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Vickers Viking


c/n 121

The Vickers VC.1 Viking was a twin-engined short-range airliner derived from the Vickers Wellington bomber. The initial nineteen production aircraft (Mark 1A) carried between 21 and 24 passengers. The fuselage was metal but the geodetic wings and tail planes were fabric covered.
The aircraft has two Bristol Hercules 630 engines. These are 14-cylinder two-row, sleeve valve, air-cooled radial engines developing 1,690 hp each.
The VC stands for Vickers Commercial, sometimes also called Vickers Civil.

Built at the Vickers-Armstrongs factory in Weybridge, England, c/n 121 first took to the air on 30 August 1946, registered as G-AHOT with British European Airways and was used in the 1948 Berlin Airlift. On 26 September 1954 she was sold to Trek Airways, registered ZS-DKH and operated in Protea Airways colours, a second airline of Trek, and for many years, transported hundreds of passengers on leisurely and scenic flights between South Africa and Europe. She even starred in the South African musical comedy film, “Kimberley Jim” with the late Jim Reeves which was filmed in 1963.


After 13.881 flying hours, in December 1963, she was flown from Rand Airport to the old Baragwanath Airfield and was disassembled and transported by road to Armadale south of Johannesburg, where, in January 1964 she was placed atop the roof of the Vic de Villiers “Vic’s Viking Service Station” where she became a famous, if forlorn, landmark.

On 5 March 1987, the Viking was replaced by SAAF Avro Shackleton 1723 and donated to the SAA Museum Society. The Viking’s wings were removed and she was towed to Jan Smuts Airport.
Unfortunately 26 years plus later, in 2014, the aircraft has not been restored and is a tatty hulk standing not too far from the engine run-up bay at OR Tambo International Airport.
Technical details Vickers VC1A Viking
89’ 3”
62’ 10”
19’ 6”
Weight loaded
34,000 lb
Weight empty
18,360 lb
Max speed
263 mph (cruise) at 10,000’
Cruise speed
210 mph recommended cruise
Range S.A.
1700 miles for 7180 lb* 1920 miles for 5120 lb*
Bristol Hercules 630
Wing area (gross)
882 square feet
*Max fuel weight
1700 miles, 750 galls @ 210 mph, 1920 galls @ 171 mph.

  ZS DKH in Protea Airways livery in her heyday

ZS-DKH atop Vic’s Viking garage

ZS-DKH swapped for AVRO Shackleton 1723 on 5 March 1987

SAAF Shackleton 1723 replaces Vickers Viking ZS-DKH

GPS co-ordinates for SAAF Shackleton 1723 at Vic's Viking Garage
-26.277447, 27.944654
-26° 16' 38.81", +27° 56' 40.75"

ZS DKH restoration began in earnest. Photo: Omer Mees

   Restoration of ZS-DKH sadly is no further than this. Photo: Omer Mees

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