Military Wiki
Role Military transport aircraft
Manufacturer Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd
First flight 30 June 1947
Number built 263
Developed from Vickers VC.1 Viking
Variants Vickers Varsity

A Valetta C.2 at the Flixton Air Museum

The Vickers Valetta was 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

The Valetta was a military transport development of the Viking civil airliner. The 158th Viking became the prototype Valetta, which was first flown from Brooklands[1] by 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]

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

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 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

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. 18 aircraft were later converted to T.4 standard with a longer nose to accommodate a radar scanner in order to train crews in the AI (Airborne Interception) role.[7]


  • 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.[8]


 United Kingdom

Accidents and incidents

  • 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.[9]
  • 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 onboard were killed with one survivor.[10][11]
  • 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.[12]
  • 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.[13]
  • On 22 August 1957, RAF Valetta VX491 'Y' crashed in the jungle near Tanjong Malim, Malaya. Three RAF crewman were killed, four 55 Coy RASC AD servicemen survived and were rescued. Possible cause - engine failure.

Specifications (Vickers Valetta C.1)

Data from Vickers Aircraft since 1908 [14]

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


  • Maximum speed: 224 kn (258 mph, 415 km/h) at 10,000 ft
  • Cruise speed: 150 kn [2] (172 mph, 277 km/h)
  • Range: 1,270 nmi (1,460 mi, 2,350 km)
  • Service ceiling: 21,500 ft (6,550 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,275 ft/min (6.48 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 41.4 lb/ft² (202 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.108 hp/lb (0.178 kW/kg)

See also




  1. Andrews 1969, p411.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 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." Britain's Small Wars, 2008. Retrieved: 10 April 2007.
  5. Paul, James Paul and Martin Spirit. "RAF in Malaya." Britain's Small Wars, 2008. Retrieved: 10 April 2007.
  6. Paul, James Paul and Martin Spirit. "The RAF in Aden and the Radafan." Britain's Small Wars, 2008. Retrieved: 10 April 2007.
  7. Martin 1975, pp. 35–37.
  8. Taylor, Michael J.H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989. ISBN 0-517-10316-8.
  9. "Accident Description: Valetta C1."
  10. "Accident Description: Valetta T3."
  11. Service Aviation Flight 15 January 1954
  12. "ASN Aircraft accident Vickers Valetta C.1 WJ494 Singapore-Changi RAF Station"
  13. "ASN Aircraft accident Vickers Valetta C.1 VW832 Queria"
  14. 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 Aircraft 1918-57. London: Putnam, 1st edition, 1957.

External links

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