Vickers Vimy

Last updated

Vickers Vimy.jpg
Role Heavy bomber
Manufacturer Vickers Limited
Designer Reginald Kirshaw Pierson
First flight30 November 1917
Primary user Royal Air Force
Variants Vickers Vernon

The Vickers Vimy was a British heavy bomber aircraft developed and manufactured by Vickers Limited. Developed during the latter stages of the First World War to equip the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), the Vimy was designed by Reginald Kirshaw "Rex" Pierson, Vickers' chief designer.

Heavy bomber bomber aircraft of the largest size and load carrying capacity

Heavy bombers are bomber aircraft capable of delivering the largest payload of air-to-ground weaponry and longest range of their era. Archetypal heavy bombers have therefore usually been among the largest and most powerful military aircraft at any point in time. In the second half of the 20th century, heavy bombers were largely superseded by strategic bombers, which were often smaller in size, but were capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Vickers Limited was a significant British engineering conglomerate that merged into Vickers-Armstrongs in 1927.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.


Only a handful of aircraft had entered service by the time the Armistice of 11 November 1918 came into effect, so the type was not used in active combat operations during the war, but the Vimy became the core of the RAF's heavy bomber force throughout the 1920s. The Vimy achieved success as both a military and civil aircraft, the latter using the Vimy Commercial variant. A dedicated transport derivative of the Vimy, the Vickers Vernon, became the first troop transport aircraft operated by the RAF.

Armistice of 11 November 1918 armistice during First World War between Allies and Germany

The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany. Previous armistices had been agreed with Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Also known as the Armistice of Compiègne from the place where it was signed at 5:45 a.m. by the French Marshal Foch, it came into force at 11:00 a.m. Paris time on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a defeat for Germany, although not formally a surrender.

Vickers Vernon military transport aircraft version of the Vimy Commercial

The Vickers Vernon was a British biplane troop carrier used by the Royal Air Force. It entered service in 1921, and was the first dedicated troop transport of the RAF.

During the interwar period, the Vimy set several records for long-distance flights, the most celebrated and significant of these being the first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, performed by John Alcock and Arthur Brown in June 1919. Other record-breaking flights were made from the United Kingdom to destinations such as South Africa and Australia. The Vimy continued to be operated until the 1930s in both military and civil capacities.

Interwar period period between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II

In the context of the history of the 20th century, the interwar period was the period between the end of the First World War in November 1918 and the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939.

Atlantic Ocean Ocean between Europe, Africa and the Americas

The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.



Vickers F.B.27 Vimy side view Vickers F.B.27 Vimy side view.jpg
Vickers F.B.27 Vimy side view

The Vickers F.B.27 Vimy is an equal-span twin-engine four-bay biplane, with balanced ailerons on both upper and lower wings. The engine nacelles were positioned mid-gap and contained the fuel tanks. It has a biplane empennage with elevators on both upper and lower surfaces and twin rudders. The mainundercarriage consisted of two pairs of wheels, each pair carried on a pair of tubular steel V-struts. There was a tailskid and an additional skid mounted below the nose of the fuselage to prevent nose-overs. It was designed to accommodate a three-man crew and a payload of 12 bombs. [1] In addition to the pilot's cockpit, which was positioned just ahead of the wings, there were two positions for gunners, one behind the wings and the other in the nose, each with a pair of Scarff ring-mounted Lewis guns; [1] the rear cockpit mounting was commonly not fitted during the interwar period. Provision for a maximum of four spare drums of ammunition were present in the nose position, while up to six drums could be carried in the rear position. [2]

Air gunner flight crew responsible for operating aircraft gun armament not directly operated by the pilot

An air gunner also known as aerial gunner is a member of an air force aircrew who operates flexible-mount or turret-mounted machine guns or autocannons in an aircraft. Modern aircraft weapons are usually operated automatically without the need for a dedicated air gunner, but older generation bombers used to carry up to eight air gunners.

Scarff ring

The Scarff ring was a type of machine gun mounting developed during the First World War by Warrant Officer (Gunner) F. W. Scarff of the Admiralty Air Department for use on two-seater aircraft. The mount incorporated bungee cord suspension in elevation to compensate for the weight of the gun, and allowed an airgunner in an open cockpit to swivel and elevate his weapon quickly, and easily fire in any direction. Later models permitted the fitting of two Lewis guns; while this doubled the firepower available, operation of the paired guns was more cumbersome, and required considerable strength from the gunner, especially at altitude, so that many gunners preferred the original single gun - and this became the postwar standard. In either case, the mounting was simple and rugged, and gave its operator an excellent field of fire. It was widely adapted and copied for other airforces.

Lewis gun light machine gun

The Lewis gun is a First World War–era light machine gun of US design that was perfected and mass-produced in the United Kingdom, and widely used by troops of the British Empire during the war. It had a distinctive barrel cooling shroud and top-mounted pan magazine. The Lewis served to the end of the Korean War. It was also widely used as an aircraft machine gun, almost always with the cooling shroud removed, during both World Wars. "The Lewis Gun is the most recognized classic light machine gun in the world."

The majority of the Vimy's payload of 250 lb bombs were stowed vertically inside the fuselage, between the spars of the lower-center section; a typical load consisted of 12 bombs. [1] In some variants further bombs could be stowed externally for a total of 18 bombs, depending on the particular engine used to provide enough power. [3] For anti-surface warfare in the maritime environment, the Vimy could also be armed with a pair of torpedoes. To improve bombing accuracy, the Vimy was equipped with the High Altitude Drift Mk.1a bombsight. Standard equipment also included two Michelin-built Mk.1 flare carriers. [2]

Anti-surface warfare is the branch of naval warfare concerned with the suppression of surface combatants. More generally, it is any weapons, sensors, or operations intended to attack or limit the effectiveness of an adversary's surface ships. Before the adoption of the submarine and naval aviation, all naval warfare consisted of anti-surface warfare. The distinct concept of an anti-surface warfare capability emerged after World War II, and literature on the subject as a distinct discipline is inherently dominated by the dynamics of the Cold War.

Bombsight aircraft system for aiming bombs

A bombsight is a device used by military aircraft to drop bombs accurately. Bombsights, a feature of combat aircraft since World War I, were first found on purpose-designed bomber aircraft and then moved to fighter-bombers and modern tactical aircraft as those aircraft took up the brunt of the bombing role.

Michelin French tire company

Michelin is a French tyre manufacturer based in Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne région of France. It is the second largest tyre manufacturer in the world after Bridgestone and larger than both Goodyear and Continental. In addition to the Michelin brand, it also owns the BFGoodrich, Kleber, Tigar, Riken, Kormoran and Uniroyal tyre brands. Michelin is also notable for its Red and Green travel guides, its roadmaps, the Michelin stars that the Red Guide awards to restaurants for their cooking, and for its company mascot Bibendum, colloquially known as the Michelin Man.

The Vimy was powered by a range of different engines. Owing to engine supply difficulties, the prototype Vimys were tested with a number of different engine types, including Sunbeam Maoris, Salmson 9Zm water-cooled radials, and Fiat A.12bis engines, before production orders were placed for aircraft powered by the 230 hp (170 kW) BHP Puma, 400 hp (300 kW) Fiat, 400 hp (300 kW) Liberty L-12 and the 360 hp (270 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines, with a total of 776 ordered before the end of the First World War. Of these, only aircraft powered by the Eagle engine, known as the Vimy IV, were delivered to the RAF. [4] Due to the diverse number of engines used, there are multiple conflicting official reports on the production numbers of each sub-variant of the Vimy. [5]

Radial engine reciprocating engine with cylinders arranged radially from a single crankshaft

The radial engine is a reciprocating type internal combustion engine configuration in which the cylinders "radiate" outward from a central crankcase like the spokes of a wheel. It resembles a stylized star when viewed from the front, and is called a "star engine" in some languages. The radial configuration was commonly used for aircraft engines before gas turbine engines became predominant.

Fiat A.12 I-6 piston aircraft engine

The Fiat A.12 was a six-cylinder liquid-cooled in-line engine with a bore of 160 mm and a stroke of 180 mm, giving a capacity of just under 22 liters, with variants producing between 245 and 300 horsepower at 1,700 rpm. The A.12 was a rather large aero engine at the time, but it was efficient and reliable. A total of 13,260 A.12s were produced between 1916 and 1919.

Siddeley Puma I-6 piston aircraft engine

The Siddeley Puma was a British aero engine developed towards the end of World War I and produced by Siddeley-Deasy. The first engines left the production lines of Siddeley-Deasy in Coventry in August 1917, production continued until December 1918. At least 4,288 of the 11,500 ordered engines were delivered, orders were cancelled following the Armistice. Production was continued under the name Armstrong Siddeley Puma when the manufacturer was bought by Armstrong Whitworth and became Armstrong Siddeley.


Throughout the First World War, both the Allied Powers and the Central Powers made increasingly sophisticated use of new technologies in their attempts to break through the effective stalemate of trench warfare. One key advance made during the conflict was in the use of fixed-wing aircraft, which were at that time rapidly advancing in capability and ability, for combat purposes. [1] On 23 July 1917, in response to a bombing raid performed by German bombers on London, the Air Board, having determined that existing projects were not ambitious enough, decided to cancel all orders for experimental heavy bombers then underway. A week later, following the protests of the Controller of the Technical Department, the Air Board placed an order for 100 Handley Page O/100 bombers, which was accompanied by orders for prototype heavy bombers being placed with both Handley Page and Vickers Limited. [1]

On 16 August 1917 Vickers was issued with a contract for three prototype aircraft. [1] Accordingly, Rex Pierson|Reginald Kirshaw "Rex" Pierson]], chief designer of Vickers' aviation division, started the design of a large twin-engine biplane bomber, to be powered by either a pair of RAF 4d or 200 hp (150 kW) Hispano Suiza engines. [1] Pierson discussed the proposed aircraft with Major J.C. Buchanan of the Air Board to establish the rough configuration of the aircraft, which was expected to meet the requirement for a night bomber that would be capable of attacking targets within the German Empire. [6] [1] Design and production of the prototypes was extremely rapid; the detailed design phase of what had become internally designated as the Vickers F.B.27 and the manufacture of the three prototypes was completed within four months. [1]


By the time the first prototype had been completed, the RAF 4D had yet to be sufficiently developed to be installed on the aircraft, so it was fitted with the alternative Hispano Suiza engine instead. [1] On 30 November 1917, the first prototype, flown by Captain Gordon Bell, made its maiden flight from Royal Flying Corps Station Joyce Green, Kent. [7] In January 1918 the first prototype was dispatched to RAF Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, to participate in official trials of the type. Reportedly, the F.B.27 quickly made a positive impression when it was able to take off while carrying a greater payload than the Handley Page O/400 while having about half the effective engine power. [1] Unfortunately, the engines proved to be unreliable during these trials, leading to the aircraft's return to Joyce Green on 12 April 1918. [1]

The first prototype was extensively modified, receiving new Salmson water-cooled aero-engines instead of the Hispano Suizas; other changes included the adoption of an alternative exhaust stack configuration, a 3-degree dihedral on the mainplanes, and a modified tail unit. [1] Following these modifications, the prototype was used for several years, surviving the war and being allocated a civil registration. In August 1919 the prototype was flown from Brooklands to Amsterdam, the Netherlands as part of Vicker's exhibit at the Eerste Luchtverkeer Tentoonstelling Amsterdam. [1]

During early 1918 the second prototype was completed. [8] Unlike the first, it had plain elevators and ailerons that had an inverse taper; the tops of the wings and tailplanes also differed. The defensive armament was increased, giving the rear gunner two separate guns; these changes would be standardised on production aircraft. [8] The second prototype was powered by a pair of Sunbeam Maori engine, which were found to have an unreliable cooling system during initial testing at Joyce Green. On 26 April 1918 the aircraft was dispatched to RAF Martlesham Heath for official tests; however, testing was interrupted by its loss in a crash following an engine failure. [8]

During the first half of the 1918 the third prototype was also completed. [8] It was powered by a pair of 400 hp (300 kW) Fiat A.12 engines, and had a redesigned nose section and nacelles which were similar to production aircraft. On 15 August 1918 the third prototype was sent to RAF Martlesham Heath for performance tests; testing was delayed by the need to replace a cracked propeller. [8] On 11 September 1918 it was lost when its payload of bombs detonated owing to a hard landing, the result of a pilot-induced stall. [8]

It was decided to construct a fourth prototype to test the Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine. [9] On 11 October 1918 this was flown from Joyce Green to Martlesham Heath to conduct official trials. Aside from being powered by the Eagle engine, it was identical to the earlier prototypes except for having a greatly increased fuel capacity and reshaped and enlarged rudders. [10] By the time the fourth prototype commenced flying trials, mass production of the Vimy had already begun. [11]


The performance of the first prototype having been satisfactory, it was decided to start production before the evaluation of either of the other prototypes. [8] On 26 March 1918 the first production contract, for 150 aircraft, was issued; work on this batch was performed at Vickers' facility in Crayford in the London Borough of Bexley. Production of the type by additional manufacturers was envisaged early on; in May 1918 follow-up contracts were issued to Clayton & Shuttleworth, Morgan & Co, and the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), in addition to a separate production line at Vickers' Weybridge complex. [12] At one point over 1,000 aircraft had been ordered under wartime contracts. The type had received the official name of Vimy, after the Battle of Vimy Ridge. [13]

By the end of 1918 a total of 13 aircraft had been completed by Vickers; 7 at Crayford and 6 at Weybridge. [11] Production continued after the signing of the Armistice of 11 November 1918, which led to Vickers ultimately completing 112 aircraft under wartime contracts. The majority, if not all, of Vimys ordered from Morgan & Co were completed, while Westland Aircraft manufactured 25 of the 75 units that they were contracted for. [11] The numbers produced by the RAE are obscured by changes in serial number allocation and the apparent adoption of a piecemeal approach to manufacturing, which came into effect shortly after the end of the war; in February 1920, the RAE completed their final Vimy. [14]

Production aircraft used several different types of engines, leading to various mark numbers being applied to the Vimy to distinguish between the emerging subtypes. [13] The use of different engines was often because of availability; relatively few engines from Rolls-Royce Limited were used in the Vimy during 1918 owing to low output levels from that manufacturer, while other manufacturers also struggled to keep up with engine demand that year. At one point, there was considerable enthusiasm for powering the Vimy with American Liberty L-12 engines, because of their plentiful supply at the time; while specified for production aircraft all orders for the Liberty-equipped Vimy were terminated in January 1919 and no examples were ever completed. [13] The BHP Puma was another engine that had been intended for use on the Vimy, but the Puma was cancelled without any aircraft being fitted with the engine. [13]

Use of the Vimy extended beyond its original use as a bomber. A model with greater internal space was developed, known as the Vimy Commercial within the civil market. [15] The Vimy Commercial saw service with the RAF; known as the Vickers Vernon, it became the first dedicated troop transport to be operated by the service. The Vimy was also used as an air ambulance for transporting wounded troops to medical facilities, while some examples were configured to perform record-breaking long distance flights. [15] From 1923 to 1925 limited production batches of the Vimy were manufactured by Vickers. Additionally, between 1923 and 1931, at least 43 early production aircraft were reconditioned in order to extend their service lives; at least one Vimy was reconditioned four times. [16]

By October 1918 only three aircraft had been delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF), one of which had been deployed to France for use by the Independent Air Force. It had been envisioned that the Vimy would be able to conduct long range bombing missions into Germany, having the ability to reach Berlin from bases in France; however, the Armistice of 11 November 1918 had brought an end to the conflict before the Vimy could be used on any offensive operations. [17] [11] Following the end of the conflict, the RAF rapidly contracted in size, which slowed the introduction of the Vimy. [18] The Vimy only reached full service status in July 1919 when it entered service with 58 Squadron in Egypt, replacing the older Handley Page 0/400. [19]

Operational history

RAF service

On 12 June 1918, according to aviation publication Flight International, the Air Board were to initially deploy the first production Vimy units as maritime patrol aircraft, equipped for anti-submarine warfare, and once this requirement had been satisfied, subsequent aircraft would be allocated to performing nighttime bombing missions from bases in France. [9] This had been due to a recently introduced policy under which the number of land-based aircraft allocated to anti-submarine patrols was to be vastly expanded, from 66 landplanes in November 1917 to a projected force of 726 landplanes, in which the newly-available Vimy would be a key aircraft due to its long range capabilities. During August 1918, the application of floats to the Vimy was studied, but it is not known if any aircraft were ever such fitted. [9]

Throughout the 1920s, the Vimy formed the main heavy bomber force of the RAF; for some years, it was the only twin-engine bomber to be stationed at bases in Britain. [18] On 1 April 1924, No. 9 Squadron and No. 58 Squadron, equipped with the Vimy, stood up, tripling the home-based heavy bomber force. On 1 July 1923, a newly formed Night Flying Flight, based at RAF Biggin Hill, equipped with the Vimy, was formed; during the general strike of 1926, this unit performed aerial deliveries of the British Gazette newspaper throughout the country. [18] Between 1921 and 1926, the type formed the backbone of the airmail service between Cairo and Baghdad. [18] The Vimy served as a front line bomber in the Middle East and in the United Kingdom from 1919 until 1925, by which point it had been replaced by the newer Vickers Virginia. [20]

Despite the emergence of the Virginia, which numerous Vimy squadrons were soon re-equipped with, the Vimy continued to equip a Special Reserve bomber squadron, 502 Squadron, stationed at Aldergrove in Northern Ireland until 1929. [20] [18] The Vimy continued to be used in secondary roles, such as its use as a training aircraft; many were re-engined with Bristol Jupiter or Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar radial engines. [16] The final Vimys, used as target aircraft for searchlight crews, remained in use until 1938. [21]

Long-distance Flights

The Vimy was used in many pioneering flights.

Alcock and Brown's crashed Vimy at Clifden, Ireland on 15 June 1919 Alcock-Brown-Clifden.jpg
Alcock and Brown's crashed Vimy at Clifden, Ireland on 15 June 1919
(L-R) Lt Col van Ryneveld with First Lt Quintin Brand, February 1920, in front of Vickers Vimy Silver Queen, before their England to South Africa flight Vickers Vimy 1920 (Brand and van Ryneveld).jpg
(L-R) Lt Col van Ryneveld with First Lt Quintin Brand, February 1920, in front of Vickers Vimy Silver Queen, before their England to South Africa flight

Vimy Commercial

Vickers Vimy Commercial in flight Vickers Vimy Commercial in flight.jpg
Vickers Vimy Commercial in flight
Vickers Vimy Commercial on the ground Vickers Vimy Commercial on ground.jpg
Vickers Vimy Commercial on the ground
airliner cabin Vickers Vimy Commercial cabin 120220 p191.jpg
airliner cabin

The Vimy Commercial was a civilian version with a larger-diameter fuselage (largely of spruce plywood), which was developed at and first flew from the Joyce Green airfield in Kent on 13 April 1919. Initially, it bore the interim civil registration K-107, [28] later being re-registered as G-EAAV. [24]

The prototype entered the 1920 race to Cape Town; it left Brooklands on 24 January 1920 but crashed at Tabora, Tanganyika on 27 February. [24]

A Chinese order for 100 is particularly noteworthy; forty of the forty-three built were delivered to China, but most remained in their crates unused; only seven were put into civilian use.

Fifty-five military transport versions of the Vimy Commercial were built for the RAF as the Vickers Vernon. [29]

Role in the Second Zhili-Fengtian War

After the First Zhili-Fengtian War, 20 aircraft were secretly converted into bombers under the order of the Zhili clique warlord Cao Kun, and later participated in the Second Zhili-Fengtian War. [30]

During the war these bombers were initially highly successful due to the low-level bombing tactics used, with the air force chief-of-staff of the Zhili clique, General Zhao Buli (趙步壢) personally flying many of the missions. However, on 17 September, returning from a successful bombing mission outside Shanhai Pass, General Zhao's aircraft was hit by ground fire from the Fengtian clique in the region of Nine Gates (Jiumenkou, 九門口) and had to make a forced landing. Although General Zhao made a successful escape back to his base, the bombers subsequently flew at much higher altitude to avoid ground fire, which greatly reduced their bombing accuracy and effectiveness. [30]

After numerous battles between Chinese warlords, all of the aircraft fell into the hands of the Fengtian clique, forming its First Heavy Bomber Group. [30] These were in the process of being phased out at the time of the Mukden Incident and therefore were subsequently captured by the Japanese, who soon disposed of them.


Vickers Vimy replica NX71MY, 2005 Vickers Vimy Replica.jpg
Vickers Vimy replica NX71MY, 2005

Apart from a replica transatlantic Vimy cockpit section built by Vickers for the London Science Museum in the early 1920s, three full-size replicas have also been built. The first was a taxiable replica commissioned by British Lion Films from Shawcraft Models Ltd of Iver Heath, Bucks; the planned film about Alcock & Brown's transatlantic flight was never made, but the model was completed and paid for. Its fate remains a mystery [31] although it appeared on static display at the Battle of Britain air display at RAF Biggin Hill in 1955 and may have been subsequently stored dismantled in East London until at least the late 1980s. The engine nacelles appear in the mine scene from the film 'Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.', so it may not have been in good condition by then.

In 1969, an airworthy Vimy replica (registered G-AWAU) was built by the Vintage Aircraft Flying Association at Brooklands (this aircraft was first flown by D G 'Dizzy' Addicott and Peter Hoar but was badly damaged by fire that summer and was displayed until February 2014 at the RAF Museum, Hendon, London). [32] [33] It is currently stored dismantled at the RAF Museum storage facility in Stafford. [32]

A second flyable Vimy replica, NX71MY, was built in 1994 by an Australian-American team led by Lang Kidby and Peter McMillan, and this aircraft successfully recreated the three great pioneering Vimy flights: England to Australia flown by Lang Kidby and Peter McMillan (in 1994), [34] England to South Africa flown by Mark Rebholz and John LaNoue (1999) and in 2005, Alcock and Brown's 1919 Atlantic crossing was recreated, flown by Steve Fossett and Mark Rebholz. The aircraft was donated to Brooklands Museum in 2006 and was kept airworthy in order to commemorate the 90th anniversaries of the Transatlantic and Australian flights until retired in late 2009. Its final flight was made by John Dodd, Clive Edwards and Peter McMillan from Dunsfold to Brooklands on 15 November 2009 and four days later, in just 18 hours, the aircraft was dismantled, transported the short distance to the Museum and reassembled inside the main hangar by a dedicated volunteer team. Two days later a special Brooklands Vimy Exhibition was officially opened by Peter McMillan, and this unique aircraft is now on public display there.


F.B.27 Vimy
Prototypes; four built, powered by two 200 hp (150 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8 piston engines..
F.B.27A Vimy II
Twin-engine heavy bomber aircraft for the RAF, powered by two 360 hp (270 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII piston engines.
Vimy Ambulance
Air ambulance version for the RAF. [35]
Vimy Commercial
Civilian transport version, powered by two 360 hp (270 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII piston engines.
A.N.F. 'Express Les Mureaux'
Vimy Commercial No.42 re-engined with 2x 370 hp (280 kW) Lorraine 12Da V-12 engines.


Military operators

NIVO-painted Vickers Vimy Replica F8614 at the RAF Museum London Hendon 190913 Vickers Vimy 01.jpg
NIVO-painted Vickers Vimy Replica F8614 at the RAF Museum London
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom

Civil operators

Flag of the Republic of China.svg  China
Flag of France.svg  France
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom

Aircraft on display

G-EAOU at Adelaide Airport in 2014 G-EAOU (16434533187).jpg
G-EAOU at Adelaide Airport in 2014
United Kingdom


Three-view of Vickers Vimy. Vickers Vimy 3-view.svg
Three-view of Vickers Vimy.

Data fromProfile Publications No. 005: Vickers F.B.27 Vimy [25]

General characteristics



See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related Research Articles

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The Handley Page HP.52 Hampden was a British twin-engine medium bomber of the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was part of the trio of large twin-engine bombers procured for the RAF, joining the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and Vickers Wellington. The newest of the three medium bombers, the Hampden was often referred to by aircrews as the "Flying Suitcase" because of its cramped crew conditions. The Hampden was powered by Bristol Pegasus radial engines but a variant known as the Handley Page Hereford had in-line Napier Daggers.

Vickers Warwick

The Vickers Warwick was a multi-purpose twin-engined British aircraft developed and operated during the Second World War. In line with the naming convention followed by other RAF heavy bombers of the era, it was named after a British city or town, in this case Warwick. The Warwick was the largest British twin-engined aircraft to see use during the Second World War.

Handley Page V/1500 British night-flying heavy bomber

The Handley Page V/1500 was a British night-flying heavy bomber built by Handley Page towards the end of the First World War. It was a large four-engined biplane, which resembled a larger version of Handley Page's earlier O/100 and O/400 bombers, intended to bomb Berlin from East Anglian airfields. The end of the war stopped the V/1500 being used against Germany, but a single aircraft was used to carry out the first flight from England to India, and later carried out a bombing raid on Kabul during the Third Anglo-Afghan War. It was colloquially known within the fledgling Royal Air Force as the "Super Handley". The V/1500 which was shipped to Canada to attempt a transatlantic flight was flown in the USA beyond its flight to New York. In 1919 it crash-landed in a field at Mount Jewett, Pennsylvania. Photos appeared in the 20 February 1969 issue of the Bradford Journal newspaper.

Handley Page Heyford heavy night bomber aircraft

The Handley Page Heyford was a twin-engine British biplane bomber of the 1930s. Although it had a short service life, it equipped several squadrons of the RAF as one of the most important British bombers of the mid-1930s, and was the last biplane heavy bomber to serve with the RAF. The aircraft was named after and first deployed at RAF Upper Heyford, near Bicester in Oxfordshire.

Vickers Victoria

The Vickers Type 56 Victoria was a British biplane freighter and troop transport aircraft used by the Royal Air Force, which flew for the first time in 1922 and was selected for production over the Armstrong Whitworth Awana.

Vickers Virginia heavy bomber

The Vickers Virginia was a biplane heavy bomber of the British Royal Air Force, developed from the Vickers Vimy.

Westland Wapiti multirole military aircraft

The Westland Wapiti was a British two-seat general-purpose military single-engined biplane of the 1920s. It was designed and built by Westland Aircraft Works to replace the Airco DH.9A in Royal Air Force service.

Short Type 184 maritime patrol and torpedo bomber float plane

The Short Admiralty Type 184, often called the Short 225 after the power rating of the engine first fitted, was a British two-seat reconnaissance, bombing and torpedo carrying folding-wing seaplane designed by Horace Short of Short Brothers. It was first flown in 1915 and remained in service until after the armistice in 1918. A Short 184 was the first aircraft to sink a ship using a torpedo, and another was the only British aircraft to take part in the Battle of Jutland.

Airco DH.9A

The Airco DH.9A was a British single-engined light bomber designed and first used shortly before the end of the First World War. It was a development of the unsuccessful Airco DH.9 bomber, featuring a strengthened structure and, crucially, replacing the under-powered and unreliable inline 6-cylinder Siddeley Puma engine of the DH.9 with the American V-12 Liberty engine.

Airco DH.10

The Airco DH.10 Amiens was a British twin-engined medium bomber designed and built towards the end of the First World War. It served briefly postwar with the RAF.

The Nieuport London was a British night bomber aircraft designed in the First World War. A twin-engined triplane, the London was dogged by the unavailability and unreliability of its engines, and did not fly until 1920. Only two were built.

Reginald Kirshaw "Rex" Pierson CBE was an English aircraft designer and chief designer at Vickers Limited later Vickers-Armstrongs Aircraft Ltd. He was responsible for the Vickers Vimy, a heavy bomber designed during World War 1 and the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic non-stop. He was the chief designer of the Vickers Wellington bomber of World War 2.



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Bruce 1965, p. 3.
  2. 1 2 Bruce 1965, p. 10.
  3. Bruce 1965, pp. 6, 10.
  4. Mason 1994, p. 96.
  5. Bruce 1965, pp. 5–6.
  6. Jarrett 1992, p. 9.
  7. Mason 1994, p. 95.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Bruce 1965, p. 4.
  9. 1 2 3 Bruce 1965, p. 6.
  10. Bruce 1965, pp. 6–7.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Bruce 1965, p. 7.
  12. Bruce 1965, pp. 4–5, 7.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Bruce 1965, p. 5.
  14. Bruce 1965, pp. 7–8.
  15. 1 2 3 Bruce 1965, p. 12.
  16. 1 2 Bruce 1965, p. 9.
  17. Thetford 1992, p. 32.
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 Bruce 1965, p. 8.
  19. Andrews and Morgan 1988, p. 90.
  20. 1 2 Mason 1994, p. 98.
  21. Andrews and Morgan 1988, p. 93.
  22. Bruce 1965, pp. 9–10.
  23. Jackson 1988, p. 201.
  24. 1 2 3 4 Jackson 1988, p. 202.
  25. 1 2 Bruce 1965, pp. 10, 12.
  26. "Vickers Vimy." Discover Collections: State Library of NSW. Retrieved: 4 December 2012.
  27. Eichler, Kurtis (10 February 2015). "Shilling fund set up to help honour Semaphore aviator Sir Ross Smith". Adelaide Now. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  28. Andrews and Morgan 1988, p. 95.
  29. "The Vickers "Vimy-Commercial" Biplane." Flight, Volume XI, Issue 29, No. 551, 17 July 1919, pp. 936–941. Retrieved: 12 January 2011.
  30. 1 2 3 "我國最早航運機隊主力 -商用維美運輸機"(Vickers Vimy Commercial in Chinese language) Retrieved: 15 March 2008.
  31. Aeroplane magazine, May 2010
  32. 1 2 "Vickers Vimy replica due to leave RAF Museum". Pilot. 21 February 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  33. Jackson 1988, p. 203.
  34. McMillan 1995, pp. 4–43.
  35. "The Vickers Vimy-Commercial Ambulance Machine." Flight, Volume XIII, Issue 11, No. 638, 17 March 1921, pp. 187–188.
  36. "History". Adelaide Airport. 5 March 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  37. Ellis 2016, p. 161


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