Vickers 663 Tay-Viscount
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Vickers 663 Tay-Viscount

Last of the prototype and experimental jetliners built in Britain in the immediate postwar era, the Tay-Viscount was an aircraft of great technical interest which went on to carry out many important research programmes. It came about because of Rolls-Royce's ability to wring more power from the Dart turboprop, which in turn enabled Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) at Weybridge to enlarge the Viscount. This left the second of the original small-size V.630 Viscounts redundant, and the Ministry of Supply took it under its wing as a twin-jet for special research.

With company designation V.663, it was kept the same size as the original first prototype but completed with new turbojet engine pods and four separate main landing gears retracting on either side of the jetpipes as on the earlier Nene-Viking. Each engine was the Rolls-Royce Tay, a slightly larger and more powerful development of the Nene which, by chance, never flew in any other aircraft (though similar engines were made under licence in the USA and France). Thanks to the advanced high-speed design of the Viscount nothing much had to be done to the airframe to clear it for high-speed jet flight, though the interior was fitted out for instrumentation instead of passengers.

Originally allocated civil registration G-AHRG, the Tay-Viscount was completed in Ministry markings with serial number VX217. It first flew at Wisley on March 15, 1950, and caused a sensation at the 1950 Farnborough show by appearing to be even faster than the Comet. Its first major task was to help develop the Boulton Paul-powered control system for the Vickers-Armstrongs Type 660 bomber (later named Valiant). Based at Seighford, it then went on to become the first aircraft in the world to fly with an electrically signalled flight-control system. Still with Boulton Paul (a company later absorbed into the Dowty Group) it carried out several years of research on electrically signalled flight-control systems which are only now coming into use.

Weights and performance figures for the Tay-Viscount were never published, and once it had finished its early spell of display flying and gone to Boulton Paul it was hardly ever seen in public and conducted its important missions in an atmosphere of secrecy. In general take-off, climb and manoeuvrability it exceeded all other early jetliners, despite its design being settled in 1945-46.

Bill Gunston "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Commercial Aircraft", 1980

Vickers 663 Tay-Viscount

 ENGINE2 x 2835kg Rolls-Royce Tay RTa.1 turbojets
    Take-off weight18144 kg40001 lb
    Empty weight12746 kg28100 lb
    Wingspan27.13 m89 ft 0 in
    Length22.71 m75 ft 6 in
    Height8 m26 ft 3 in
    Wing area82.22 m2885.01 sq ft

Vickers 663 Tay-ViscountA three-view drawing (896 x 1398)

Comments, 31.10.2017

i'd like to see the 633 Tay Viscount Cockpit.

Carl BUTLER, 03.01.2017

The airframe was NOT stressed to take the power of pure jets & the fuselage could be pressurised for the higher altitudes required. Boing hade not flown the 707 airliner let alone designed the B737.

Ian Kirby, 03.01.2014

If the Tay engine had been developed the jet viscount would have been a world beater. Where do you think Boeing got the idea for the 737?

Mahir Al Hasani, 28.07.2013

Pity if this aircraft was a success why didn`t the British modify it`s design shape,instead of building the Comet1 which was a disaster in the jet aircraft industry and didn`t learn there lesson in making square windows in supersonic jet,and caused England to lose it`s jet integrity ,giving the chance to the Americans to overcome them !

goutou, 21.06.2011

Boulton Paul it was hardly ever seen in public and conducted its important missions in an atmosphere of secrecy. In general take-off, climb and manoeuvrability it exceeded all other early jetliners,

, 21.06.2011

Vickers 663 Tay-Viscount

peter, 11.09.2009

A guy in bristol has just built a flying replica. its enormous. I have pics.

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