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Vickers Vanguard

The double-bubble fuselage is clearly visible, as are the larger than normal windows kept from the Viscount

The Vanguard (Type 950) was a short/medium-range turboprop airliner introduced in 1959 by Vickers-Armstrong, a development of their successful Viscount design with considerably more internal room. The Vanguard was introduced just before the first of the large jet-powered airliners, and was largely ignored by the market. Only 43 were produced, used only by Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA) and British European Airways (BEA). After only about 10 years service TCA experimentally converted one of theirs to a freighter configuration, calling it the Cargoliner. This was considered rather successful, and in the early 1970s most were converted to freighters, those from BEA becoming the Merchantman. These freighters remained in service for many years, with the last one retiring in 1998.

Table of contents
1 History


Originally designed to a BEA requirement for a 100-seat aircraft to replace their Viscounts. The original Type 870 design was then modified when TCA expressed their interest in the design as well, and Vickers returned the updated Type 950 that filled both requirements.

The main difference between the Viscount and Vanguard was the construction of the fuselage. The Vanguard started with the original Viscount fuselage, but cut it off about 1/2 of the way up from the bottom, and replaced the top section with a larger-diameter fuselage to give it a double bubble cross-section (similar to the Boeing Stratocruiser). The result of the larger upper portion was a considerably roomier interior, with increased cargo capacity below the floor.

Vickers Vanguard (G-APEC) at London (Heathrow) Airport in 1965. This aircraft was built in 1959 and was lost (broke up in flight) in 1971.

With this larger, and heavier, fuselage came the need for a new engine to lift it. Rolls-Royce was ready for this, and delivered their new Tyne design with a nominal 4,000hp (as compared to the Viscount's Dart of about 1,700hp).

The first Type 950 prototype flew on January 20th, 1959, entering service in 1961.


Type 951: BEA, 20 ordered, 6 delivered
Type 952: TCA, more powerful engine and stronger fuselage for height weights, 23 delivered
Type 953: BEA, more powerful engines and more seating, 14 delivered replacing 951's


For Type 952:

Wingspan: 118ft 7in (36.1m)
Length: 122ft 10in (37.5m)
Height: 34ft 11in (10.6m)
Wing area: 1,527sq ft (141.86m²)
Engines: 4x Rolls-Royce Tyne RTy.11 Mk 512, 5,545hp (4135kW)
Empty weight: 82,500lb (37421kg)
Take-off weight: 141,000lb (63977kg)
Cruise speed: 425mph (684kph)
Ceiling: 30,000ft (9145m)
Range w/max.payload: 1,830 miles (2945km)
Crew: 2-3
Passengers: 97-139

The name "Vanguard" had earlier been used on a civilian model of the Vickers Virginia bomber, other versions of the same aircraft being the Victoria and Valentia.