A very Brief Viscount History

The Vickers Viscount was born out of the 1945 Brabazon Committee for a short medium range Airliner. The initial VC2 design carried only 24 passengers, this was considered too few and was increased to 32 by the time the go ahead for construction of the prototype was given. Vickers had intended to name their new Aircraft the Viceroy, however as India gained its independence from the British Empire in 1947, it was considered prudent to re-christen the type and the name Viscount was chosen.

The prototype V.630 Viscount G-AHRF took to the air on the 16th July 1948 from the Vickers testing airfield at Wisley, Surrey. The production V.700 Viscounts were stretched 6ft 6in over the two prototype V.630,s giving a length of 81ft 2in, allowing a seating capacity of 43 in a two class layout as adopted by initial customer British European Airways (B.E.A.), whose V.701,s inaugurated scheduled Viscount Services on 18th April 1953. Below is the prototype V.630 G-AHRF in Amsterdam on 29th March 1950

G-APIM Recovery

Forty Five type V.700 Viscounts were built at Brooklands before production moved to Wisley, to allow construction of the new V.800 series to commence. The new Viscounts featured a 3ft 10in stretch over the V.700 series, but an increase in useable cabin length of 9ft 3in was obtained by moving the rear bulkhead further aft.

The initial production version of the V.800 series the V.802 for B.E.A. first flew on 27th July 1956 and carried 58 passengers in the corporations two class layout with B.E.A. receiving 24 V.802,s. Even with over 50 Viscounts either in service or on order B.E.A. needed more, and ordered 14 V.806 Viscounts (G-AOYT-G-AOYT). Essentially the V.806 was identical to the V.802 with the addition of more powerful Rolls Royce Dart R.da.7 MK 520 engines. This order was later increased to 16 adding G-APEX and G-APEY, and again when order 39c was received by Vickers to comprise three Aircraft, the first of which was construction number 412 to become G-APIM.

The other two being G-APKF (396) and G-APJU (413). These three Aircraft being ordered to cover for two V.802,s (G-AOJA (G-AOHP) which had been written off, and the initial V.806, G-AOYF which was badly damaged at Johannesburg on 20th October 1957 although subsequently the remains of `YF` were brought back to Vickers and it was rebuilt as c/n 418 G-APOX becoming the last viscount to be delivered to B.E.A.

Vickers continued to modify the V.800 Viscount and came up with the V.810 series. As a result of further improved R.DA 7/1 MK 525 darts, and internal strengthening greater operational weights and higher speeds were achieved. The vast majority of V.810 sales were to overseas customers, with the last of a total of 438 Viscounts sold being delivered to the Chinese state airline C.R.A.C. on 16th April 1964.