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Vickers 1103 VC10 'Sultan of Oman'

1964, Aircraft Park, On long term display

The VC10 was the ultimate British airliner – the biggest, most luxurious aircraft ever put into production in the UK, and it was designed and built here at Brooklands. It was favoured by pilots for its outstanding performance (which enabled it to lift heavier loads of shorter runways than any of its competitors) and by passengers for its quiet, vibration-free and roomy cabin. No wonder it was known as the "Queen of the Skies". The first VC10, registration G-ARTA, flew from Brooklands on 29/6/62, and a further 53 examples (31 'standard' and 22 Super VC10s) left the factory here over the next eight years. Customers ranged from British Overseas Airways Corporation (who bought 29 aircraft of both variants), British United Airways (later part of British Caledonian), Ghana Airways and the Royal Air Force.

With an unblemished passenger safety record and one of the longest periods in continual military service of any aircraft, the VC10 has a very special connection to Brooklands. The example here is unique as it shows the luxurious interiors which were configured for Royal use by His Majesty The Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said Al Said who generously gifted the aircraft to Brooklands Museum on its retirement. It was built by Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd and first flown from here on 17/10/64. Delivered to British United Airways at Gatwick, registered G-ASIX, it passed to British Caledonian in November 1970 and was sold to the Omani Government in 1974. After refurbishment at BAC Hurn, it was operated as ‘A40-AB’ by The Sultan of Oman’s Royal Flight at Muscat, and was the last civilian operated VC10 in service. Its final flight was from Muscat to Brooklands via Heathrow on 6/7/87, crewed by Officers of the Omani Royal Flight and with His Excellency Hussein Bin Mohammed Bin Ali (Omani Ambassador) and Sir Peter Masefield (Chairman of Trustees of the Museum) as passengers.

Since then volunteers have maintained the aircraft with invaluable help from many companies and other organisations, including the RAF. Originally preserved on the adjacent airfield, the VC10 was carefully moved across the river to its present position in June 2004.

Vickers VC10 Data

  • Engines: Four Rolls-Royce Conway turbo-jets
  • Wing span: 146ft 2ins (44.6m)
  • Length: 158ft 8ins (48.4m)
  • Height: 39ft 6ins (12m)
  • Max take-off weight: 314,000 lbs (142,427kg)
  • Max cruising speed: 580 mph
  • Service ceiling: 43,000ft
  • Max range: 5,850 miles