Vickers Viscount Network
July 2008 Newsletter
WELCOME to what is planned to be the beginnings of regular newsletters. We have had to apply a bit of
imagination as to what you would like to read in the newsletters and the best way to find out is to receive
your response on ideas and recommendations.
George Edwards (left) with J H 'Slim' Carmichael, president of Capital Airlines.
A natural place to start a newsletter series is at the beginning! It is entirely coincidental that the man who
designed the Viscount, Sir George Edwards, was born 100 years ago, 9 July 1908, and that the prototype aircraft,
G-AHRF, first flew, 60 years ago, on 16 July 1948.
The following account has been adapted from a comprehensive story written by Gerry Sweet which now appears on
The Viscount, or Vickers VC2 project, was initially mooted by Vickers Chief Designer, Rex Pierson, in December
1944 during discussions with the wartime, Brabazon Committee. The initial plan was to build a 27-seater powered
by Rolls-Royce Darts to fly at 300 mph at 20,000 feet, for 1,000 miles.
The prototype Viscount G-AHRF takes off on its maiden flight
British European Airways, formed in 1946, was expected to be the first recipient of the VC2 airliner and
production of the first prototype, G-AHRF began at Weybridge. The VC2 was officially named the Viscount in
1947 and became the V.630 model. It was soon apparent that the acceptance of post-war air travel had been
grossly under-estimated and to meet this need the seat numbers would need to be increased, as would the engine
performance. So began the ongoing work by Vickers to increase the aircraft size and for Rolls-Royce to optimise
engine performance accordingly. On 16 July 1948 G-AHRF took to the skies from Wisely Airfield in Surrey.
With the race number 23, G-AMAV races to New Zealand
Meanwhile, Vickers had been developing an improved V.700 series and the series prototype, G-AMAV, first flew in
August 1950. Three years later, this aircraft participated in the London to Christchurch (New Zealand) Air Race
where it was evaluated by New Zealand National Airways Corporation (NAC) which purchased three later models,
V.807s, in the late 1950s.
BEA placed the first production Viscount V.701 G-ALWE into service on 18 April 1952. In the meantime orders had
come in from France, Ireland, Australia and also Canada. This brought in new challenges with a need to meet
North American cockpit compliance.
Capital Airlines of the USA bought 45 V.700 examples
Despite the success of the V.700 series, the developments continued and so evolved the V.800 series with both
types coming off the production line simultaneously. Production continued until 1964 when the final example for
CAAC of the People's Republic of China was completed. Although BEA was the largest buyer, with 77 examples
comprising both series, acceptance of the Viscount was literally world wide. Significantly, Capital Airlines,
of the USA, bought 45 examples, right in the heart of the American airline industry. Significantly too, a total
of 444 were sold to 50 major airlines, with a value, including spares, of £177 million - export sales accounting
for £147 million.
Viscounts operated for many years throughout the world, often in the hands of freight and charter operators.
Obviously there were the inevitable accidents but most eventually faced the axe, notably in Essex, England.
About 10% are displayed in some fashion in Museums and one is reputedly still flying in Africa and long may this
noble aircraft remain doing so. To see Gerry's comprehensive story on the site go to [History] [The Turboprop
Which Viscount is this at Harare, Zimbabwe in Feburary 1991?
Are you a problem solver? Would you like to test your skills at research?
Then look no further than our Mystery Page Help us identify these Viscounts by selecting [Listings] [Help us
Identify These Viscounts]. The current page has a new Mystery photo and questions and answers from earlier
INTRODUCING THE NEWSLETTER EDITORS
It was considered that to best illustrate that the interest in Viscounts is world-wide that the Newsletter
Editors be based on opposite sides of the world.
Illustrated History of New Zealand National Airways Corporation 1947 - 1978
Peter Layne of Wellington, New Zealand has written three airline history books (including one on New
Zealand National Airways Corporation - NAC), on the site go to [News] then scroll down to Illustrated
History of New Zealand National Airways Corporation 1947 - 1978, with Richard Waugh and Graeme McConnell,
and contributed to the production of two others.
His late father, Brian Layne, (a Sunderland pilot attached to 201 Squadron, RAF Coastal Command during World
War Two), worked for New Zealand National Airways Corporation from 1947 to 1978. His roles included Pilot and
Senior Flight Operations Officer (Auckland). His work provided Peter with many opportunities to study NAC's
aircraft (including Viscounts) from a young age. Writing the NAC book realised the chance to share with others
his life long interest in the National airline.
Peter comes from a banking background spanning over 40 years. He has been a member of the Aviation Historical
Society of New Zealand (since 1970), Vintage Kiwi Gliding Club, historian for Gliding New Zealand (since 1979)
and has compiled the Vintage, Veteran and Classic section of the annually produced New Zealand Wings Directory
(since 1994). He is married to Stephanie and they have two adult children.
SPANZ South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand & their DC-3 Viewmasters.
Taking Off - Pioneering Small Airlines of New Zealand 1945-1970.
The Illustrated History of NZNAC 1947-1978.
Ed Jones from Manchester, England became interested in aviation when his late father began taking him
from the age of six years to the then Ringway Airport to view the planes. This was some 50+ years ago and
coincided with the early years in the history of the beloved Viscount. His appreciation for the aircraft began
in those formative years and is as strong as ever today. Ed spends most of his time today researching the
Viscount helped by an accumulated collection of images, movements and memories from his years of plane spotting.
Trips initially to European airports and eventually worldwide now provide a wealth of information to keep him
busy researching for the website and of course his own enjoyment.
Ed comes from an IT Training background but is now semi retired. This enables him to spend more time on his
favourite pastime, wife and children permitting of course!
ANOTHER VISCOUNT SAVED FROM THE SCRAPYARD
Old Giant of the air comes to Wear Museum
In the last few days the Vickers Viscount Network has been contacted by Linda Ross Secretary of the North East
Aircraft Museum in Sunderland, England telling us that they had taken delivery on 25 June of Viscount c/n 346
G-AZLP. This is to be a joint venture between themselves and RAF Millon in Cumbria, England and represents a
notable event in the preservation of another of the remaining airframes. Keep checking the Vickers Viscount
Network website for an update on this project. On the site go to [News] [Viscount News] then select
Old Giant of the air comes to Wear Museum [Cick for details] for further information.
SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS MADE ON EX AIR CANADA VISCOUNT
The cockpit panels have been reinstalled in CF-THG
recently sent an encouraging report with pictures on progress in the restoration of Viscount c/n 224 CF-THG.
". . . much of the winter was spent on interior work, the cockpit panels have been reinstalled and the interior
fairings and cockpit upholstery has been repaired and painted. I have developed a great respect for the talent
and workmanship displayed in the Viscount. We have become used to plastic interior fairings on modern aircraft
however many in this aircraft are hand formed from metal then, covered in leather; On the site go to
[Listings] [Aircraft Histories] enter construction number 224 then press [Go].
A 1957 ACCIDENT WHICH
"MUST REMAIN A WHOLLY UNEXPLAINED CALAMITY."
G-AOJA taken during certification flying in August 1956
Viscounts have had their share of tragedy and, as is often the case, there are tragedies that have never been
fully understood or resolved. Ed Jones recently summarised events recorded in the accident involving Viscount
c/n 150 G-AOJA at Nutts Corner on 23 October 1957, which claimed the lives of all occupants during a charter
flight from Heathrow. At 16:45 with the aircraft at 2,200 feet and on a heading of 285 degrees, the flight was
taken over by the Precision Approach Controller for a GCA talk down on runway 28. Within a mile from touchdown
the aircraft had drifted right of the runway centre line. An overshoot was carried out, but the aircraft
crashed 1,000 feet south of the western end of runway 28 resulting in the almost complete disintegration of
All that was recovered was subjected to an exhaustive examination by experts and they failed to find anything
which pointed to the malfunctioning of any instrument or indicator which could have led the pilot into a
disastrous operation of the controls. Neither was there any evidence that pilot error contributed to the
accident. The court investigation concluded that the crash "must remain a wholly unexplained calamity."
On the site go to [Listings] [Aircraft Histories] enter construction number 150 then press [Go].
THE VICKERS VISCOUNT by Rayner G C Kittle.
The result of 35 years research, this 480 page book, released through Air Britain, is full of aircraft
histories, technical data, nostalgia, 460+ photographs including 96 colour plates, is a must for all Viscount
Price: Air-Britain Members: £32.50. Non-Members: £48.25.
Order Details: All Air-Britain books may be ordered direct from Air-Britain, by post or on-line. All books are
also POST FREE in the UK. Add 15% Europe and overseas. Payment by cheque drawn in £ sterling, or all major
credit/debit cards (NOT AMEX).
41 Penshurst Road Leigh, Tonbridge, Kent TN11 8HL. Phone/Fax (UK) 01732 835637.
Julian Bourn who is researching the BEA - British European Airways Viscount fleet, has completed his latest 2
aircraft, Viscounts c/n 150 G-AOJA and c/n 151 G-AOJB.
To review the history of c/n 150 and 151, on the site go to [Listings] [Aircraft Histories]. Select
Construction Number 150 or 151 then press [Go].
To see the photo gallery of c/n 150 or 151 from their histories click the [c/n 150 photo gallery]
or [c/n 151 photo gallery] button.
If you can add any further information or photos of these aircraft contact Julian at
Since the last newsletter there have been new photos added to the following aircraft:-
c/n 12, c/n 17, c/n 28, c/n 38, c/n 39, c/n 66, c/n 75, c/n 87, c/n 93, c/n 99, c/n 100, c/n 112, c/n 116,
c/n 117, c/n 140, c/n 150, c/n 151, c/n 162, c/n 164, c/n 170, c/n 191, c/n 197, c/n 210, c/n 214, c/n 220,
c/n 224, c/n 225, c/n 236, c/n 237, c/n 238, c/n 248, c/n 263, c/n 280, c/n 281, c/n 288 (crash photos),
c/n 320, c/n 325, c/n 327, c/n 334, c/n 341, c/n 347, c/n 364, c/n 370, c/n 373, c/n 374, c/n 382, c/n 391,
c/n 434, c/n 435, c/n 439, c/n 441, c/n 452, c/n 457.
To see the photo gallery of an aircraft, on the site go to [Photos] [Viscount Photo Gallery]. Select
the Construction Number or Registration that you are interested in, e.g. EI-AJW or 225, then press [Go].
LIGHT HEARTED BUT TRUE VISCOUNT MOMENTS:
We would like to hear from you but to start the series here's one from New Zealand National Airways Corporation.
An elderly lady on a night flight asked a hostess where the toilet was located. The hostess, attending to
another passenger, indicated to her that it was along side the galley near the front. A few moments later, when
the hostess was attending to someone else, the old lady came back to her looking rather perplexed. "Well I went
and opened the door but there were two men already in there and they were watching television!"
VISCOUNT PLASTIC KITS
The Vickers Viscount Network is drawing attention from all sorts of interested people including those who make
plastic kits. Over the years there have been kits created by recognised model making companies but there are
now those who make their own.
José Alvarez of Quito, Ecuador was favourably impressed by the website and has persuaded web master
to create a model page. He has been making Glencoe 1:96 scale models to be presented in the
liveries of SAETA and SAN, the two local carriers of the 1970s. He has promised to send in photos for uploading
once the model page has been created.
There is potential to present Viscount kits in all known liveries but please don't all rush Geoff at once!
There have been kits for sale on Ebay etc in recent times so if you are a keen collector then keep an eye on
these sites as there may a great bargain up for grabs.
Cover of the Didier Palix 'Hannants' model Viscount
Didier Palix of France has created a Capital Airlines 1:72 scale Viscount V.700 model which has very
recently been marketed through Hannants. The following page will lead you straight to the page should you wish
to place an order.
Congratulations - you have reached the end of this newsletter. We hope that you have enjoyed reading it and
would like to read future issues. A frequency rate has not been set but perhaps monthly would be ideal.
REMEMBER this is for your benefit not only to read but also to contribute. Have a look through the site and
see if there is some way you can contribute and PLEASE let us know by contact us at
Peter Layne, Wellington, New Zealand, Ed Jones, Manchester, England and all the team at the
Vickers Viscount Network.
To provide information and photos for inclusion in the Virtual Museum please send them to
Photos should be scanned as jpg's at 300 dpi or over. If you need help scanning your photos then contact
Brian Burrage at
who provides the Vickers Viscount Network quality, secure and FREE scanning service.
To add a friend or colleague to the Vickers Viscount Network membership, on the site go to [Home] [Join the
Vickers Viscount Network for free] [Click here to join the Vickers Viscount Network].
To cancel you membership to the Vickers Viscount Network send an e-mail to