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The Vickers Viscount

Country of origin  
United Kingdom

Photos  

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Photo © Gary Vincent

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Photo © Ian Haskell
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Photo © Den Pascoe
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Powerplants  
700 - Four 1154kW (1547ehp) Rolls-Royce Dart R.Da.3 Mk.505/506 turboprops driving four-blade constant speed propellers.
700D - Four 1297kW (1740ehp) Rolls-Royce R.Da.6 Mk.510s.
800 - Four 1327kW (1780ehp) R.Da.6 Mk.510s, or 1409kW (1890ehp) R.Da.7 Mk.520s.
810 - 1485kW (1990ehp) R.Da.7/1 Mk.525/530s.

Performance  
700D - Max cruising speed 537km/h (290kt), economical cruising speed 521km/h (282kt). Service ceiling 25,500ft. Range with max payload and no reserves 2140km (1157nm), range with max fuel and 43 passengers 2768km (1496nm).
810 - Max cruising speed 587km/h (318kt), economical cruising speed 565km/h (305kt). Range with 64 passengers 2780km (1500nm), range with max fuel 2832km (1530nm).

Weights  
700D - Basic empty 17,200kg (37,918lb), max takeoff 29,257kg (64,500lb).
810 - Operating empty 19,959kg (43,200lb), max takeoff 32,866kg (72,500lb).

Dimensions  
700 - Wing span 28.56m (93ft 9in), length with radar 24.94m (81ft 10in), height 8.16m (26ft 9in). Wing area 89.5m2 (963sq ft).
800 - Same except for length 26.11m (85ft 8in).

Capacity  
Flightcrew of two or three. 700 - Typical layouts included 40 passengers at four abreast, or between 47 to 63 at five abreast.
800 - Typical seating for 65 at five abreast and 97cm (38in) pitch.

Production  
Total Viscount production reached 436 aircraft. Approx 3 Viscounts in service in 2004, all in Africa.

Type  
Turboprop airliner and freighter

History  

Vicker's Viscount was the first turboprop airliner from any nation to enter service.

The Viscount was one of the results of the UK's wartime Brabazon Committee, which was set up to define requirements for British postwar commercial aircraft. Discussions between the committee and Vickers designers in late 1944, who had already been working on the VC-1 Viking airliner development of the Wellington bomber, resulted in what was eventually to become the Viscount. The committee's requirement was for a 24 seat 1000 mile (1600km/868nm) range airliner, and by the end of 1945 Vickers had selected the Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engine that was then under development to power the new aircraft.

In March 1946 the British government placed a contract with Vickers to build two prototypes of its design (then called Viceroy), one powered by Darts, the other by Armstrong Siddeley Mamba turboprops. By the time of the Dart powered prototype's first flight on July 16 1948 the design had grown to seat 34 and was designated Type 630. The second prototype, the Type 663, was powered by two Rolls-Royce Tay jet engines. Airline indifference to the 34 seat Viscount and the availability of more powerful Dart variants however led Vickers to stretch the design to seat 40. This development was designated the Type 700, and first flew on April 19 1950.

Airline interest in the Viscount 700 was much stronger, and after receiving certification on April 17 1953 it entered service with BEA the following day. The Viscount was the subject of numerous large orders including from North America, its smoothness, good operating economics and pressurisation contributing to its success.

Capitalising on the 700's success Vickers developed the stretched 800 with seating for up to 69, while the final Viscount development was the 810 with more powerful engines and higher weights.

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The backbone of this section is from the The International Directory of Civil Aircraft by Gerard Frawley and used with permission. To get your own copy of the book click here.