My understanding was that BOAC ordered 15 Standards, three were cancelled and the production places went to the RAF (who also got 11 more, all with Standard fuselage, Super wing and engines, and something no commercial one had, an APU.
As well as freight door, cargo handling gear and a strengthened floor.
5 of the current RAF tanker fleet are ex BA
Supers converted in the early 1990's sadly the option of changing the Conways to 4 x V2500 engines was not implemented, then the VC
-10 was to retire in 1999, now it's 2008/9 so it would have been worthwhile.
5 of the cancelled 13 Supers were to have a freight door, BOAC did the UK a great disservice by specifying the VC
-10, then at first, undermining it (they produced figures, later shown to be exaggerated, showing much higher operating costs compared to 707-320B, even passing them to Boeing).
As both BAC and government ministers found when getting so close to signing deals with a number of airlines, only to fail at the final hurdle.
Ironically, BOAC never factored in pax appeal in these figures, which they themselves promoted on entry into service.
That was a piece of marketing BS
, in the minds of those who did it, which actually turned out to be true.
Considering how deep BOAC had their snouts in the government trough, it's sad and silly that the government did not force BA
to take all 30 Supers.
I know that they would claim that they were just trying to make BOAC more efficient, how was adding the 707-320B/C to the fleet (with another new engine type) part of that?
They should have asked for upgrades to the Conway, (which R/R did look at) they'd probably have got it, funded by the taxpayer.
That's all in the past however, many of my colleagues in Concorde were ex-VC-10, some just from BOAC/BA, some from their time at BAC, the first aircraft my last Concorde shift manager worked on as a young BAC apprentice was the first VC
-10 for Ghana Airways.
They all loved the VC
-10, when I asked one of my colleagues what was the best part of his recent trip in Washington was (this was in 1998) he said 'sitting on the 747 at IAD
waiting to depart, then hearing those Conways as a RAF VC
-10 taxied past'.
Another was seconded to work on the ex BA
Standards sold to Gulf Air in the mid 70's, but much of his talk was about the English Gulf Air Stewardesses, and how new ones were shown the 'Golden Rivet'.
The Brooklands VC
-10 was the last in commercial service, as a transport of the Sultan of Oman, he was to retire it in 1984, but loved it so much it had a 3 year service extension.
Go to Brooklands, you can walk around and on it.
I well remember seeing BA VC
-10s take off, never got to fly on one (BA stopped using them in March 1983, three years before I joined BA