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VirginFlyer
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Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 12:39 pm

I am watching CNN, and they keep showing footage of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair getting of an aircraft for a coalition-building meeting in India. My question is, what is the aircraft he is getting out of. There is a Union Jack on the top of the Door (which has the outside still facing outside when it is open, if this can help with and ID). The window spacings make me think it is some sort of A32x aircraft. It appears to be greay or silver, with a darker grey cheatline underneath the windows. Anyone got any idea what aircraft this is?

Cheers

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
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yyz717
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 12:50 pm

Most likely a RAF L-1011-500 or VC-10. The RAF has no Airbus aircraft.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
airbus380
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 1:12 pm


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AndyEastMids
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 4:37 pm

Tony Blair has been flying on a Royal Air Force VC-10:


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Andy
 
GDB
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 5:34 pm

Yep, definately a 10 Sqn. RAF VC-10.
One of the original batch of 14 delivered in 1965-67. 13 still operate.
In the early 1990's they were also given a tanker role too, with a Flight-Refuelling Mk.32 pod under each wing. The 14th aircraft was used as a test-bed for the early RB-211 engines, and was later scrapped.
As built, these wonderful aircraft had the more powerful engines of the Super VC-10, with the shorter Standard fuselage. Plus a cargo door, strenghened floor with cargo handling, provsion for an in-flight refuelling probe on the nose, plus an APU.
The remaining RAF transport/tankers were converted from ex East African Airways Super VC-10's, 5 were done in the early 1980's, plus 5 ex-BA supers out of 13 purchased by the RAF. 101 Sqn. RAF has the ex-airline tankers. The Standard VC-10 tanker conversions have been retired on cost grounds.
Before the sad-cases start whinging about tax-payers money funding trips for the PM on fuel-thirsty aircraft, bear in mind that RAF VC-10s have self-protection equipment to decoy heat-seeking shoulder-launched missiles. Blair is travelling in a sensitive part of the world.
Sadly, a scheme to replace the noisey, fuel thirsty Conway engines with 4x V2500 engines was not funded.
The VC-10s will be replaced in a few years with possibly ex-BA 767s, converted to tanker/transport, or new A330's.
As the MoD are looking at buying 6 BA 767's as a short-term boost to it's transport fleet, it's obvious which is the front-runner.
Driving this is the cost of the Conway engines, in both fuel-consumption and spares, the airframes, seen by many as the best engineered jetliner ever, have plenty of life left.
 
VC-10
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 6:17 pm

In its day the Conway was considered a very fuel efficient engine.


Airbus380, what has your post to do with the question ?
 
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VirginFlyer
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 7:40 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone, most appreciated! I actually saw some more shots of it on NZ's nightly news, and it showed Blair inside, definitely a narrow body, with those old style overhead 'hat-racks' as opposed to lockers.

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 8:21 pm

I thought the VC10 had been stood down from doing flights like this...or was it stood down from Royal flights only??
 
tbone202
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 9:19 pm

According to the news, Tony Blair doesn't have a plane. He either asks to borrow the Queen's jet, or just hops on th next British Airways flight. Thats what I've heard.

tbone202
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 9:40 pm

A few years ago they did talk about getting a long-haul Airbus, but I don't know what happened to those plans.
 
ContinentalEWR
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 10:41 pm

I was at Heathrow one afternoon about three years ago, waiting to board a Virgin Atlantic flight to NYC
for the Thanksgiving holidays when I lived in the UK
when I saw the VC10 take off from the main runway
adjacent to Terminal 4. It was a powerful noise,
lots of black smoke from the back, really noisy, and
you could not help but question the safety and the
efficiency of using this type of aircraft.

However, I have seen Mr. Blair travel on British
Airways ets before (chartered probably) including
the 767 and 777's.

ContinentalEWR
 
BlueShamu330s
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 11:07 pm

ContinentalEWR

The VC10 family has one of the very best safety records in the history of aviation.

Additionally, they all had very low cycles when the RAF took them off BA.

It's a shame so few people these days got the opportunity to fly on them; they were fast (M .86 cruise), powerful, and from a passenger's perspective, they were and still are the quietest long haul airplane ever, due to the rear mounted Conways.

Now if only they'd tried re-engineering those engine mounts to replace the 4 Conways with 2 RB-211s......

.........................................................
Busses are bigger and better inside !!  Smokin cool
.........................................................

But the VC10 was the best !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I drive a 4x4. So what?! Tax the a$$ off me for it...oh, you already have... :-(
 
VC-10
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sat Oct 06, 2001 11:41 pm

"It was a powerful noise,
lots of black smoke from the back, really noisy, and you could not help but question the safety
" - Why should this cause you to question the safety of the VC-10
 
GDB
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sun Oct 07, 2001 2:10 am

Blair flew on one of the original RAF VC-10's, not a converted airline model. And that's always the case. They are very well maintained with a very tough airframe and great system redundancy.
The RB-211 test airframe did suffer from stress due to the oversized engine fitted to the L/H pylon. The V2500's probably would have been OK, we'll never know.
The 'Royal' flight BAe-146's are not. They are part of 32 Sqn. at RAF Northolt in West London. The squadron has a VIP role, which includes senior service chiefs, politicans as well as the Royals.
There was indeed talk of a dedicated long-haul type for VIP, a white-tail A340 was identified as a potential solution, but the plan never proceeded.
Blair flew back on a BA 777, as I said in the previous post on this thread, trips to sensitive/threat areas will usually entail an RAF aircraft for obvious reasons.
If the PM does another trip to see Bush in the near future, a BA Concorde may be used. The cost is not much greater than chartering any commercial aircraft, and probably not far off an RAF VC-10.

 
stephen007
Posts: 150
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sun Oct 07, 2001 2:51 am

Blair was flying on a BA B777. See the BBC website, news-on-demand to see the video footage of him disembarking......

cheers!
 
GDB
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sun Oct 07, 2001 6:05 am

Yes, he came back on a BA 777, don't know where he boarded it, probably India. The VC-10 he went out on to Russia and Pakistan may have positioned itself in the region to support RAF/RN assets.
 
oneworldboy
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Sun Oct 07, 2001 9:50 am

BA 777? Now that surely is the way to go, with all due respects to the VC-10.
 
Trident
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Mon Oct 08, 2001 7:06 am

Just to highlight the performance capability of the VC-10, I'm a member of an operatic society (don't laugh) and one of our make-up ladies is an ex-stewardess for British United who flew VC-10's in the 60's. She told me that on positiioning flights from West Africa to Gatwick with only flight and cabin crew on board, they regularly cruised at 50,000 feet. As far as I'm aware, the only other airliner capable of emulating this is Concorde.
A lovely aeroplane, the VC-10, possibly the most gracious airliner ever made. It will be a sad day when the RAF finally withdraw them.
 
Guest

RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Mon Oct 08, 2001 7:22 am

And to highlight it even more, let me relate a tale told to me by my former boss, Robin Flood, from her time at BUA when she travelled with Sir Freddie Laker on a marketing tour of Latin America on G-ARTA which was in a combi configuration - carrying Sir Freddie's Rolls Royce!

Anyway, they were in La Paz, which is about as high as you can get - and they watched a Pan Am 707 spool up to maximum thrust before releasing brakes and rotating just before the end of the very, very long main runway.

The captain of the aircraft then requested - in insoucant RAF tones - permission to use the shortest runway, and did a rolling takeoff to boot! Big grin Big grin Big grin Comments from the Yanks were unprintable!
 
GDB
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Mon Oct 08, 2001 7:23 am

From a report in today's Observer, about Blair's shuttle diplomacy;

'At lunchtime on Thursday, at the VIP suite at LHR, Blair's RAF VC-10 warmed up for take-off. He had been going to travel in a BA 777 until his security advisors warned him that he was flying into one of the most volatile regions of the world.
When news of the trip to Russia, Pakistan and India started leaking out the day before, Blair agreed to use the VC-10 which is faster, more manouevrable and is equipped with anti-missile decoys'.
 
Guest

RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Mon Oct 08, 2001 7:25 am

The super VC10 must be the most elegant liner ever to take the skies!
 
VC-10
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Mon Oct 08, 2001 8:46 am

G-ARTA which was in a combi configuration - G-ARTA didn't have a main deck freight door so it couldn't be that one.
 
Guest

RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Mon Oct 08, 2001 8:58 am

G-ASIX then? Which BUA ones had the main deck door?
 
GDB
Posts: 12678
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Tue Oct 09, 2001 1:28 am

G-ARTA was written off in a heavy landing at LGW on 28/1/72 while with
BCal.
It was diverted to LHR from Rio due to bad weather.
The crew were then out of hours, so another crew were to ferry it to LGW. The F/O was very new, he misunderstood instructions and deployed the spoilers destroying the lift, the a/c bounced three times, breaking it;s back.
The only passenger was a BCal office clerk who lived near LGW. After the 'landing' he said 'is it always like this', one of the crew repiled 'no it bloody well isn't, shut up!'
G-ASIX ended up with the Sultan of Oman, it used fields out there where the biggest aircraft operating regulary was a Viscount!
BA maintenace looked after it, based in the then TBB Concorde hangar, where many of the engineers were, and still are, ex-RAF/BOAC/BA/BAC VC-10 engineers.
Finally retired in 1987, three years later than planned as the Sultan loved the aircraft, it flew to it's final home at the former BAC factory at Brooklands, Surrey, now a museum. The Sultan of Oman was involved as he was determined to find a good home for it.
Blair used one of the ones built for the RAF, don't know which one.

 
GDB
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Freddies Roller

Tue Oct 09, 2001 1:34 am

Laker's car was carried in G-ASIW, his company Aviation Traders designed a scissors-lift, for the combi operation, and the car was it's first demonstration.
 
RJ_Delta
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RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Tue Oct 09, 2001 1:35 am

No, it was a Boeing 777-200ER of British Airways.

RJ_Delta.
 
Guest

RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Tue Oct 09, 2001 1:37 am

GDB - did the FO ever make Captain? Big grin Big grin Big grin In fact, I heard that the Captain was pretty new as well and got busted back down to FO.

I still have one of the plaques sold on behalf of the Golden Lion's Children's Trust with a piece of VC10 in the shape of a VC10 silhouette! There are pix of G-ARTA being broken up at the maintenance base.
 
GDB
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RJ-Delta

Tue Oct 09, 2001 3:18 am

Blair flew out on an RAF VC-10. for reasons posted by me above, he came back on a 777.
 
BlueShamu330s
Posts: 2569
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2001 3:11 am

RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Tue Oct 09, 2001 6:02 am

Oh, I'm getting all dewey eyed on the nostalgia of it all  Embarrassment
So I drive a 4x4. So what?! Tax the a$$ off me for it...oh, you already have... :-(
 
GDB
Posts: 12678
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

BlueShamu330s

Wed Oct 10, 2001 1:57 am

So you should!
(Harry Enfield's Old Gits voice), 'They don't make them like the VC-10 anymore!'
 
Guest

RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Wed Oct 10, 2001 2:10 am

For five points, GDB what was the Accountant; and for another five, what aircraft did it allegedly inspire? Big grin Big grin Big grin

Were you ex BUA or Caledonian?
 
Mac
Posts: 287
Joined: Thu May 24, 2001 11:56 am

RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Wed Oct 10, 2001 2:21 am

Good old Tony...sticking with the British made stuff...and that's the way it should be.


Mac
 
GDB
Posts: 12678
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Wed Oct 10, 2001 3:53 am

The Accountant? Twin dart prop, DC-3 replacement intented, but expensive to produce so programme axed, I think.
Probably inspired the HS748.
No, I'm BA, always have been. But many of my workmates in Concorde Engineering are ex-VC-10, so I've heard many of the war stories.
 
Guest

RE: Tony Blair's Plane

Wed Oct 10, 2001 3:57 am

Ten points that man! Big grin Big grin Big grin

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