The British Airliner Collection includes 12 airliners that illustrate key milestones in the development of British civil aviation from WW2 until the 1970’s.
The aircraft are all owned by the Duxford Aviation Society and the collection includes particularly notable aircraft such as a pre-production Concorde and a Comet 4, the first jet powered aircraft to fly a scheduled flight across the Atlantic.
It also includes an Airspeed Ambassador, the only remaining one in existence and a Vickers Viscount the oldest turboprop airliner in the World. Sadly, due to the difficulty and expense of providing hangar space, these last two are located outside together with 5 other airliners on the apron fronting Hangers 4 and 5 at Duxford.
As with anything exposed to the weather, these 7 airliners need constant maintenance by DAS volunteers and the tops of the fuselages in particular are constantly under attack from bird droppings, air pollution and dust and dirt from traffic on the adjacent M11.
Last year we cleaned the VC10 and Trident and this improved their appearance but also revealed the very poor quality of the paintwork and the urgent need for a re-paint. The Trident, being smaller than the VC10, was re-painted using hydraulic hoists during the summer but the VC10 being a much larger aircraft required a different approach to ensure satisfactory safe working.
There was no option but to bring in a professional firm to erect scaffolding on either side of the aircraft to provide safe access for volunteers to rub down the existing paintwork and re-paint. This work was planned for August and September before the air show. The constant wet weather throughout September made progress difficult but it was completed successfully and the scaffolding removed just before the September air show.
As with the re-painting of the BAC 1-11 last January, DAS conservation volunteers signed up to an intensive programme of work and committed themselves to specific days to ensure that the project was completed quickly. The result has greatly improved the appearance of the VC10 and ensured it will remain in good condition over the coming years.