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Vickers Varsity

The Vickers Varsity was a British twin-engine crew trainer operated by the Royal Air Force from 1951 to 1976.

The Varsity was developed by Vickers and based on the Viking and Valetta to meet Air Ministry Specification T.13/48 for a twin-engine training aircraft to replace the Wellington T10 and the Valetta T3 and T4.

The main differences were the wider-span wings, longer fuselage and tricycle undercarriage.

There was also a ventral pannier to allow a trainee bomb aimer to lie in a prone position and a bomb bay with a capacity for 24 x 25lb smoke & flash bombs.

The Varsity was introduced to replace the Wellington T10 trainer. Following deliveries to trials units the first production aircraft were delivered for operational use in 1951 to No. 201 Advanced Flying School at RAF Swinderby, where they were used to train pilots to fly multi-engined aircraft.

It also equipped two Air Navigator Schools in 1952, and the Bomber Command Bombing school, with the job of training crews for RAF Bomber-Command’s V-bomber crews.

The Swedish Air Force operated a single Varsity from January 1953 to 1973 mainly for electronic intelligence missions.

The Swedish military designation was Tp 82.

The Varsity was withdrawn from service with the RAF in May 1976, its role as a pilot trainer being taken over by the Scottish Aviation Jetstream T1, and as a navigation trainer by the Hawker Siddeley Dominie T1.

The last flying example (Serial WL679) was operated by the Royal Aircraft Establishment; it was retired into preservation at the RAF Museum in 1992.





67 ft 6 in (20.57 m)


95 ft 7 in (29.13 m)


23 ft 11 in (7.29 m)

Wing area

974 sq ft (90.5 m2)

Empty weight

27,040 lb (12,265 kg)


2 × Bristol Hercules 264,

14-cylinder radial engine,

1,950 hp (1,450 kW) each


Maximum speed

288 mph (463 km/h, 250 kn) at 10,000 feet (3,000 m)


2,648 mi (4,262 km, 2,301 nmi)

Service ceiling

28,700 ft (8,700 m)

Rate of climb

1,400 ft/min (7.1 m/s)



600 pounds (270 kg) practice bombs in an external pannier.



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