Aircraft Wiki

The Vickers Vanguard is a British four-engined turboprop airliner built by Vickers-Armstrongs. It was introduced in 1959, at the end of the era of large propeller-driven airliners, and sold poorly.


The Vanguard was developed from the Viscount after British European Airways (BEA) issued a requirement for a new 100-seat replacement for the Viscount. The Type 950 prototype made its first flight on 20 January 1959. BEA bought 20 Vanguards and Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA) 23. As the jet age was beginning, the Vanguard was largely seen as obsolescent, and no more customers appeared.

The Vanguard features an unusual "double-bubble" (or a figure-of-8) two-deck fuselage, which made both the passenger cabin and the cargo deck relatively roomy.

The Vanguard is one of the fastest turboprop airliners ever built, and could complete short and medium-distance flights of up to 480 km practically as fast as jets.


The first of BEA's six V951s and 14 V953s entered service in late 1960. BEA merged with BOAC in March 1974 and passed its fleet to the new British Airways, but the Vanguards were retired from passenger service in June. Nine V953s had been converted into freighters known as Merchantmen in 1969, they were retired in 1979.

TCA, which changed its name into Air Canada in June 1964, operated the Vanguard from 1960 to 1972.

The last flight of the Vanguard was made on 30 September 1996 by Merchantman G-APEP of Hunting Cargo Airlines.


Type 950
Prototype, one built along with two fuselages.
Type 951
BEA variant, 20 were ordered but only six were built, the rest were delivered as Type 953s.
Type 952
TCA variant, 5,545 shp RTy.11 engines instead of 4,000 hp RTy.1s, strengthened fuselage and wings. 23 built.
Type 953
BEA variant, Type 951 with Type 952's fuselage. 14 built.
Type 953C Merchantman
Type 953 converted into a freighter. Nine converted.


  • Merchantman G-APEP is at the Brooklands Museum in Surrey, England.
  • The nose of Merchantman G-APES is at East Midlands Aeropark.

Specifications (Type 952)[]

  • Crew: 3
  • Capacity: 139 passengers
  • Length: 122 ft 10 12 in (37.452 m)
  • Wingspan: 118 ft 0 in (35.97 m)
  • Height: 34 ft 11 in (10.64 m)
  • Wing area: 1,527 sq ft (141.9 m2)
  • Empty weight: 85,000 lb (38,555 kg)
  • Gross weight: 141,000 lb (63,957 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Rolls-Royce Tyne RTy.11 Mk 512 turboprops, 5,545 shp (4,135 kW) each (eshp)
  • Cruise speed: 422 mph (679 km/h, 367 kn) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m) (high speed cruise)[16]
  • Range: 1,830 mi (2,950 km, 1,590 nmi) with maximum payload