The Vickers Viscount is a British four-engined turboprop airliner developed by Vickers-Armstrongs in the late 1940s, and the first turboprop airliner in the world. It is considered to be one of the greatest products of the British aircraft industry.
The Viscount was designed as a response to the Brabazon Committee's Type II design meant to replace the Douglas DC-3. The 32-seat prototype, Type 630, made its maiden flight on 16 July 1948, but proved to be too small and slow, and was developed into the Type 700 with up to 53 seats. The Viscount 700 first flew on 28 August 1950.
The aircraft was originally known as Viceroy after Lord Mountbatten, the viceroy of India, but was renamed after India became independent in 1947.
The prototype was used by BEA from 29 July to 23 August 1950 for modest commercial service as the first turboprop airliner in the world. Regular Viscount passenger flights began on 18 April 1953, and soon competing airlines also ordered Viscounts after understanding that the quietness and low vibration of the turboprop engines, as well as the lower operating costs, made it superior to piston-engine aircraft like the Airspeed Ambassador. In the North America the Viscount was more successful than any other British airliner, with Trans-Canada Airlines and Capital Airlines being major operators.
The Viscount represented a great leap forward in the evolution of passenger aircraft. It was popular among passengers thanks to its comfort and large cabin windows. Second-hand Viscounts were used by many smaller airlines, but from the 1980s Viscounts were gradually replaced by newer aircraft. The last Viscount flight took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in January 2009.
- Type 630
- First prototype.
- Type 663
- Second prototype, used for testing the Rolls-Royce Tay turbojet engine.
- Type 640
- Planned version with four Napier Naiad turboprops. Not built.
- Type 700
- Main production version. 287 built.
- Type 800
- Fuselage stretched by 1.17 m, passenger capacity increased to up to 75. 67 built.
- Type 810
- 1,991 hp (1,485 kW) Dart 525 engines. 84 built.
Specifications (Type 810)
- Crew: 2 pilots + cabin crew
- Capacity: 75 passengers
- Length: 85 ft 8 in (26.11 m)
- Wingspan: 93 ft 8 in (28.55 m)
- Height: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
- Wing area: 963 sq ft (89.5 m2)
- Empty weight: 41,276 lb (18,722 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 67,500 lb (30,617 kg)
- Powerplant: 4 × Rolls-Royce Dart Mk 525 turboprop, 1,990 hp (1,484 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 352 mph (566 km/h, 306 kn)
- Range: 1,380 mi (2,220 km, 1,200 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,600 m)
- Wing loading: 75 lb/sq ft (370 kg/m2)
- Power/mass: 0.12 hp/lb