Review by Andrew Kitney.
Having grown up visiting London’s Heathrow Airport as a kid, and watching the classic early jet airliners, I liked the look of this book as soon as it dropped through my mailbox.
Presented in an easy-to-read, soft-cover book style, a quick flick through the pages had me hooked on just the photographs alone, a mix of both B&W and colour, most of which, as a lifetime aviation enthusiast working in the airline industry, I had not seen before.
The generously illustrated chapters take you through the design, development, and engineering of the aircraft, its introduction into airline service with BOAC, and all its other airline operators.
A separate chapter details the type’s illustrious career with the Royal Air Force, initially as a cargo/transport, but later using the previously detailed airliner variants converted for use as tankers. Again, nicely written and illustrated, while also detailing the test aircraft.
The chapter on variants covers both the standard and Super VC10, and also the freight, elongated, twin deck, and wing-tipped fuel tank variants that never made it past the artist’s impression or drafting table.
A chapter that gives full-colour side profile prints (24 all up, three to a page) of all the liveries carried by every variant and operator is particularly well done and wonderful to see.
Perfect for the modeller within us all, the final chapter details modelling the VC10, covering not only the popular Corgi and Airfix releases, but also the plethora of other companies’ offerings in die-cast, plastic and resin kits, together with aftermarket decal options.
In summary, while the amount and level of detail in the writing is more than enough to provide a comprehensive history of the VC10, it is also very well presented and makes for enjoyable reading on the aircraft, which is only enhanced by the fabulous artwork and photographs. The book can easily be read from cover-to-cover but can also be enjoyed as a coffee table book where a quick ten minutes looking at the photographs will take you back to the golden age of jet travel.