Aircraft not toppling onto rear (VC10)

From:         julian@gatwick.sgp.slb.com
Date:         08 Feb 94 23:33:10 PST
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To my knowledge the VC10 never had or needed a tail prop to prevent it
tipping up. By contrast the Russian equivalent had a sort of tail 'pogo
stick' to prevent this mishap. 

I don't know how the VC10 got around this potential problem especially as
some variants (Super) had a tail fuel tank. I can only guess that the following
points might be relevant.

a) Main undercarriage mounted very far back (flap root) on the main wing.

b) Main undercarriage oleos tilted 10 degrees back from vertical so main
   wheels even further back (see (a))

c) Overly strong fuelage and wing construction (Comet legacy) so lots of
   weight ahead of the main wheels.

d) 90% + of payload located ahead of main wheels (I think that's about right).

Related to the above. Does anyone know the fate of all the VC10s? I recall that
two crashed - one on the approach to Lagos (pilot error) and one aborting a 
take off at Addis Ababa (anti-skid unit cross-channeled). One was blown up by 
the PLO and two were written off after being badly damaged. Most remaining 
VC10s are now flown by the RAF as tankers but that may not acccount for all of 
them. I beleive Air Malawi were the last civilian operators up to about 1980.

Regards

Julian Fitzherbert

PS: I had many flights in the VC10s (Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and 
Malawi) and am quite nostalgic about the plane.)