BUA VC10 to Africa - September 1964
Photos by Ron Thaxter
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If anyone has any photos I would be pleased to show them here, please drop me a line anytime email
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BUA’s first VC10, G-ASIW, made her maiden flight on 30th July 1964 and they took delivery in September 1964. The interior layout was designed to give the feeling of greater spaciousness and the seats were designed and manufactured by Aviation Traders Engineering. It was not long before she was undertaking demonstration and route proving flights.
On 13th September 1964 the words, “British United Jet Service”, sounded out over the concourse at Gatwick’s for the first time.
BUA’s VC10 G-ASIW was about to depart on an eight day route proving and demonstration tour of Central and West Africa. Aboard were 80 passengers, including BUA Managing Director Fred Laker, invited guests, a team of commercial, technical and engineering staff.
Also onboard was a new Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III, loaded via the VC10’s freight door. They set a commercial flight time record, with the 80 passengers, five tons of freight and the Rolls Royce onboard, taking 7 hours 36 minutes to reach Entebbe.
The trip turned into a mini British Trade Fair, with the VC10 sporting a large Union Jack on her tailfin. The Rolls was unloaded at each port of call, taking around 30 minutes to unload with the special hoist made by Aviation Traders. Over the tour the VC10 made 119 take-off and landings allowing 11 BUA pilots to complete their conversion training to the VC10.
They covered 27,600 miles and carried 1,192 guests in all, including Zambia’s President Kenneth Kaunda. When they were in Tanzania they did a fly-by of Mount Kilimanjaro so the guests on board could take a closer look; this proved very popular and they did two more.
My Father, Ron Thaxter, was part of the Engineering Team that went on the route proving flight to Africa, and I am pleased to show the photos he took in 1964. There is also a letter from Freddie Laker following the trip.
Dad while in Africa in 1964 with G-ASIW
Dad's letter from Freddie Laker following the successful route proving trip.