Pen & Sword's Vickers VC.10 and Super VC.10

Author/Artists: Lance Cole


Pen & Sword


$28.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 84 pages, softcover, 11.5 x 8.5 inches, 200 illustrations. ISBN: 978-1-52676006-1

The Vickers VC10 was the last totally British designed airliner. The Concorde was a joink UK/French aircraft, though some who designed the VC10 were also involved in that aircraft. The VC10 was built to handle specific requirements of B.O.A.C. (later British Airways). This involved being able to operate from fairly short runways as well as to have good performance in hot and high environments. The author emphatically states that the VC10 was not meant to be a rival to the Boeing 707, but it did operate on several of the same routes.

The VC10 was also on the radar of the RAF, who were looking for a jet transport for long range hauling ofIn  materiel and troops. So successful was the aircraft in this regard that when civilian VC10s became available, the RAF snagged them and modified them for military service. Later in life, the type was modified to be used as a tanker as the number of Victor tankers was finite and dwindling as the airframes reached the end of their life.

This book is written by a real enthusiast of the type and that becomes very clear as one starts reading. His coverage of the background and development of the aircraft shows that he's done his research. All of the various systems are included as well as upgrades such as the stretch and new engines needed for the Super VC10. In addition to operations with B.O.A.C., the aircraft was operated by a number of African and Middle Eastern airlines. Some of these were new builds and others second hand. With only 54 airframes being constructed, one couldn't really call it a rousing success, but those who flew and flew in it liked it very much. I imagine the expense of the aircraft was what kept it from being more widely used as well as the predominance of the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8

In addition to civil operations, its use in the RAF is also well documented. The book is full of superlative photos, many of them in full color and we also are provided with several pages of color profiles. The book also has a modeler's section that has a look at die cast and plastic kits that have been done and are available for the VC10. I am reminded of the Car Craft book recently reviewed that used a die cast model on the cover. Thankfully, that wasn't done in this case.

In all, it is a great read. The prose flows well and the images are well chosen. I liked it and know that you will as well.

February 2021

Copyright All rights reserved.

Review book courtesy of  Casemate Publishing, where you can order your copy at this link

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