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Flying sideways

I snapped this phone photo of Dakota G-ANAF getting airborne at Coventry earlier this week. This was the day when the roads were littered with branches and wheelie bins, so the old girl needed a bootful of rudder to keep her tracking the...

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Membership' information...

Members. If you are a member and based in Cornwall, you may be wondering what will happen now that Newquay is closing. Well a group of volunteers are attempting to maintain a facility at St Mawgan, Newquay. We are trying to create...

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The English Electric Lightning rescued from the scrapyard with the help of our friends at Gateguards UK and the generous cooperation of BAe Systems has moved into the main hangar at Newquay. As you can see from the photograph, there's...

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Lovely to see so many people at Newquay yesterday when we ran our mini air show to round off a great season. Jon Corley put on a series of magnificent displays and the planes seemed to have a great time - the Meteor and Vampire were certainly...

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Back in the Hot Seat

A powerful moment on Wednesday when Meteor veteran Hal Taylor was reunited...

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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.