Long Flight

THE AIRCRAFT 

 

Alcock and Browns Vickers Vimy aeroplane was built mainly of wood with fabric covering. The Vickers factory where the plane was made was at Weybridge, Surrey, England. The price of each aircraft was £3,000. Today the development of a new passenger jumbo jet costs approximately £8 billion.

Vickers Vimy on display at the Science Museum. 
Detail of the front, wheels and propellers of the plane.

Copyright Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  

Initially the planes were built to be used as bombers in World War One. However production was not completed in time and they were never tested as bombers during this war. Instead the Vickers Vimy became famous in peacetime.

For the transatlantic challenge the Vimy had to be specially adapted. All military equipment was removed and extra fuel tanks were fitted in its place. This was necessary if the plane was to have enough fuel on such a long journey as crossing the Atlantic.

The Vickers Vimy on display at the Science Museum. Detail of frontal three-quarter view
Copyright Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

The cockpit was also widened so that the two fliers could sit side by side. They sat on a thin cushion on a narrow wooden bench. 

A Rolls Royce Eagle Engine used to power the Vickers Vimy across the Atlantic. Copyright Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library 

The Vimy was powered by two Rolls Royce Eagle engines. Their great advantage was that they were very reliable. They could fly for 100 hours before they needed to be serviced. Other engines needed a complete overhaul after just 30 hours. 

Vickers Vimy Aircraft Data Table

Alcock and Brown's Flight Data Table

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