Vickers Viscount

Vickers Viscount

infobox Aircraft
name = Viscount
type = Turboprop airliner
logo =
manufacturer = Vickers-Armstrongs

caption = A Vickers Viscount at Aberdeen Airport, Scotland
designer =
first flight = 16 July 1948
introduction = 1950
retired =
status =
primary user = British European Airways
more users = Capital Airlines
produced =
number built = 445
unit cost =
developed from =
variants with their own articles =

The Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world. It would go on to be one of the most successful of the first-generation post-war transports, with 445 being built. It was particularly well liked by the passengers, as it was quiet, fast and vibration free, and had larger windows than those found even on modern airliners.

Design and development

The design resulted from the Brabazon Committee's Type II design, calling for a small-sized medium-range pressurised aircraft to fly its less-travelled routes, carrying 24 passengers up to 1,750 miles (2,816 km) at 200 mile/h (322 km/h).Ref Great Aircraft|Vickers Viscount|323-333] British European Airways (BEA) was involved in the design and asked that the plane carry 32 passengers instead, but remained otherwise similar. During development, Vickers advocated the use of turboprop power, believing piston-engines to be a dead-end in aviation. The Brabazon committee was not so convinced, but agreed to split the design into two types, the Type IIA using piston power, and the Type IIB using a turboprop. Vickers won the IIB contracts, while the IIA was the Airspeed Ambassador.

The resulting Vickers Type 630 design was completed at Brooklands by Chief Designer Rex Pierson and his staff in 1945, a thirty-two seat airliner powered by four Rolls-Royce Dart engines providing a cruising speed of 275 mph (443 km/h). An order for two prototypes was placed in March 1946, and construction started almost immediately. Originally to be named Viceroy, the name was changed after the partition of India in 1947. There was some work on replacing the Darts with the Armstrong Siddeley Mamba, but this was dropped by the time the prototypes were reaching completion.

The prototype Type 630 flew on 16 July 1948, and the second prototype was built as a test-bed with two Rolls-Royce Tay turbojets in place of the four Darts. The first prototype was awarded a restricted Certificate of Airworthiness on 15 September 1949, followed by a full Certificate on 27 July 1950, and placed into service with BEA the next day to familiarize the pilots and ground crew with the new aircraft. However the design was considered too small and slow at 275 mph (443 km/h), making the per-passenger operating costs too high for regular service.

The designers then went back to the drawing board and the aircraft emerged as the larger Type 700 with up to forty-eight passengers (53 in some configurations), and a cruising speed of 308 mph (496 km/h). The new prototype first flew 28 August 1950. British European Airways ordered twenty V.701s, and soon orders came in from other airlines. The first 700 was delivered to BEA in January 1953, and in April it began the world's first turboprop-powered service.

In October 1953 the Viscount 700 prototype G-AMAV achieved the fastest time (40 hours 41 minutes flying time) in the transport section of the 12,367 mile (19,903 km) air race from London to Christchurch, New Zealand. The aircraft averaged 320 mph (515 km/h) in the event, crossing the finishing line nine hours ahead of its closest rival, a Douglas DC-6 of KLM, with the latter winning on handicap. En route G-AMAV flew 3530 miles non-stop from Cocos (Keeling) Island to Melbourne's Essendon Airport in 10 hours 16 minutes. Vickers Viscounts later served with New Zealand's National Airways Corporation.

The Type 700D added more powerful engines, and the Type 724 included a new fuel system, two-pilot cockpit, and increased weights.

The final major change to the design was the Type 800 "Super Viscount", stretched 3 ft 10 in (1.2 m) for up to 71 passengers. Wider, more square doors were fitted to the airframe at this time. A further change to the fuselage was planned, but later renamed as the Vanguard instead. The last Viscounts built were 6 for the Chinese State airline CAAC, which were delivered during 1964, giving a total production total of 445. Andrews and Morgan 1988, p.537]

The type continued in BEA and British Airways service until early 1985, eventually being passed on to charter operators such as British Air Ferries (later British World). The last British-owned Viscounts were sold for use in Africa.


* 700 - the first production version, 1,381 hp (1,030 kW) engines, 287 built
** 700D - 1,576 hp (1,175 kW) engines
* 724 - 15 sold to Trans Canada Airlines (TCA) of Canada, included increased electrical power, new fuel system, and cold weather operation provisions.
* 745D - 40 sold to Capital Airlines of the USA
* 757 - 35 for Trans Canada Airlines with upgraded 1,600 hp (1,193 kW) Dart 510 engines
* 771D - improved 770D
* 785D -
* 800 - fuselage extended by 3 ft 10 in (1.2 m), 67 built
* 810 - 1,991 hp (1,485 kW) engines, 84 built


Civil operators

In May 2008 a total of 3 Vickers Viscount aircraft remain in airline service in Africa.Fact|date=May 2008 In addition to these, one (a series 700) has also been restored to airworthy condition in the USA, and it is hoped that the Viscount will be attending several air shows in the future.Fact|date=May 2008

* Air Canada
* Air Ferry
* Aer Lingus
* Air Bridge Carries
* Air France
* Air Rhodesia
* Alitalia
* All Nippon Airways
* Aloha Airlines
* Ansett
* Arkia Airlines
* Austrian Airlines
* Braathens SAFE
* British Air Ferries
* British Eagle
* British Midland
* British Airways
* British European Airways
* British United Airlines
* British West Indian Airways
* British World Airways
* BWIA West Indies Airways
* Cambrian Airways
* Capital Airlines
* Central African Airway
* Continental Airlines
* Cubana
* Cyprus Airways
* Euroair
* Far Eastern Air Transport
* Ghana Airways
* Hunting Clan
* Icelandair
* Indian Airlines
* Iraqi Airways
* LOT Polish Airlines (3)
* Lufthansa
* MacRobertson Miller Airlines
* Manx
* Mandala Airlines
* Maritime Central Airways
* Middle East Airlines (MEA)
* Misrair - Egypt Airlines
* Northeast Airlines
* National Airways Corporation
* Pakistan International Airlines
* Philippine Airlines
* South African Airways
* SAETA (Sociedad Anonima Ecuatoriana de Transportes Aereos)
* Starways
* TAP Portugal
* Transportes Aereos Centroamericanos (TACA)
* Trans Australia Airlines (TAA)
* Trans Canada Airlines (TCA)
* Transair (Canada)
* Turkish Airlines (THY)
* Union of Burma Airways
* United Airlines
* Virgin Atlantic Airways

Military operators

*Royal Australian Air Force
**No. 34 Squadron RAAF;BRA
*Brazilian Air Force;CHN
*People's Liberation Army Air Force;IND
*Indian Air Force;OMA
*Sultan of Oman Air Force;PAK
*Pakistan Air Force;flag|South Africa|1928
*South African Air Force
**No. 21 Squadron SAAF;TUR
*Turkish Air Force;UK

Aircraft on display

* Type 701 (Registration G-ALWF named "Sir John Franklin") on display in BEA colours at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England.
* Type 701 (Registration G-AMOG named "Sir Robert Falcon Scott") on display in BEA colours at RAF Museum Cosford, Shropshire, England.
* Type 708 (Registration F-BGNR named "Victoria Lynne") awaiting restoration at the Midland Air Museum, Coventry Airport, England [ [ Viscount 35 Association] ]
* Type 708 (Registration F-BGNU) on display in Air France colours at Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum, Germany.
* Type 745D (Registration N7471) in Capital Airlines colors, at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, Reading, PA, USA.
* Type 757 (Registration CF-THG) in Air Canada colours under restoration at BC Air Museum, Victoria, BC, Canada.
* Type 757 (Registration CF-THI) on display in Trans Canada Airlines colours at Canada Aviation Museum, Rockcliffe, Canada.
* Type 757 (Registration CF-THS) on display in Air Canada colours at Western Canada Aviation Museum, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
* Type 772 (Registered 9Y-TBT) fire training at Port of Spain, Piarco International Airport.
* Type 789D (Serial Number FAB2101) on display in Brazilian Air Force colours at the Museu Aeroespacial, Campos dos Afonsos, Brazil.
* Type 794D (Manufacturer Serial Number 430, registration TC-SEL changed to TC-SEV, which crashed 1959 in Gatwick) Military Aviation Museum, Yeşilköy, Istanbul, Turkey.
* Type 806 (Registration G-APIM named "Viscount Stephen Piercey") on display in British Air Ferries colours at Brooklands, Surrey, England.
* Type 807 (Registration ZK-BRF named "City of Christchurch") on display at the Ferrymead Heritage Park, New Zealand
* Type 814 (Registration D-ANAM) on display in British Air Ferries colours with no titles at Flugausstellung Leo Junior at Hermeskeil in Germany.
* Type 818 (Registration VH-TVR named "John Murray") on display in Trans Australian Airlines colours at the Australian National Aviation Museum, Moorabbin, Australia.
* Type 843 (Serial Number 50258) in China Air Force colours as the Beijing Aviation Museum, China.

pecifications (Type 800)

aircraft specifications

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
crew=Two pilots + cabin crew
capacity=75 passengers
length main=85 ft 8 in
length alt=26.11 m
span main=93 ft 8 in
span alt=28.56 m
height main=26 ft 9 in
height alt=8.15 m
area main=963 ft²
area alt= 89 m²
empty weight main=41,479 lb
empty weight alt=18,815 kg
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
max takeoff weight main=72,281 lb
max takeoff weight alt=32,786 kg
engine (prop)=Rolls-Royce Dart RDa.7/1 Mk 525
type of prop= turboprop
number of props=4
power main=2,100 shp
power alt=1,566 kW

max speed main=352 mph
max speed alt=566 km/h
range main=1,735 miles
range alt=2,790 km
ceiling main=25,000 ft
ceiling alt=7,620 m
climb rate main=
climb rate alt=
loading main= 75 lb/ft²
loading alt= 368 kg/m²
power/mass main= 0.12 hp/lb
power/mass alt= 0.19 kW/kg|

ee also


similar aircraft=
* Armstrong Whitworth Apollo
* Ilyushin Il-18
* Lockheed L-188 Electra


see also=


* Andrews, C.F.; Morgan, E.B. "Vickers Aircraft since 1908". London: Putnam, Second Edition, 1988. ISBN 0 85177 815 1.

External links

* [ Vickers Viscount Network, a virtual museum dedicated to the Vickers-Armstrongs VC2 Viscount that contains over 2,500 Viscount photos.]
* [ Viscount 35 Association, a group restoring Viscount 708 F-BGNR "Victoria Lynne"]
* [ Home page of G-APIM - Viscount Stephen Piercey]

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