The Vickers Vimy was designed as a long-range bomber capable of delivering a one ton payload to central Germany. Deliveries to the RAF began in October 1918, just too late to see operational use in World War One. However, pioneering flights across the Atlantic, from England to Australia and London to Cape Town would ensure its place in aviation history.
This modern reproduction was commissioned by Peter McMillan in 1994 to re-enact the type’s three long distance flights of 1919-20. Its first flight was made in California on the 30th July 1994. In 1994 it flew the epic 75th anniversary flight to Australia, piloted by Peter McMillan and Lang Kidby. In 1999 it successfully flew to South Africa, piloted by Mark Rebholz and John LaNoue and on 2nd -3rd July 2005, the Vimy achieved the ultimate goal when Steve Fossett and Mark Rebholz successfully re-enacted Alcock & Brown’s trans-Atlantic flight from St Johns, Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland, in just under 19 hours.
In 2006 ownership passed to the American ISTAT Foundation and the aeroplane was maintained to airworthy standards at Dunsfold Park by Brooklands Museum volunteers. It was finally donated to Brooklands Museum Trust on 26th August 2006.
Since 2006 the Vimy has represented Brooklands at a number of occasions including the Farnborough Airshow, the Goodwood Revival and the 2009 Connemara Airshow in Ireland to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of Alcock and Brown flying the Atlantic. The decision was taken to retire the aircraft from flying and on the 15th November 2009, its last flight was to the grass landing strip at Mercedes-Benz World.
NX71MY was built in California in 1994 by John La Noue. Its basic specifications are:
Wingspan: 68 feet (20.75m)
Length: 43 feet 6 inches (13.25m)
Tailspan: 16 feet (4.88m)
Height:16 feet 4 inches (4.98m)
Cruising Speed: 65 kts (75 mph) Stall Speed: 35 kts (40 mph)
Empty Weight:7,642 lb (3,467kg) Maximum Gross Weight: 12,500 lb (5,445kg)
Ceiling: 13,800 ft (4,200m) @ 9,000lb; 1,200 ft (365m) @ 12,500lb
Fuel Capacity: 530 gallons (2,400 Litres), 100 Octane min; 40 gallons/hour average burn yields approximately 15 hour total endurance
Australia flight: 2 x 454 cubic inch (7.4litre) Chevrolet V8s in NSCAR racing trim
South Africa Flight: 2 x 5.4litre BMW M73 V12s producing 321bhp (240kw)
Atlantic flight: 2 x 495 cubic inch (8.1 litre) Orenda OE600 V8s producing 600bhp (450kW) maximum/500bhp (375kW) continuous
Propellers: 10ft 6ins (3.20m) diameter, four- bladed Műhlbauer units