Tuesday, 4 September 2018

British Airliners (5) : Vickers Viscount

The Vickers Viscount was one of the most successful British airliners of the post-war period, taking advantage of the new turboprop engines developed in the late 1940s by Rolls Royce.

First flight: 1948
Withdrawn: 2009
Number built: 445
The Viscount first flew in 1948 and entered service in 1953 being the first turboprop airliner to enter service and the first turbine powered airliner to carry fare paying passengers. It was designed for short to medium haul journeys on routes with lower passenger numbers. Originally it had a fairly short fuselage and could carry up to thirty two passengers but later versions were extended. The Viscount had a pressurised cabin and large cabin windows and proved popular with passengers and airlines.

The then new turboprop propulsion proved it's superiority of traditional pistol engines and despite some initial scepticism from airlines soon proved a hit and four hundred and forty five were eventually built. It had a long service life, finally leaving airline service in Britain in 1996 but continued in service elsewhere especially in Africa. The final Viscount flight was in early 2009 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In service with British Midland in the early 1980s at Birmingham Airport

Preserved Viscount at Brooklands