Varsity T.1 of No.1 Air Electronics School in 1971
Role military trainer
Manufacturer Vickers-Armstrongs
First flight 17 July 1949[1]
Introduction 1951
Retired 1976
Primary user RAF
Number built 163
Developed from Vickers VC.1 Viking

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

Design and development

The Varsity was developed by Vickers and based on the Viking and Valetta to meet Air Ministry Specification T.13/48 for a twin-engined training aircraft to replace the Wellington T10 and the Valetta T3 and T4.[2] 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.[2] The first prototype Type 668 Varsity VX828 was first flown by J 'Mutt' Summers and G R 'Jock' Bryce from Wisley on 17 July 1949.[2]

A civil version the VC.3 was planned but with the success of the VC.2 Viscount the idea was abandoned.[2]

Operational history

Varsity T.1 of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell in 1968

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.[3]

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The Varsity was withdrawn from service with the RAF in May 1976, its role as a pilot trainer being taken over by the Scottish Aviation Jetstream T1, and as a navigation trainer by the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


Varsity T1 on display at the Newark Air Museum
Varsity T1 on display at the Newark Air Museum
 United Kingdom

Aircraft on display



United Kingdom

Specifications (T Mk 1)

Data from Vickers Aircraft since 1908.[16]

General characteristics



See also

Related lists



  1. ^ Thetford 1957, p. 448.
  2. ^ a b c d Martin 1975, p. 9.
  3. ^ Rawlings 1971, pp. 172–173.
  4. ^ "Airframe Dossier – VickersVarsity, s/n 8872M RAF, c/n 541". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  5. ^ "TP 82". Flygvapenmuseum. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Flygplan [82001]". Kringla. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Aircraft List". Newark Air Museum. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  8. ^ Ellis 2008, p. 170.
  9. ^ "Vickers 668 Varsity T.1". Brooklands Museum. Brooklands Museum Trust Ltd. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  10. ^ Ellis 2008, p. 207.
  11. ^ "Aircraft List". AeroVenture. South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  12. ^ "A NEW KIND OF WELLINGTON". Classic Air Force. Classic Air Force. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  13. ^ "Aeropark Exhibits". East Midlands Aeropark. Aeropark Heritage Aircraft Collection. Archived from the original on 12 May 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Vickers Varsity T Mk I". Royal Air Force Museum. Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  15. ^ Simpson, Andrew (2012). "INDIVIDUAL HISTORY [WL679]" (PDF). Royal Air Force Museum. Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  16. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1988, p. 416.