Politics played an important part of course, as did BOAC’s tactics, and a who dunnit cast of politico-corporate events and machinations at the highest level of society during the dying days of Empire in 1960s Britain. Key players in the story, from Tony Benn to famous test pilot Brian Trubshaw (Concorde), are cited and quoted.
The VC10 was Europe's biggest jet airliner of its age and regarded as the world’s best looking airliner. It was safe, fast, and designed to take off from short runways in Africa and Asia, at the request of its main operator BOAC – the airline that would later go on to become today’s British Airways.
The VC10 and the larger Super VC10 were beloved by pilots and passengers alike and became icons of the 1960s. They were hugely popular all over the world; East African Airlines made its name with Super VC10s, and so too did Freddie Laker. The RAF also made the most of its VC10s.
Yet the VC10 was eclipsed by Boeing’s 707 which sold by the hundreds, despite the fact that the 707 could not initially operate from the runways of the Commonwealth and old British Empire routes, as the VC10 undoubtedly could.
The men of the Vickers Company who created the VC10 would later go on to engineer Concorde and, of course, the rest is history. But the era of the VC10 was pivotal and, by exploring this historical period in depth and highlighting all the various impediments that stood in the way of success for the VC10, Lance Cole adds an important layer to our understanding of twentieth century history.
"British flag carrier BOAC, later BA, effectively and deliberately sabotaged the commercial success of the VC10 because it wanted to buy Boeing airliners. The author has provided an excellent account of the political battles and the commercial skulduggery, the impressive service of the VC10s with those airlines that had the wisdom to buy it, and its outstanding service as a transport and tanker with the RAF. Much Recommended" ~FIRE Reviews
"I enjoyed this book very much, it is an entertaining and stimulating read – not just for VC10 enthusiasts but also for anyone interested in the history of aircraft manufacturing and airline operation in Britain." ~Ulster Airmail Magazine