BAC Weybridge – An Abandoned Airplane Factory

The BAC Weybridge factory in Weybridge, UK was built in the 1960s as the final assembly building for the VC10 airplane built by Vickers and BAC. Weybridge at that time was home to some of the heavyweights of the British Aviation industry with an airfield built in the middle of the Brooklands motor racing circuit. The building was eventually abandoned before being used as a set for Flash Gordon. It was finally demolished in the late 1980s.

The Vickers VC10 was designed for long-range flight and had its maiden test in 1962. Capable of operating long-range on shorter runways and in hot and arid conditions in Africa, the VC10 was hailed for its performance which included the fastest London to New York flight on any sub-sonic airliner, a record still held to this day. The quad rear engine design has been used only in a small number of aircraft and gave the plane a striking appearance.

BOAC (which later merged into what is now British Airways) was the main customer for the VC10 however they began to retire their fleet in 1974 and by 1981, British Airways had none left in service. High fuel consumption following the oil crisis of 1973 was ultimately what caused the downfall of the airplane.

Below is a timeline of Vickers at Brooklands in the 1960s –

1960 – Announcement of merger between Bristol Aircraft Ltd., English Electric Aviation Ltd., and Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd., and formation of British Aircraft Corporation Ltd., as parent company, followed by acquisition by British Aircraft Corporation of Hunting Aircraft Ltd.

1961 – Vickers celebrates 50 years as builders of aeroplanes. Vanguard entered service in Europe and Canada.

1962 – Vickers VC10 made first flight.

1963 – BAC One-Eleven made first flight.

1964 – Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd. became Weybridge Division of B.A.C. (Operating) Ltd. Last of 444 Viscounts delivered. VC10 entered service with B.O.A.C.

Location: Weybridge, England

Category: Factory

Abandoned: 1980s

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