Other books have charted the VC10 in airline life, but this book blends that story with a well-researched tale of corporate and political power play. It asks; just what lay behind the sales failure of the VC1O?
Politics played an important part of course, as did BOACs 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 the nations biggest jet airliner of its age and regarded as the worlds 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 todays 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 with his famed VC10 fleet.
Yet the VC10 was eclipsed by Boeings 707 which sold by the hundreds, despite the fact that the 707 was less capable and 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.
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