Vickers Valetta

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Vickers Valetta.jpg
Role Military transport aircraft
Manufacturer Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd
First flight 30 June 1947
Number built 262
Developed from Vickers VC.1 Viking
Variants Vickers Varsity

The Vickers Valetta is a British twin-engine military transport aircraft of the late 1940s. It was an all-metal mid-wing monoplane with a tailwheel undercarriage.

Design and development[edit]

The Valetta was a military transport development of the Viking civil airliner. The 58th Viking (c/n 158) became the prototype Valetta, which was first flown from Brooklands[1] by test pilot Mutt Summers on 30 June 1947.[2] The Valetta differed from the Viking fundamentally in being fitted with more powerful engines, a strengthened floor and large loading doors.[3]

Although named after the Maltese capital Valletta, the aircraft name is spelt with only one "l". The Viking and Valetta provided the basis of the Varsity. The Varsity, although similar, was slightly larger and had a tricycle landing gear and under-fuselage pannier.

Operational history[edit]

The Valetta C.1 entered service with the RAF in 1948, replacing the Douglas Dakota with RAF Transport Command and with transport squadrons in the Middle and Far East.[2] The Valetta was used to carry out parachute drops in the 1956 Suez Crisis,[4] and was used to provide transport support for a number of other British Military operations in the 1950s and 1960s, such as during the Malayan Emergency [5] and operations in Aden.[6]

Vickers Valetta T.3 of the RAF College at Blackbushe airport in September 1956. Note the cabin-top astrodomes and aerials for navigational training
Valetta T.4 of No.2 ANS with extended radar nose

The Valetta C.2 was a VIP passenger transport and extra range.[7]

The Valetta T.3 was built to provide a navigational trainer for service with the RAF College at RAF Cranwell and with No.1 and No.2 Air Navigation Schools. 40 were delivered from August 1951, with the last being WJ487 in September 1952.

18 Valetta T.3 aircraft were later converted to T.4 standard with a longer nose to fitted to accommodate a radar scanner in order to train crews in the AI (Airborne Interception) role.[8]


  • Valetta C.1 - transport, 211 built
  • Valetta C.2 - VIP transport, 11 built
  • Valetta T.3 - aircrew trainer, 40 built
  • Valetta T.4 - converted from T.3 with radar fitted in nose.[9]


 United Kingdom

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 18 February 1951, an RAF Valetta made a forced belly landing near Stockholm-Bromma Airport following the failure of one engine and radio problems. Airframe icing compounded the situation. Of the 22 passengers and crew, one person was killed. The aircraft was totally destroyed.
  • On 15 January 1953, Valetta C.1 VX562 collided in mid-air over the Mediterranean Sea with a RAF Lancaster, all 19 on the Valetta and seven Lancaster crew were killed.[10]
  • On 11 November 1953, VX490 disappeared while on air test after departing RAF Changi. All 7 on board died. It is thought the plane broke up in a thunderstorm.
  • On 6 January 1954, Valetta T.3 WJ474 crashed near Aldbury, Hertfordshire on take off in bad weather from RAF Bovingdon. The aircraft was carrying a rugby team, and 17 on board were killed, with one survivor.[11][12]
  • On 21 February 1954, Valetta C.1 WJ494 Inbound from Hong Kong, crashed 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from Singapore's Changi RAF base during a single engine approach. It was alleged that the pilot feathered the wrong faulty engine whilst approaching the runway. The aircraft lost height and hit trees, bursting into flames; of the twelve occupants, three lost their lives.[13]
  • On 17 April 1957, Valetta C.1 VW832 crashed at Queria, Jordan, five minutes after taking off from King Hussein International Airport, when the left wing separated after encountering turbulence. All 26 people on board were killed.[14]
  • On 22 August 1957, RAF Valetta VX491 'Y' crashed in the jungle near Tanjong Malim, Malaya. Three RAF crewmen were killed, four 55 Coy RASC AD servicemen survived and were rescued. Possible cause - engine failure.

Aircraft on display[edit]

A Valetta C.2 preserved at the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum

A restored C2, at the North East Air Museum and only one of three Valetta in recent existence, was destroyed by arsonists on 23 January 1997.[18][19][20][21]

Specifications (Vickers Valetta C.1)[edit]

Data from Vickers Aircraft since 1908.[22]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4
  • Capacity: 34 troops or 20 paratroops
  • Length: 62 ft 11 in (19.18 m)
  • Wingspan: 89 ft 3 in (27.21 m)
  • Height: 19 ft 7 in (5.97 m)
  • Wing area: 882 ft² (82.0 m²)
  • Empty weight: 24,980 lb (11,355 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 36,500 lb (16,591 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Bristol Hercules 230 14-cylinder radial piston engine, 1,975 hp (1,473 kW) each
  • Propellers: de Havilland (or Rotol) four-bladed constant-speed


Notable appearances in media[edit]

  • A long sequence in the 1957 film High Flight shows the Valetta T3 used as a flying navigation classroom at RAF College Cranwell.

See also[edit]

Related development



  1. ^ Andrews 1969, p411.
  2. ^ a b c Thetford 1957, pp. 446–447.
  3. ^ Donald, David, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. London: Aerospace Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
  4. ^ Paul, James Paul and Martin Spirit. "The Last Drop 3 Para at El Gamil airfield." Archived 25 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Britain's Small Wars, 2008. Retrieved: 10 April 2007.
  5. ^ Paul, James Paul and Martin Spirit. "RAF in Malaya." Archived 25 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Britain's Small Wars, 2008. Retrieved: 10 April 2007.
  6. ^ Paul, James Paul and Martin Spirit. "The RAF in Aden and the Radafan." Archived 27 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Britain's Small Wars, 2008. Retrieved: 10 April 2007.
  7. ^ Thetford 1957 (rev 1988), pp. 566
  8. ^ Martin 1975, pp. 35–37.
  9. ^ Taylor, Michael J.H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989. ISBN 0-517-10316-8.
  10. ^ "Accident Description: Valetta C1."
  11. ^ "Accident Description: Valetta T3."
  12. ^ Service Aviation Flight 15 January 1954
  13. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Vickers Valetta C.1 WJ494 Singapore-Changi RAF Station"
  14. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Vickers Valetta C.1 VW832 Queria"
  15. ^ "Vickers Viking/Valetta/Varsity". Oldprops. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  16. ^ "OUR AIRCRAFT". Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Valetting the Valetta". Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Aircraft and Air Display International, Arsonist destroys Valetta, March 1997, p. 89
  22. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1988, p. 416.


  • Andrews, C.F. Vickers Aircraft Since 1908. London: Putnam, 1969.
  • Andrews, C.F. and E.B. Morgan. Vickers Aircraft since 1908. London: Putnam, 1988. ISBN 0-85177-815-1.
  • Martin, Bernard. The Viking, Valetta and Varsity. Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. 1975. ISBN 0-85130-038-3.
  • Thetford, Owen. Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-57. London: Putnam, 1st edition, 1957.

External links[edit]