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G-AMSV Returns to Coventry

An old friend returned to Coventry yesterday when G-AMSV, in her striking Indian Air force livery, landed here for extensive maintenance by our engineers. Sierra Victor was part of the Air Altantique fleet here for many years. She'll...

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Baginton Air Pageant

The initial details for the Baginton Air Pageant are up on the website! As we don't have the space for a full-on air show attracting 20,000 or so people, we're aiming for low-key, themed days like this. A couple of thousand people,...

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Newquay Pleasure flights

We promised we'd be back to fly in Cornwall, and here we are. We'll be heading south with a Rapide and Chipmunk to spend a week at Newquay from 25th July, with a further visit planned in August. The flights are bookable in the normal...

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New Dakota Book

Geoff Jones just told me that his new book on the DC-3, released to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Dak's appearance, is now available. The cover sports a lovely shot of G-ANAF, shot by Simon Westwood before her radome goiter was...

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Nimrod Engine Run

We've just confirmed plans by NPT to run all four of the Nimrod's Rolls-Royce Speys on Saturday 9th May. We expect the thunder to start just after lunchtime. Come along and enjoy some audio power - and please dip into your pockets...

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Hawker Siddeley VC10 at Newquay
Status: Static display
Owned by: The Classic Aircraft Trust
Current location: Newquay
Available for pleasure flights: No

Majestic may not be the only word to describe her, but it's a good one.  The VC10 is a giant, dwarfing even airliners like the nearby BAC One-Eleven, and that great parasol of a tail, casting its shadow from four stories above the tarmac echoes science fiction book covers of the mid-twentieth century.  Spectacular, that's another good word.

She joined us on August 28 2013, painting smoky lines in the sky as she flew by in salute to the crowds who'd gathered to see her make her last flight.  The VC10 carries flaps the size of your front garden, and when they're extended she can fly slowly enough to make you doubt the laws of physics.  From the ground, we judge an aircraft's speed by how long it takes to travel its own length.  In the case of the big Vic, that's a long way.  She's over 170ft long - more than half a football pitch, and when something that big dips below 100mph it looks as if you could keep up with it on a bicycle.

The RAF crew were unusually emotional when they handed her over after her last flight.  The Vicky is an aircraft that gets under your skin.  She was fast - very fast, utterly dependable and a delight to fly.  Her safety was legendary, with the type suffering only two fatal accidents in a career spanning more than fifty years and millions of passenger miles.  And her build strength made her indestructible.  The crew told the author of an incident in which a fuel bowser drove at high speed into the wing of a VC10.  Result:  One large damaged aileron and one very large written-off lorry.

Until the advent of Concorde, the VC10 was the world's fastest jet airliner, a mantle she resumed when Concorde was withdrawn from service, leaving the venerable but still operational Vic to pick up her fallen crown.

Her Rolls-Royce Conway engines were removed by the RAF as part of their make-safe procedure, but one has been purchased by The Classic Aircraft Trust.  It's now awaiting preparation as a cut-away display unit in our proposed engine bay.

The first VC10s ordered by the RAF were named after Victoria Cross holders.  As the aircraft dropped out of service the names were transferred to other Vics out of respect for the heroism of their original bearers. ZA148 now bears three names that we should hold in our memory and quietly nod our recognition of the debt we owe them when we look up at this queen of the skies.

VC10 ZA148 stands in Newquay in grateful memory of:

Guy Gibson VC (Originally borne by XV102)
2nd Lt William Rhodes-Moorhouse VC (Originally borne by XV108)
Flt Sgt George Thompson VC (Originally borne by XR806)

As ZA148 joins us in the year of the 70th anniversary of Guy Gibson's Dambusters raid, we would also ask you to think respectfully of the German civilians who tragically died on that night.  It is a sad truth of war that heroism exacts a high price.