In its time the Viscount was just as pioneering as Concorde was 20 years later. Indeed, in many respects the Viscount was a more successful aircraft than Concorde.
Sir George Edwards
The Viscount was designed using cutting edge technology
Vickers-Armstrongs developed the Viscount in tandem with Rolls-Royce's development of the Dart, the world’s first commercially successful propeller gas turbine (turbo-prop) engine. Almost
certainly neither would have succeeded without the other.
The 1950s and the 1960s were sensational times in aviation and Britain led the world in commercial aircraft development with pioneering designs like the Vickers-Armstrongs Viscount and the de
Havilland Comet. Packed with the latest 1950s cutting edge technology, the Viscount was operated by both large and small airlines throughout the world, and was to remain in service for over 50 years.
The Rolls-Royce Dart
Preserving the memory of the Viscount
BAF - British Air Ferries
G-AOYG c/n 256
Returned from Guernsey Airlines lease. Taken at Rochford, Southend, Essex, England in October 1986.
Photo source - Peter Gates collection
Our virtual museum is dedicated to preserve the memory of this ground breaking and highly successful British aircraft,
and consists of over 20,000 pages of information, photos and films that are assessable with just a few clicks from the
menu bar at the top of each page.
Discover the operational records and photos of the 444 Viscounts built together with film from British Pathe and Viscount
history from owners and operators.
Read our 'Live Magazine' where stories and photos are added daily by members and non-members located throughout
the world. You will never miss a story as you can scroll back to the very first one added when we
introduced this popular service.
Please enjoy your visit and don't forget to return regularly as new material is being added all the time - check out the
'Latest 60 photos' on the menu bar.
Start your visit
Start your visit by finding out how the Viscount was born during World War II at a time when things were going far from
well and few people were thinking much about civil aviation.
'In the Beginning'
Finish your visit by taking a slide show where you can travel back in time and enjoy yourself revisiting the
long and colourful life of the Viscount. No two slide shows will be the same and are illustrated with photos from our
archive dating from 1948 through to today.
Viscount slide show
The Vickers Viscount Network has a membership and following in over 89 countries
Why not join our friendly, international and free membership where members come from all walks of life - pilots, engineers, artists, authors, model makers, pilots of computer simulators,
airline passengers, and plane spotters, just to name some. Whatever their interest our members have one thing in common - the Viscount.
FREE membership details
Preserving the Memory of the Vickers-Armstrongs VC2 Viscount
Vickers-Armstrongs VC2 Viscount
1948 - 2015
Viscount prototype G-AHRF
It was during the 1940s that Vickers-Armstrongs and Rolls-Royce proved that the gas-turbine engine was
the power plant of the future by developing the world class Viscount passenger aircraft and Dart engine.
'Commercial flying', an airline passenger of the first half of the 20th Century once observed, 'is 90% boredom and 10%
This is the story of an aircraft that was instrumental in altering this opinion. It is the story of a remarkable
aircraft that so shattered the accepted notions of travel comfort and airline economics that its standards became
accepted as a yardstick by which other forms of transport were measured. It is the story of the first turbo-prop
airliner in the world, and the first transport type ever to break America's monopoly of the commercial aircraft market.
TCA - Trans-Canada Air Lines
29 July 1950 - C/N 1 G-AHRF operated by BEA - British European Airways Corporation became the first
gas turbine powered aircraft to carry fare paying passengers on a scheduled service anywhere in the world when it
departed Northolt, Middlesex, England as flight number BE392X2 to Le Bourget, Paris, France.
13-17 February 1953 – C/N 3 G-AMAV owned by the Ministry of Supply became the first gas turbine powered passenger aircraft to cross the North Atlantic.
1 April 1955 – C/N 42 CF-TGK of TCA – Trans-Canada Air Lines operated the first gas turbine powered
scheduled revenue service in North America as flight number 265 from Montreal, Province of Quebec to Winnipeg,
Manitoba via Toronto, Ontario and Port Arthur, Ontario (known as Thunder Bay since January 1970 when it amalgamated
with Fort William), Canada.
4 April 1955 – C/N 42 CF-TGK of TCA – Trans-Canada Air Lines operated the first international gas
turbine powered scheduled revenue service in North America from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Idlewild, New York, USA
(since 1963 known as JFK - John F Kennedy airport).
BEA - British European
The Viscount was born of a post World War II belief that the gas-turbine in one form or another was the power plant of
the future. A statement of this belief has now become unexceptional and unchallenged, but in 1945 it was none of these
There were at the time more people willing to prove conclusively that gas turbines would never be economically suited
to passenger operations, than there were converts to rebut them.
In those pioneer days the arguments on both sides were still based on theory, plus on the side of those who supported
the gas turbine, a considerable degree of faith.
Virgin Atlantic Airways
When the Viscount was in full production, Vickers-Armstrongs won orders from some 60 customers worldwide, amounting to
a return of £177 million for the 439 aircraft sold.
Later the number of operators greatly increased as examples came onto the second-hand market, usually to play a large
part in improving the carriers' financial position.
The Viscount saw service throughout the world on both passenger and freight services and although the majority had been
withdrawn by the start of the 21st century, a few soldiered on.
Numerous examples of this classic Vickers-Armstrongs design have been preserved for posterity. While providing a fitting
tribute to the magnificent aircraft and its creators, the atmosphere and character of a living specimen is naturally missing.
The Turboprop World-Beater Viscount
By Gerry Sweet
Gerry Sweet chronicles the history and development of the UK's most successful propeller-driven commercial airliner.
The Turboprop World-Beater