The Vickers Viscount was one of the best-selling airliners to come from Britain post-war. From small beginnings, the VC2, as it was known, would spread its wings across the world and was the first turboprop airliner in the world to see regular airline service.
The origin of the Viscount was in the Brabazon Committee. This was set up in 1942 to discuss the requirements for airliners post-war, for the major carriers, British Overseas Airways Corp. and later British European Airways. Various airliners were proposed, including the Viscount, the Ambassador and the massive Brabazon 6 engined airliner. The committee, led by Lord Brabazon of Tara, was split up into major categories, from Type 1 (long-range trans-Atlantic airliner) to Type IV, for a 100 seat jet airliner. The VC2 came under Type II, a feeder to replace the DC-3’s and Dragon Rapides
Vickers set to work on the design, with the added pressure of the fuselage being pressurized (no pun intended!). Initially, a ‘double-bubble’ fuselage was favored, but when Sir George Edward took over design work, he changed the design to a conventional design, along with a longer fuselage to seat 32.
The first Viscount, as it was now called, took off from Vickers airfield at Wisely in Surrey on July 16, 1948. The type was the V630 and piloted by ‘Mutt’ Summers, of Spitfire fame. A lack of orders for the V630 made the team make the longer V700 series, seating 43 passengers.
The first V700, G-AHRF, made the world’s first turboprop passenger flight in service with BEA, flying select passengers between London and Paris. BEA also took the aircraft to New Zealand, in the Air Race. It completed the race in 40 hours, 45 minutes, a stunning time for the period. Orders began flowing in, the first for 20 from BEA.
The oldest Viscount in existence – based at Duxford
It was here that one the Viscount’s major selling points began to
emerge. The Vickers design team decided to customize the V700 and
later the V800, giving it a broad selling arena and enabled them
to break into the massive American market. They produced aircraft
for Air Canada, then Trans Canadian Airways, and TAA – Trans
Australia Airways. The TCA order was a breakthrough, and the
aircraft completed the first trans-Atlantic crossing of a
But the major news story of the time was Capital Airlines of the USA. They had ordered 60 V700D’s, and these were modified to meet the Federal Aviation Administration’s rules. This was a massive coop for Vickers, as the order was worth a massive $67 million at the time. Although not all the V700D’s were delivered to Capital, it proved that the Viscount was a world-beater.
The next version of the Viscount was the V800 series. This was able to seat up to 65 people in comfort. It was this one that broke KLM’s US-built fleet, with a fleet of 9 ordered. Aer Lingus also ordered more of the V800, having purchased the V700 at the start of the program. BEA ordered yet more, then requested a more powerful version, the V810.
The V810 had 1,835ehp Rolls-Royce Dart Rda7 Mk530 engines, offering an increase of 200ehp over the V800. This version was ordered by Continental, BEA and 7 other airlines, amounting to 84 examples built. This was the last Viscount mark, but the legacy of the aircraft continues. Overall, the aircraft had a production run of around 440 aircraft, amounting to £177 million of exports and spares.
For more information on the aircraft, or to trace one of the aircraft built, please go to the excellent Vickers Viscount site at www.vickersviscount.net
I received the review copy by post and in boxed format. The box is a standard DVD-sized one, with a well-illustrated 92 page manual. It is multi-lingual with a German section to the rear and presents all the relevant information in a clear format including useful perfermance charts and standard procedures.
Installing was quick and easy. All you have to do is insert the DVD in your drive, and follow the on-screen instructions. The front menu is revised from my last Just Flight product, but makes it a cleaner design.
What you get
Vickers Viscount V800 –
• Aer Lingus, 1966 colours
• Air Canada, 1974
• British Air Ferries, 1981
• British European Airways ‘Red Square’, 1960’s
• British Midland Airway, 1986
• Cambrian Airways, 1970’s
• Continental Airlines, 1959
• Intra Airways, 1979
• KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, 1959
• Lufthansa, 1968
• Royal Australian Air Force, 1965
• Trans Australia Airways, 1960
Visual of what you get:
Having only seen a 700 series Viscount, the Vickers Viscount website mentioned above was a real help gaining accurate images etc. From what I can tell, the exterior is excellently re-created. Some adverse comments have been posted on forums about the cockpit ‘hump’ but I think that this is well executed series of complex curves.
Unfortunately, one downside of the ‘generalisation’ that occurs throughout the pack is that individual variations (eg. The V810 for Continental) aren’t catered for, thus rendering the Continental repaint technically incorrect. But, unless you know Viscounts well, you can’t tell.
The textures are neat enough – not McPhat quality, but nice enough. Thanks to a nice, broad range of countries, you are able to select a reasonably accurate livery for the flight. There are no glaringly obvious errors in the liveries and are accurate to the specified era. Of course, the number of liveries allows for future expansions.
There is only a VC/Cabin with this package and some might be disappointed with that. But the VC is sufficiently good for the 2D panel not to be needed. And the frame rate hit is small as well.
The gauges relate well to a known photo of an 800 cockpit. They are well modelled and are accurate in operation. The windscreen wiper switches are under the fire switches (nicely modelled under a flip cover). The addition of the ‘Ground Service’ switch with the wipers in my opinion is wrong, as there is ‘Ground Safety Switch’ on the right hand pedestal.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only duplication of switches. There are two sets of starter switches – one on the right pedestal and one on the overhead. The overhead switches are not mentioned in the manual. Also, the cabin light switch doesn’t work, which is a real shame. And the stewardess doesn’t sit down for take-off, like the ones in the latest FeelThere / Wilco simulations.
The rest of the simulation is great, with the view out of the aircraft excellent. The night lighting is wonderful on the inside, with a nice glow in both the cockpit and the cabin. The views are:
• Captains Seat
• Co-pilots Seat
• Overhead panel
• Engine Starters (right hand pedestal)
• Passenger Cabin
• Passenger Wing View
I liked the cabin, although I would have liked a bit more variety in the cabin layout eg. The RAAF ones could have had more luxurous seats, whereas the BAF one could have a number of rows.
The sounds are an interesting mix. The interior sounds are great, you get a soothing drone, but to what I’ve heard on YouTube and passengers, the Viscount was quite quiet inside. The exterior sounds are good enough to my ears, with the whine being accurately portrayed, but some have commented that it is not very good, based on one YouTube clip. Again, this is personal opinion, but I quite like them.
Having never had the pleasure of flying a Viscount (on-board or actually at the controls), I can’t say how accurate or poor they are. But it does seem that the controls are accurate. The nose wheel steering is heavy on the ground, but the aircraft is responsive in the air. It’s not possible to barrel roll the aircraft, but roll is reasonable quick for the aircraft size. Trimming is easily done with the tabs.
The power of the Darts are easily felt, as the aircraft will accelerate pretty quickly, but the climb rate can control the power well.
To test the Viscount out, I took it out for a flight with Classic British Flight Services, a virtual airline I fly with. The first flight was a quick one, from Birmingham to Manchester in a KLM aircraft.
Start up was an easy affair after reading the manual, although at
this point I noticed two sets of starters – one set on the
co-pilots side and one set in the middle of the overhead panel. No
mention of the starters on the overhead in the manual, so this
must have happened because of the ‘general’ cockpit. Pushback was
The first thing you notice is that the nosewheel steering is a bit heavy. You can’t really pull it at maximum deflection, just a bit off to get the tightest circles. Apart from that, the Dart’s give excellent power and must be carefully controlled.
On the runway, the big windows give excellent views of the runway, meaning the line-up is a painless affair. Push the throttles forward and you’ll rapidly gain speed. Keeping on the centreline, or just off avoiding the runway centreline lights is easy.
I rotate the aircraft at about 130-150kts indicated, although the manual states around 115kts, and climb out at 150. Personally, I don’t think the aircraft is fully ready to fly at 115, but in reality it is. I just like to keep her down for a few seconds more.
Climb out is positive and the gear quickly retracts, with the gear linkage animation well done. No noticeable trim changes were noted, but the flaps (set at 43% or 20 degrees) did cause some deal of trim change in the aircraft. But it was easily counter-acted with some trimming.
In the cruise, I decided to turn on the autopilot. Not a sophisticated, FMC/CDU fed supercomputer, just some piece of wire, dials and bits of metal. It is remarkably easy to use once levelled off, although the rudder trim needs very careful adjustment – just a tiny bit and a time, or the aircraft will go in on its wing rather rapidly.
For the landing, she is a tricky aircraft to slow down, as the airframe is ‘slippy’ and no speed brakes are provided. Luckily, the aircraft will gradually slow down to the flap speed, and then she’ll slow rapidly. The gear falls down with a noticeable change in speed. The aircraft is then easy to land.
F2 activates a feature called ‘Propeller Ground Pitch Mode’ as the Viscounts had no reverse thrust from the engines. Basically, it does the same job but by increasing drag via the propellers.
Taxiing in is exactly the same as going out, and so is parking. Shut down is a simple procedure, being just cutting the fuel flow to the engines.
On the ground (ORBX freeware Cunderdin) – VC 20fps
In Flight at 10000ft - VC 15-25fps
Outside 15-20 fps
Note on Frame rates – Whilst 10-20fps may sound slow, and it is, but the default Cessna 172 barely tops 20fps outside, and about 20-30fps in the VC. This is because my system isn’t great for FSX, but will still run it.
Total flight time – 3.4 hours since starting the review, 15hrs in total.
Whilst it has come under some criticism, it is an excellent package overall. Although the model painted in American airline colours is technically wrong (they used the V806), it captures a ‘stock’ Viscount well, with the cockpit ‘hump’ well executed.
There would be one or two things I would have liked – a few variations on the cabin layout would have been great and perhaps a different vehicle for one or two aircraft.
• Good set of variations
• Great extra features like the stewardess, VW van etc
• Easy on frame rates
• A nice, informative manual
• Nitpicking, but the American colours are on the wrong Viscount type
• 2 sets of landing lights and starter switches
• Ground safety switch isn’t needed under the windscreens
Overall, I’d give Just Flight’s Viscount – Legends of Flight packagea Mutley's Hangar score of 8.5/10
Review machine Spec: Intel Core2 6400 @2.13GHz | 2GB of RAM |ATI Radeon X1300 |Windows XP