VC10 XR810 at RAF Brize Norton, Jan 1987

Royal Air Force VC10C Mk 1 sits on the ramp at RAF Brize Norton in the pre-dawn of January 21st, 1987.

In early 1987 I had the extremely rare privilege of flying round trip across the Atlantic aboard RAF VC10 troopships assigned to the Royal Air Force 10 Squadron. My westbound leg was Brize Norton - Gander - Washington Dulles aboard VX107 while the eastbound leg was nonstop Dulles - Brize Norton aboard XV105. Suffice it to say, these VC10 flights are among the highlights of my [now, 2022] 45 years as an aviation enthusiast. Other highlights during my 3 years in England (Jan '85-Jan '88) include 5 flights aboard Viscounts, 2 flights aboard Tridents, 1 flight aboard Concorde, a flight aboard a Caravelle and a flight aboard a BAC 1-11. Missed out on the Herald but I'm not complaining...

Please click the thumbnails below for larger images.

The date is January 21st, 1987 and this view shows RAF VC10C Mk 1 XR810 on the ramp at RAF Brize Norton in the pre-dawn hours.

This view of XV101 illustrates the beautiful lines of the Vickers VC10. VC10C Mk 1s are a hybrid of sorts. The aircraft combines the shorter fuselage of the Standard VC10 with the wings and powerplants of the Super VC10.

During the first leg while enroute to Gander, Newfoundland I was graciously allowed a visit to the flight deck. This photo shows RAF Flight Lieutenant Steve Scott-Skinner holding Martin Hedley's VC10 monograph. The flight crews on both trips across the Atlantic happily signed their names to my book and included pertinent trip information such as location (lat/long), speed, time, etc. Note the Sel-Cal placard above Flight Lieutenant's Skinner's left hand...'CF-DM' uniquely identifies this aircraft as XV107.

This photo through the VC10s oval-shaped window shows the RAF roundel proudly displayed on top of the starboard wing.

An image possible on only 3 flyable aircraft types in the world (unless you count that unlikely Boeing 727 conversion in the Jodie Foster movie "Contact"). Dual rear-mounted engines only appear on Lockheed JetStars, Ilyushin 62s and of course Vickers VC10s.

Yes, that's a 22 year-old me on the ramp at Gander, Newfoundland during our refuelling stop. It was bloody cold outside but I couldn't resist this photo opportunity. The warmth of the Gander terminal building was quickly swapped for the comfort of the VC10 interior after a brief pit stop on the ramp. Little did I know we'd be on the ground a bit longer than expected while ground crew exchanged a faulty engine component.

As viewed from the Dulles Airport outdoor observation deck, XV107 taxies past to resume the journey south. It stopped again somewhere in the states then off to Central or South America...I don't remember the ultimate destination.

Update 24 December 2022: Just before Christmas 2022 I received an email from a former Royal Air Force member who was part of the cabin crew on this flight. He stated the VC-10 continued on to Belize so that answers that question. Thanks Rob!!

While stateside during early 1987, I visited McChord AFB in Washington state on January 29 (mum's birthday...shame on me for not spending it with her!). On the ramp of the 62nd Military Airlift Wing I found XV105. Little did I know XV105 would be my steed for the return trip to Brize Norton from Dulles on February 13th 1987. I didn't get any photos of XV105 at either Dulles or Brize on that return trip.

Be sure to check out: for more info about this classic airliner.

About the background image. The image shows RAF VC-10C Mk 1 XV101 sitting on the ramp at Brize Norton in the pre-dawn hours of Jan 21st, 1987.


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