The Vickers VC-10 at Liverpool
BOAC's G-ASGA was the first VC-10 to visit Liverpool back in 1967 (Photograph - Richard Heywood)
With thanks once again to Brian Jones for compiling this data
The first Vickers VC-10 to land at Liverpool was just 8 months after the 'new' runway was opened, before then the runway was considered too short. On 10th January 1967 BOAC Super VC-10 G-ASGA arrived from New York via Prestwick, having diverted due to weather at Manchester. Two hours later the aircraft departed for Prestwick and New York. The handling of this BOAC flagship type went smoothly, the airport showing it could handle the latest large jets. By sheer co-incidence, G-ASGA was at Liverpool again on 19th March routing Prestwick-Heathrow on diversion from Manchester.
It was only just short of two years before the VC-10 again used Liverpool. On 9th November 1968 a BOAC Standard VC-10 G-ARVB diverted in, away from weather at Manchester. It routed Prestwick to Heathrow. Just one month later another BOAC Standard VC-10, G-ARVJ routed to and from Prestwick on 14th December on weather divert from Manchester,
On 25th January 1969 Autoland development Super VC-10 G-ASGG crew trained with BOAC at Liverpool, from & to Shannon. Later in year further autoland training was conducted in G-ASGR on 21st May f&t Wisley and G-ASGF on 24th November routing Wisley to Warton.
Diversions in 1969 involved two on the same day on 4th February when Manchester was closed by the weather, G-ARVB routed Prestwick to Heathrow and G-ARVE in the opposite direction Heathrow to Prestwick. The following day, continued poor weather brought in G-ARVG this time f&t Prestwick. At the end of the year on 8th December G-ARVH diverted in due weather at Manchester, routing f&t Prestwick.
In 1970 it was weather down at Heathrow that caused Super VC-10s to divert to Liverpool. Both were East African Airways examples, with 5H-MOG on 8th October routing Athens to Heathrow and 5X-UVJ on 13th December, this time from Rome to Heathrow.
British Caledonian brought in their G-ASIX on 7th December 1971 which arrived from Tripoli, diverting from Gatwick due to weather. It positioned down to Gatwick the following day.
No civilian aircraft called during 1972, but the RAF operated a number of trooping flights which involved 9 different aircraft from No.10 Squadron. The first would appear to have been XR808 on 30th June, f&t Brussels twice.
On the 1st January 1973 G-ASGB diverted upto Liverpool due to weather at Heathrow, the aircraft arriving from Frankfurt. Not long after on 3rd January G-ASGM operated f&t Prestwick due to weather at Manchester.
During the summer further RAF trooping flights brought 8 movements utilising 5 different aircraft.
On 30th October 1973 poor weather at Manchester saw G-ARVF divert in and operate f&t Prestwick. This was the last visit by a BOAC VC-10 as on 1st April 1974 BEA and BOAC amalgamated to become BA.
A further 5 RAF movements used 4 different aircraft, with flights in May, June and December.
A total of 12 RAF movements spread throughout the year utilised 6 different aircraft.
Just the one British Airways Standard VC-10, G-ARVM which on 24th July operated from & to Prestwick for training at Liverpool.
Super VC-10 G-ASGG on 28th January called for crew training, routing from Prestwick to Manchester. On 30th June 1976 it was the turn of G-ARVM for training at Speke, routing f&t Prestwick. Finally shortly before Christmas, on 21st December G-ASGL diverted from Manchester due to weather while on BA648/649 and routed f&t Prestwick.
Although only aircraft that land count as a 'movement', G-ARVM appeared ILS training at Liverpool again 27.5.76, 21.9.76, 22.1.77, 27.8.78 and 8.9.78 at least - however on each occasion performed go-arounds, rather than landings.
Sole VC-10 visitor of the year was G-ARVM which called on 10th May for training, f&t Prestwick. We were not to know it at the time, but this was the last appearance on the ground by a civilian Standard VC-10 at Liverpool.
An interesting start to the year,with two Super VC-10s, G-ASGL and G-ASGR diverting into Liverpool due to weather at Heathrow on the same day, 18th January. Later in the year, after no flights for several years, No.10 Squadron R.A.F. reappeared with XR806 on 15th November, trooping to and from Belfast.
G-ASGF was one of 10 BA VC10s visiting in 1979 (Photograph - Brian Jones)
Although the Super VC-10 was soon for retirement from the BA fleet, 1979 proved to be the busiest year for the type at Liverpool due to a five day strike in April and the two week strike closing Manchester in September.
The year started though with diversions from Heathrow on 15th January of G-ASGK arriving from Rome/Fiumicino and G-ASGI direct from Beruit. Both aircraft later departed to Heathrow.
Five days of industrial action at Manchester in April brought some Super VC-10 movements to Liverpool:
On Tuesday 3rd G-ASGC from Heathrow to Prestwick BA9439/185 and G-ASGB f&t Prestwick as BA184/081.
On Wednesday 4th G-ASGH f&t Prestwick as BA184/185 and G-ASGB BA080/081 f&t Prestwick.
On Thursday 5th G-ASGH on BA184/5 again, f&t Prestwick.
On Friday 6th G-ASGH once again on BA184/5 f&t Prestwick plus G-ASGI from Prestwick to Toronto direct as BA080/083
The two week strike brought the following VC-10s to Liverpool:
On Sat 8th September G-ASGF operated BA184/5, while G-ASGR operated BA84/5, both f&t Preswick.
On Sunday 9th, G-ASGF from Prestwick on BA184, to Heathrow as BA9434, G-ASGE from Toronto direct as BA82, to Prestwick BA185, while G-ASGR f&t Prestwick as BA9444/BA85.
On Monday 10th, G-ASGA arrived direct from New York JFK on BA184, departing on BA185 to Prestwick.
On Tuesday 11th, G-ASGA on BA184/185 f&t Prestwick.
On Wednesday 12th, G-ASGA on BA184/185 f&t Prestwick
On Thursday 13th, G-ASGA on BA184/185 f&t Prestwick
On Friday 14th, G-ASGA on BA184/185 f&t Prestwick
On Saturday 15th, G-ASGA on BA184/185 f&t Prestwick, plus G-ASGF Heathrow-Prestwick as BA9725P/83.
On Sunday 16th, G-ASGA from Prestwick to Heathrow BA184/9434.G-ASGF returned from Toronto direct on BA82 and departed for Prestwick as BA185, with G-ASGP f&t Prestwick as BA9444P/085.
On Monday 17th, G-ASGF f&t Prestwick as BA184/5 and G-ASGP also f&t Prestwick as BA084/081, departing after a night-stop.
On Tuesday 18th, G-ASGF f&t Prestwick on BA184/185
On Wednesday 19th, G-ASGF f&t Prestwick on BA184/5 and G-ASGP from Prestwick as BA80, to Heathrow BA9440.
On Thursday 20th, G-ASGF f&t Prestwick on BA184/5 and G-ASGH from Heathrow as BA9439 and to Prestwick as BA81.
On Friday 21st, G-ASGF on BA184/5 f&t Prestwick and G-ASGH f&t Prestwick BA80/85.
On Saturday 22nd, G-ASGF arrived direct from New York JFK on BA184, to Prestwick BA185 and G-ASGH f&t Prestwick as BA84/81. Then the Manchester strike was declared over and normality returned to Liverpool.
To complete the year we should mention XR807, which visited from Wildenrath to Gutersloh on 27th October.
The final BA Super VC-10 movement through Liverpool involved G-ASGP which diverted in from Manchester on 3rd January 1980 operating BA184/185 f&t Prestwick.
Although the VC-10 continued to use Liverpool Airport for many years to come, they were R.A.F. military flights.
RAF VC10 XV104 taxies in to the apron at Liverpool (Photograph - Brian Jones)
XR810 visited f. Akrotiri t. Brize Norton on the 1st February 2001 (Photograph - Brian Jones)
There was never a series of Liverpool originating charter or scheduled flights by VC-10/Super VC-10s from Liverpool Airport. Most civilian aircraft calling on diversion, either due to weather or strike action closing Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester. There were also visits by for crew training/Autoland use.
The reign of the civilian VC-10 at Liverpool was fairly brief, just 1967 to 1980. The number of different aircraft that have appeared at Liverpool for each year is given (NB this list is NOT the number of visits by type) along with the registrations of aircraft appearing in each calendar year.
1967 1 G-ASGA First visit of Super VC-10 type 10.1.67
1968 2 G-ARVB, G-ARVJ. First visit of a Standard VC-10 9.11.68
1969 7 G-ARVB, G-ARVE, G-ARVG, G-ARVH, G-ASGF, G-ASGG, G-ASGR 1970 2 5H-MOG, 5X-UVJ
1971 1 G-ASIX
1972 9 XR806, XR807, XR808, XR810, XV102, XV103, XV104, XV105, XV106.
1973 8 G-ARVF, G-ASGB, G-ASGM, XR807, XV102, XV103, XV106, XV108.
1974 4 XR806, XR807, XV101 & XV106
1975 7 G-ARVM, XR806, XR807, XR808, XV103, XV105, XV109
1976 3 G-ARVM, G-ASGG, G-ASGL
1977 1 G-ARVM last visit by a civilian Standard VC-10 10.5.77
1978 3 G-ASGL, G-ASGR, XR806
1979 11 G-ASGA, G-ASGB, G-ASGC, G-ASGE, G-ASGF, G-ASGH, G-ASGI, G-ASGK, G-ASGP, G-ASGR & XR807
1980 1 G-ASGP last visit by a civilian Super VC-10 3.1.80
1982 4 XR810, XV104, XV108, XV101
1983 3 XV102, XV106, XV108
1984 1 XV109
1985 2 XV104, XV109
1986 7 XR806, XR808, XR810, XV102, XV103, XV108, XV109
1987 2 XR807, XV108
1988 3 XR808, XR810, XV105
1989 4 XR807, XV102, XV103, XV104
1990 5 XR806, XV101, XV102, XV103, XV104
1991 3 XV104, XV105, XV106
1992 2 XV102, XV104
1993 3 XR807, XV106, XV108
1994 1 XV105
1995 2 XR808, XV109
1998 1 XV108
2000 1 XV103
2001 2 XR807, XR810
2002 4 XR807, XV105, XV106, ZA150/J
2003 4 XR807, XV101, XV104, XV107
2004 2 XV102, XV104
2005 2 XR808, XV106
2009 1 XV101
This is a complete list of the VC-10s to have visited Liverpool. Phil Butler has provided us with the dates and routing of the civilian and early military visits.
No.10 Squadron which had operated the VC-10 C1 aircraft from new in 1966 disbanded during 2005, the aircraft becoming part of the VC-10 tanker unit No.101 Squadron. The RAF VC-10 C.1 aircraft were all modified to VC-10 C1K standard in the early 80s with provision of drogues for air-to-air refuelling.
Currently, the final visit of a VC-10 to Liverpool took place in 2009 with VC10 C1K XV101 on the 20th August. It arrived from Dusseldorf at 16:59 and departed to Brize Norton at 17:46 as RRR2103.
We may have a few years yet to 'bag' further visits before the shrill of the Conways disappears from Liverpool's airspace. Well maybe ... time will tell...
If the count is correct there were 54 VC-10 and Super VC-10s built, including the prototype. Of these no less than 36 have been seen at Liverpool.
Logged at Liverpool:
BOAC/BA G-ARVB, G-ARVE, G-ARVF, G-ARVG, G-ARVH, G-ARVJ & G-ARVM (7/12)
BOAC/BA G-ASGA, G-ASGB, G-ASGC, G-ASGE, G-ASGF, G-ASGG, G-ASGH, G-ASGI, G-ASGK, G-ASGL, G-ASGM, G-ASGP & G-ASGR (13/17)
BUA/BCAL G-ASIX (1/4)
E.A.A. 5H-MOG & 5X-UVJ (2/5)
R.A.F. XR806, XR807, XR808, XR810, XV101, XV102, XV103, XV104, XV105, XV106, XV107, XV108 & XV109 (13/14)
Airframes that have not visited Liverpool are:
G-ARVA (to 5N-ABD 9.69 and crashed 14km short of Lagos 20.11.69), G-ARVC, G-ARVI, G-ARVK & G-ARVL (all 4 to Gulf Air 10/75).
G-ASGD, G-ASGJ, G-ASGN (destroyed by terrorists in Jordan 12.9.70) & G-ASGO (destroyed by fire at Schiphol 3.3.74).
VC-10 C.1 XR809 was fitted with an RB.211 engine 1969 and eventually scrapped once flight testing was completed.
To complete the list 3 BUA/BCAL aircraft G-ARTA, G-ASIW, G-ATDJ, 2 del new to Ghana and 3 others del new to EAA.
If the count doesn't seem right, then we need to mention that ZA150/J a VC-10 K.3 is the same airframe as visited 32 years earlier as 5H-MOG!