The Vickers Vanguard is a turboprop longer range descendant to the Viscount, capable of carrying higher capacity. The British airliner has a travel range of 1,590 nautical miles with maximum payload, and can fly up to 30,000 feet.

United Kingdom
1960 to: 1996
US$67 million (1960)
4x Rolls-Royce Tyne RTy.11 Mk 51
5,545 horsepower
Max Cruise Speed:
460 knots
852 Km/h
Approach Speed (Vref):
Travel range:
2,730 Nautical Miles
5,056 Kilometers
Fuel Economy:
Service Ceiling:
30,000 feet
Rate of Climb:
1280 feet / minute
6.50metre / second
Take Off Distance:
Landing Distance:
Max Take Off Weight:
63,977 Kg
141,044 lbs
Max Landing Weight:
56,246 Kg
124,000 lbs
Max Payload:
14,515 Kg
32,000 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity:
5,056 gallon
19,139 litre
Baggage Volume:
Seats - Economy / General:
139 seats
Seats - Business Class:
Seats - First Class:
Cabin Height:
Cabin Width:
Cabin Length:
Exterior Length:
37.45 metre - 122.87 feet
Tail height:
10.64 metre - 34.91 feet
Fuselage Diameter:
Wing Span / Rotor Diameter:
35.97 metre - 118.01 feet
Wing Tips:
No Winglets

Vickers Vanguard Production and Development

The Vickers Vanguard was designed to a British European Airways requirement for an aircraft capable of accommodating one hundred seats to succeed the well-known Viscount. The initial Type 870 design was then altered when Trans-Canada Air Lines also showed interest in the design. The existence of two involved customers let the manufacturing company to present an upgraded version Type 950 to meet both needs.

In July 1956, British European Airways ordered twenty Type 951. In January 1957, Trans-Canada Air Lines placed an order for twenty Type 952, then had been subsequently increased to twenty-three aircraft.

In late 1960s, the Vickers Vanguard entered service with British European Airways and Trans-Canada Air Lines. On December 17, the first Vanguard of British European Airways took off from Heathrow, United Kingdom to Paris, France. On March 30 1962, six Type 951 and fourteen Type 953 were delivered. The type obtained numerous British European Airways’ European and UK trunk routes.

The aircraft obtained names of popular Royal Navy warships, the first was labeled Vanguard, but by the time that it was delivered, the British European Airways had already acquired its new “red square” livery.

On April 1 1974, the rest of the British European Airways fleet were transferred to British Airways. On June 16 1974, the last British Airways Vanguard flight took to the sky.

In a period where the industry was dominated by jet aircraft, the Vickers Vanguard had a little success as a passenger airliner. There were only 44 passenger aircraft built; majority were converted to freighters.

Vickers Vanguard Design

Compared to the Viscount, the Vanguard has the half of the Viscount fuselage and then cut it off around midway up from the base, changing the upper part with a wider fuselage diameter that shows a double bubble cross-section same with the Boeing Stratocruiser design. The larger upper section has a spacious interior and has an added cargo capacity underneath the floor.

The Vanguard Type 952 has an external length of 37.45 meters and height of 10.64 meters. The stronger wing designed for higher weights has a wingspan of 35.97 meters and a wing area of 141.9 square meters. The aircraft can accommodate 139 passengers.

Vickers Vanguard Engine and Performance

The Vanguard Type 952 is driven by four powerful Rolls-Royce Tyne Rty.11 Mk 512 turboprop engines. Each engine is capable of producing a maximum power of 5,545 shaft horsepower. The twin-shaft turboprop engine has a length of 2.76 meters and diameter of 1.4 meters. It has an axial six-stage LP and nine-stage HP compressor, ten cannular flame tube combustors, and three-stage LP and single-stage HP turbine.

The aircraft has a cruise speed of 367 knots at 15,000 feet. It has a service ceiling of 30,000 feet, travel range of 1,590 nautical miles with maximum payload of 14,515 kg, and rate of climb of 1,280 feet per minute. The maximum take off and landing weight are 63,977 kg and 56,246 kg respectively. It has a fuel tank capacity of 5,056 US gal.

Vickers Vanguard Applications

The Vickers Vanguard had been used for cargo operations in 1966. Air Canada took out all the seats from one of their Vanguards and converted the aircraft for pure cargo operations wherein it is capable of carrying 19,050 kg of freight load. Named as the Cargoliner, it was the sole cargo conversion and remained as the last Canadian Vanguard. The aircraft retired from service in December 1972.

In 1969, the British European Airways operated nine Vickers Vanguard converted to pure-cargo configuration V953C Merchantman. The first two modification were designed and developed by Aviation Traders Limited, a war-surplus aircraft and spares trader at Southend Airport in England. The remaining modification took place at Heathrow with the use of kits from Aviation Trader Limited. Modification included a large forward cargo door with 3.5×2 meter dimension. The Merchantmen remained in operation with British Airways up to late 1979. The remaining five Merchantmen were sold.

A number of Merchantmen were purchased by Air Bridge Carriers. The aircraft were in service up to 1992, when the airline had been renamed to Hunting Cargo Airlines. On September 30 1996, Hunting Cargo Airlines operated its final V953C flight; after a month, on October 17, the airline donated the Merchantman with aircraft registration G-APEP to Brooklands Museum.

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