VC10 C1K Retires
The last Vickers VC10 C1K (XR808) was delivered to Bruntingthorpe today, 29th July 2013, by 101 Squadron, RAF Brize Norton and into retirement. This is the latest stage of the planned drawdown of the steadfast but ageing VC10 fleet prior to its replacement by Voyager, the RAF’s exciting new state-of-the-art AT/AAR asset now in service with 10 Squadron. XR808 was first operated by 10 Squadron, which reformed on the 1st July 1966, and was the first unit to fly the Vickers VC10 C1 initially at RAF Fairford before moving to RAF Brize Norton in May 1967.
During its time on 10 Squadron it was used for the usual peacetime passenger and cargo roles all over the world - its strengthened floor being a major difference from the civil versions. This was to prove useful during the first Gulf War when the aircraft flew up to 50 1000lb bombs at a time out to the Gulf to rearm the Tornados in theatre. The VC10 C1 (C indicating Cargo aircraft) will doubtless be remembered for its role in flying the Royal Family and various VIPs around the world. Between 1993 and 1996 the 13 VC10C1s were converted to become a tanker and transport aircraft with the aircraft being fitted with two under wing refuelling pods which enabled them to dispense some of its own fuel to probe fitted aircraft, thus the C1 became the C1K (K standing for Tanker). XR808 was the last to be converted and delivered back to the Squadron in October 1996.
The VC10 C1Ks were operated by 10 Squadron until October 2005 when, on the Squadron’s disbandment, the aircraft moved over to 101 Squadron which became the sole operator of all the remaining VC10 K3, K4 and C1K aircraft. XR808, in its 47th year of RAF Service, has proven to be a formidable aircraft for air transport, VIP passage and a world class tanker platform. It has amassed over 43865 flying hours during its time in RAF Service. 101 Squadron will continue to operate the remaining three VC10 K3s until October when, with the retirement of the VC10, it will become the second Voyager Squadron.
Officer Commanding 101 Squadron, Wing Commander Kevin Brookes said;
“XR808, better known on the Squadron as “BOB” due to her tail number, has always been one of the Squadron’s favorite aircraft and carries distinctive tail art. XR808 has served the Royal Air Force for over 47 years operating as a passenger, freighter, VIP and AAR platform and this mark of aircraft has been much admired, not just in the United Kingdom but also around the world and will undoubtedly take her place in aviation and RAF history; she is another example of outstanding British design and engineering.”
Editor: RAF Brize Norton Media Team
Photography: RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2013