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THE LIVES OF G-ASGM/ZD241

ZD241, our Vickers VC10 K4, has come a long way since its existance was first confirmed with a BOAC order for a "Super" VC10 Type 1152 in April 1963, registered G-ASGM. By the time G-ASGM appeared off the production line at Brooklands in 1968 it had changed from a cabin freight door equipped Type 1152 (similar to ZA150 and ZA148 preserved at Dunsfold and Newquay respectively, and ZA147, which resides in non-running condition at Bruntingthorpe) to a Type 1151 - a normal airliner without the freight door.

G-ASGM's first flight was from the very short runway at Brooklands to Vickers test airfield at Wisley and took place on 26th February 1968. Little over a week later she was delivered to BOAC. She served with BOAC until 1974 at which point her ownership transferred to British Airways, with whom she flew until her retirement to Prestwick on 7th May 1980. In April 1981 she was sold to the Royal Air Force and ferried to RAF Abingdon. Registered as ZD241, she was to stay at RAF Abingdon, in external storage, for almost exactly 10 years...


...A week short of her 10th anniversary of landing at RAF Abingdon, ZD241 again took to the skies. This time it was a one way, gear and flap fixed ferry flight to British Aerospace's facility at Filton. Over the space of the next four years she was converted from an airliner to a 3-point Air-Air Refuelling (AAR) tanker, with the installation of a fuselage Hose Drum Unit (HDU) and two wing mounted AAR pods. Unlike the earlier conversions of civil VC10 airliners to tankers (the VC10 K2 and K3) it was decided not to install the internal fuselage fuel tanks (which hold around 10t more fuel) due to the fact they would have to cut the fuselage structure to insert the tanks. This is a bless to her operation today.


The conversion was completed in 1995 and the aircraft was delivered to 101 Sqn at RAF Brize Norton on 9th June. It then flew with 101 Sqn until its delivery to GJD Services at the former RAF and USAF airfield at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground on 21st March 2013.