Some of the images on this page represent the state of the aircraft in 2005


Here is the 2D panel from our aircraft.

They don't make 'em like this any more. You can hardly see anything out of the cockpit of a modern jet. Vickers, however, produced this wonderful aircraft with huge look-around windows (This actually makes a wonderful VFR aircraft!) as they did with the Vanguard before it. This one, however, flew at 38,000 feet at Mach 0.886! Its absolute maximum allowed speed was 0.94 Mach! Even today no commercial airliner - except Concorde - can match that.

You really have to see it in Flight Simulator to get the full effect. This screenshot was a JPG compressed 1600x1200 image which has been reduced to 800x600 and then JPG compressed again to fit it on the web page so a lot of quality has been lost.



The Icons next to the yoke control various aids which most flight simmers will be used to with the addition of a Yoke on/off icon and a special "VC" Icon which turns off the Virtual Cockpit in 2D views so as to stop it messing up the nice 2D side views in our sim. We have made it an Icon because this stops the landing lights being visible from the 2D cockpit due to a "feature" of Microsoft Flight Simulator which  is beyond our control. Additional elements are Radio Stack, Overhead Panel, Autopilot Switches, Fuel Panel, Engine Panel  and IFR (Zoom) panel.
Above you will see the fuel and engine gauges from the engineer's panel. The engines can be manually started from here by ensuring that the fuel cock and pump switches are in the on (up) position and then clicking and holding the start switch until the engine ignites. Of course you can always use the Control-E autostart feature of Flight Simulator.

With our whole VC10 model, detailed on a separate link, we offer the only 3D Virtual Cockpit for this aircraft!

Every individual gauge was carefully photographed by David Chester and their functions lovingly re-created with extreme accuracy. Everything is true to life within the confines of the simulation and computer screen and a little Artistic Licence! David's natural talent for photography and his skill as a programmer are magnificently combined here, for the first time, to produce what we consider to be the finest and most realistic panel available for the Vickers Super VC-10, one of the most incredible aircraft ever made. We are absolutely certain that you will agree.

Our panel has been designed and developed with and tested by real pilots who have been involved with the making of this panel right from the outset.

We reserve the right to change our simulation, panel, model, instruments and pricing without notice. Customers will be able to download the latest version at no additional charge.

Please note that all of these images are the property of David Chester and Abacus Systems Ltd and must not be used without our consent.

If you want some photos to make your own panel then either ask us first, or better still go and pay Brooklands Museum 7 for an excellent day out and take some pictures yourself! ;) We cannot recommend Brooklands enough. The whole team there are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable and there are not may - if any - places where you can actually sit at the controls of an aircraft and talk to someone who was involved in its design, maintenance or sales.

We are showing these images in as much detail as possible so that you can get an idea of what David has put into it. To get the full impact though you will need to actually use the product at 1600 x 1200 or 1280 x 1024 resolution from within Flight Simulator! Please note that the minimum resolution is 1024 x 768 with a recommended resolution of 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 on 17m 18 or 19 inch monitors! This is a Hi-Fidelity simulation designed to run on fast modern computers.  We are not catering for low resolutions, although you may feel that FS2002/4 is acceptable at 800 x 600 we do not and we have not, therefore, included any low-res bitmaps.

Here is an explanation of the instruments included in our simulation:-


This is the main panel reduced to 800x600 resolution. It looks far better at 1280x1024 or 1600x1200 !  As does the more close-up IFR Panel shown elsewhere on this page.

An explanation of the instruments:

Firstly, I would like to explain that we have re-created the VC10 panel with as much accuracy as possible within the limitations of Flight Simulator and the confines of the computer screen. We have kept "Artistic Licence" to an absolute minimum but some items have had to be changed slightly to provide usability with Flight Simulator - particularly with the autopilot. We have opted to use the selector mode knob on the main panel for ease of use. The main switch bar from the centre console is on a pop-up selected by clicking on the AP Sim Icon next to yoke. It appears just above the throttle quadrant. In the full aircraft model's virtual cockpit these are on the centre console where they belong, but the pop-up also works. We feel confident that you will not be disappointed. Where possible we have detailed the differences from the real aircraft.

A - Whisky Compass. A basic no-frills magnetic compass for backup purposes.

B - Wind Speed and Direction. This gauge was completely made up by David from bits of other VC10 gauges.

C - NAV Radio with Ident. Settings for navigational beacons including ILS on NAV1. The green Ident switch plays an audio Morse code 3 letter name of the VOR beacon or ILS you are tuned to. The real Super-VC10 had 2 ADFs (basic direction finders) up here instead. We have put those on the main Radio Panel which is on the centre console as per the Standard VC10 at Brooklands Museum. NAV1 is used for the ILS frequency and DME1 distance gauge. NAV2 is used to activate the DME2 distance gauge.

D - Lighting switches, Pitot Heat and De-Ice. The Ice Detector light (P) will illuminate when heating is required. Both Pitot Heat and De-Ice need to be on to extinguish the warning light.

E - Avionics and Battery Master Switches. This is not the correct location for these switches but they are placed here for convenience. The real switch in this location has no function in Flight Simulator.

F - Landing Gear section. Here we find the gear position indicator. 3 green lights means gear is down and locked. 3 red lights gear is in motion. The 3 red doors lights also illuminate when the gear doors are in transit. The large red gear knob raises or lowers the landing gear by clicking on it.

G - Autopilot Main Switches. These pop up onto the main panel above the throttles when you click on the AP Icon next to the yoke. A little "artistic licence" has had to be used here. The real autopilot bar is the other side of the throttles on the centre console. After a lot of consideration came up with something that is pretty accurate but also very useable and will be familiar to hardened flight-simmers :) We have, therefore,  changed some switches in order to integrate features of Microsoft Flight Simulator. For example the real VC10 has 2 autopilots AP-1 and AP-2 and 2 yaw dampers. We can only simulate one of each in FS2002/4 so we use AP-1 as the Master on/off switch and the FD or Flight Director switch replaces the "NAV" switch on the real aircraft. The early mode knob which we have chosen to simulate is also accompanied by a bigger knob under the main switch bar on the centre console.  We have elected to go for "down is off" to remain true to the rest of the aircraft controls. Note that there is no separate auto-throttle master switch. Next to the bar is a purple light which lights when the autopilot is on. This is to aid you, the virtual pilot. The real light is red and lights when the autopilot is OFF (we do also simulate this indicator correctly under the autobrake knob). This is also true of the AutoThrottle (A/T) warning light over at the left side of the screen. We show it lit when the autopilot controls the aircraft speed whereas the real aircraft shows it lit when the autothrottle is "off". (For your convenience we have also placed a secret switch over there in the form of the speed reference tag next to the stall lights. The top line engages the TOGA take off power function. This gives you 95% power and 8 degrees of nose up for takeoff or for aborted landings. The second line engages the Autothrottle speed hold at 250 knots. Finally, clicking on the bottom line engages the Autopilot Altitude hold for the pre-programmed altitude. Note that for the autopilot to function you must have the Ap-1 master switch on which can also be achieved by pressing the Z key or clicking on the purple light in the middle of the panel to the right of the Mode Knob. )

On the switch bar, the Autopilot Master switch is labelled AP-1. FD or Flight Director engages automatically when you set autopilot functions.  DAMP engages the Yaw Damper which in FS200x restricts rudder movement. ALT engages the Altitude Hold which will take the aircraft to the programmed altitude at the programmed rate. ATT holds the current attitude. TOGA sets the engine power to take-off/go-around (90-95% or so) and gives about 8 degrees of nose up. The IAS switch turns on the Airspeed Hold and the MACH switch engages the programmed Mach number. The settings for Air Speed, Mach, Altitude, Heading and Course are set using the appropriate main gauges which are fitted with turnable knobs for this purpose.

Underneath the switch bar is a line of number cylinders. These are secondary setting dials for ease of use and are completely unrealistic to this aircraft. We have, however, included them because flight simmers are used to using them. We have made them "in style" with this age of aircraft. Clicking on the left side lowers the numbers and the right side increases the numbers. Where possible we recommend using the appropriate gauge instead to maintain realism. For example there is a knob and a bug on the airspeed indicator for setting the required speed, and a knob and numbers on the top of the Altimeter for setting the required altitude. For the climb rate though you will have to use the number cylinder under the ATT switch.

H - Throttle Quadrant, Flaps/Slats Levers and parking brake. From the left is the parking brake lever. On the real aircraft this is actually a switch for linking the speed brakes to the ailerons but we cannot simulate this in FS2002/4 as they are permanently engaged. The real parking brake is close by but "off-screen" next to the seat. We have not included a speed brake lever in the 2D cockpit (although it is there in the full model's 3D Virtual Cockpit) but you can extend or retract the speedbrakes by clicking on the speedbrake light to the left of the flaps gauges. Underneath is also a switch for engaging the autospoilers before landing. This was not a facility on the real VC10 but we have included it as simmers are used to it. (See K below).

The throttles are moved by clicking at the top or bottom for full power or cut power. Clicking near the top or bottom slowly increases or decreases power. They Also move to reflect the throttle position as set by a game controller throttle control which is the preferred method.

Finally on the right side are the Flaps and Slats levers. We have simulated this on our own VC10 model by using the first 2 positions for Slats only and then the Flaps are added for each additional position. There is no separate slats switch for FS2002/4 but as one would never use flaps without slats in real life this works extremely realistically. I am informed that a notch of slats were used in the climb.

The positions are:

Position Slats   Flaps
Up       0          0
1        50%      0
2       100%     0
3       100%   14.5 degrees
5       100%   20.0 degrees
6       100%   35.0 degrees
7       100%   45.0 degrees

If you are not using our VC-10 simulation then you will need to adjust the flaps and slats settings in your AIRCRAFT.CFG file to reflect this more realistic set-up :)

Incidentally... the Airspeed indicator gauge has 3 small pointers which slide around the outside edge. In real life the pilot sets these to the correct V1, VR and V2 speeds according to payload etc. In FS2002/4 we are able to do this automatically for you but have used them to indicate stall speeds. Please see the airspeed indicator explanation (under W below).

I. Position indicators for the Slats, Flaps, Tail Trim and Ailerons. There is also a TOAT gauge or Total Air Temperature. This is effectively the aircraft skin temperature at the hottest spot - normally the nose. When the temperature drops below freezing the ice warning indicator is illuminated and you should switch on the de-icer and Pitot heater. The Flaps gauge is clickable to change the Slats/Flaps position. Click on the top half for up and the bottom half for down. The same goes for the Trim Indicator gauge. You can also click and hold. We recommend, however that you use the levers like a real pilot or better still a programable yoke or joystick :)  There are also 3 lights here which illuminate when fuel drops below 10% in each tank group. The real aircraft uses these lights to show a failure of the false "feel" applied to the yoke. We cannot simulate that and we felt that a fuel warning would be useful.

J. Engine speeds (N2) for engines 1 to 4. Under each engine is a yellow "reverser on" light and a red failure light. When an engine fails this will light up. You can also click it to simulate an engine failure, and click it again to cure it. You will need to restart the engine from the engine panel by raising the 2 switches for cock and pump and then hold the start lever until the engine fires up (or just press control/E to autostart). RAF models were fitted with a triple cartridge starting system not unlike a shotgun cartridge but I am told that these were not allowed on civilian aircraft. Instead, power was obtained by deploying a propeller driven generator under the starboard wing which provided enough power to start an engine should a 4 engine failure occur in flight <shudder>.

K. Autospoilers. Not realistic for the VC-10. We utilised the VC10's INS switch  for this (Inertial Navigation System was fitted to some aircraft). Setting this on (up) will automatically raise the spoilers at touchdown. They retract when you cancel the reverse thrusters by increasing the throttle slightly. The Yellow light illuminates when the spoilers (air brakes) are extended and you can also extend them manually or in flight by clicking on the light itself. Many of our indicators and gauges are also clickable, like Autothrottle, Parking brake, Autopilot Off.

L. DME2. This shows the distance from the VOR beacon programmed in by the frequency set on NAV2 when it is available. DME1 is over on the left side and is a big round thing.

M. Auto-Brakes. Again not realistic to this genre of aircraft, but it allows automatic use of the brakes for aborted take-offs and for landings. The AB setting will cause the brakes to come on if you abort a take off and FS2002/4 detects that you have done so. In my own tests this seems to be a rare occurrence!. The other settings 1, 2, 3 and Max are used for landings. I would suggest using 2 or 3 normally. When The aircraft speed drops below 20 knots the brakes are automatically turned off again. If you have left the reversers on they will be cut then too although you are not supposed to use reversers below 60 knots in case the engines suck up debris blown up from the runway. Applying a little throttle at 60 knots and cutting again will cancel the reversers and autospoilers for you.

N. The Autopilot Mode selection knob. The real VC10 also has a larger duplication of this knob under the main autopilot switch bar.  The functions are basically the same although we have added those of the second switch into our older switch for ease of use, plus added a GPS setting. VC-10s were a bit early for Global Positioning systems but used an Inertial Navigation System which was engaged using a separate switch. (We use this switch for our autospoilers!) We have opted for a GPS position on our rotary switch to take advantage of the FS2002/4 GPS and. therefore, make life easier for you! Also, having it on this knob makes it impossible to try to engage the ILS system when you are in "GPS Mode" rather than "NAV Mode" - a common annoying error of some flight simmers!

This switch basically controls the guidance systems side of the autopilot. In the Off position the red "A/P off" light to its right will illuminate to warn that the aircraft is being steered by the human pilots.

In the LVL position it will simply keep the wings level.

The HDG position will cause the aircraft to fly on the heading programmed in using the heading bug on the HSI gauge (Horizontal Situation Indicator).

The GPS position will fly to the point programmed into the portable GPS that your pilot has in his pocket :)

The NAV/LOC position flies towards the VOR or ILS beacon programmed into the NAV1 radio.

The GS position does the same as the NAV/LOC position with the addition of locking onto the ILS Glide Slope for landing approach. The aircraft should be on autopilot and flying to intercept the ILS from a position below the glideslope and at a reasonable heading angle for this to work - like any other aircraft in FS2002/4. When in this position the blue "GS Arm" light to the right will illuminate if an ILS signal is present. The yellow "GS Eng" light illuminates when the Glide Slope is locked in. If it goes out this means that you have lost the ILS lock.

Finally the Flare position. The Glide Slope will be bringing you down at something around 700 feet per minute depending on the approach path for that airport. This is far too fast to land, although it probably won't break your aircraft. In the final approach when you are about to land, rather than switching off the autopilot and landing manually, you can click on the Flare position and the aircraft will raise the nose (flare) to land smoothly. At least that is the aim :)   It can be engaged at any time that you have an active glideslope, effectively making this an AutoLand which was fitted to this aircraft in later years. The little light next to it changes from Blue to Yellow to Orange to Green to White as your approach progresses. At white you are just off the tarmac and you should disengage autothrottle, cut your engines and prepare to engage the thrust reversers. Be aware that the autopilot switches off directional lock on touchdown so you should be ready to use your rudders. The VC10 was used as the test bed for the category 3 AutoLand later fitted to the Trident.

We are also considering a fully automated landing system for this aircraft which will check that the gear is down, flaps extended and the power is cut at the correct moment. Reversers would be applied, and the heading lock released. The reversers would be cut when the speed drops below 60 knots. It would also check that the AutoBrakes and Autospoilers were set for the fully automated lazy approach effect. This will be available as a free upgrade to our customers when available.

O. The Standby Altimeter and Standby Artificial Horizon. These are here to simulate those backup devices on the real aircraft. As well as this, the standby Altimeter is fitted with a "QFE Switch". In real life approach control will give you a number to dial in to calibrate the gauge to show real height from the runway rather than the normal height above sea-level according to barometric pressure. We cannot simulate this exactly currently in FS2002/4 so we are using the radio height instead. This shows actual height from the ground when the button is depressed. Click it to switch between normal and QFE mode. The needles show the Hundreds and Thousands of feet and the moving white semicircle shows the Tens of Thousands.

P. Outside Air Temperature in Celsius. Next to this gauge is a red light which illuminates when the temperature drops to a certain level or when the skin temperature (T.O.A.T) drops below freezing. This is a warning that you need to switch on both the Pitot Heater and the De-Icer which you will find on the upper panel. Switching both of these on will extinguish the warning light.

Q. Artificial Horizon and Compass (HSI) failure warning lights.

R. Yaw Damper gauge. Although we are, sadly, not able to simulate this gauge accurately in FS, we have used this to show main rudder and rudder trim positions in order to bring it alive.

S. Timer. This is a minutes and seconds timer. Click the button to start/stop/reset. On the Clock which is below and to the right the second button (the one on the right) is used to increase and decrease simulation rate.
Surface indicator. This shows the position of the main control surfaces; Rudder, Ailerons and Elevators.
Generator Bus Fail. These light up when the generators of the appropriate engine are not generating electricity - eg when the engines are off.

T. OMI lights. These light up when you cross the Outer (O), Middle (M) and Inner (I) marker beacons on landing approach. In FS2004 you will also get Morse sounds which sadly do not work in 2002 due to a "feature" of that version beyond our control :(

U. Vertical Speed Indicator or VSI. This shows the change in altitude in feet per second. The normal climb-out rate for a VC-10 is 2300 feet per minute. If you are not using our VC-10 simulation then you may want to change this setting in the [AUTOPILOT] section of your AIRCRAFT.CFG file. The default is 1500 feet per minute. You will find, however, that the aircraft has a job maintaining 2300 fpm when above 27000 feet. We recommend reducing to 1500 at or before that point.

V. Here we have the Turn Coordinator gauge which shows slip and yaw. During a turn you should try to keep the little white ball on the white line using the rudders.
Under this and slightly right are the brake pressure gauges for main and parking brakes, left and right main gear brakes. There is also a red warning light which is lit when the parking brake is on. Clicking the light toggles the brakes on/off just like the lever on the left of the throttle quadrant.

W. The main business section of the panel!
1. On the left the Airspeed Indicator shows the current indicated airspeed. On the outer dial up to 200 knots and then the outer needle stays behind while the inner needle shows airspeed up to about 430 knots. There is also a yellow and black "barber pole" to show the maximum safe airspeed for the current altitude. The autopilot airspeed setting is changed using the knob at the bottom left corner of this gauge. A small triangular bug wizzes around the gauge edge to show the current speed setting which is also repeated numerically under the main autopilot switches on the right side of the main panel. Also on this gauge - and uniquely I believe in flight simulator - we have 3 little pointers just like the real aircraft to show minimum speeds etc. Unlike the real thing though we are able to calculate for you the minimum stall speeds with full flaps, No flaps and a yellow moving pointer which shows the current stall speed for the current flaps setting and fuel load! Enjoy!

2. The AutoThrottle warning light. Opposite to the Real Thing, our light illuminates when the autothrottle is on and extinguishes when the autothrottle (be it airspeed or Mach) is off. This is to keep in line with other aircraft simulations so as not to cause confusion.

3. Artificial Horizon shows the attitude of the aircraft. The white line follows the horizon and the line with the circle represents the aircraft. It is also marked with 15 and 25 degrees nose up and down. The pointer at the top shows the bank angle.

4. The Horizontal Situation Indicator or HSI (Giro compass with ILS direction and glideslope needles), Course (for NAV1) and Heading bugs. This is your main compass and shows your direction of flight with your current heading shown at the top. Around the edge is the compass rose with 2 bugs showing the autopilot Heading and Course setting.
The Course is shown by a solid white arrow and is controlled by the knob at the bottom left. It is also shown numerically in the centre of the gauge and also under the main autopilot switch bar.
The Heading is shown by an open triangle and is controlled using the knob at the bottom right of the gauge displaying a similar open triangle. Clicking to the left of the knob reduces the compass heading and to the right increases it. The heading is also shown numerically for your convenience just under the main autopilot switch bar.

5 The main Altimeter shows the current height above sea level. At the bottom is the calibration setting for current barometer readings in Milibars and inches of Mercury. This is altered by the knob at the bottom right corner of the gauge. At the top of the gauge is the current autopilot height setting. This is changed using the knob at the top right corner of the gauge in hundreds of feet. The numbers are also repeated for your convenience under the main autopilot switch bar under the ALT switch.

X. This section comprises 4 gauges.
1. The Mach Indicator which has a knob on the bottom left for altering the Mach Hold autopilot speed and is indicated by the moving triangle bug.
2. The Radio Altimeter measures the distance from the ground by radar. It has a warning light in the top left corner and the decision height bug which is controlled by the knob in the bottom right corner. This sets the height at which the large Decision Height or DH light illuminates and is the "point of no return" for landing.
3. Next is the DME or Distance Measuring Equipment. This shows a digital readout of the distance from NAV1 if the beacon that the NAV1 radio is tuned in to is fitted with distance measuring equipment. Normally this shows the distance to the runway when your ILS is online. Please also see DME2 which shows the distance to the VOR beacon that the NAV2 radio is tuned to. This is especially useful when the ILS does not have distance measuring equipment but the airport has a separate VOR beacon which does.
4. The Automatic Direction Finder or ADF is an old fashioned device that points to a Non Directional Beacon or "NDB". It is not as smart as a VOR and is tuned using the ADF Radio on the radio panel. It is, however, still quite useful for navigation generally. Often this gauge was replaced with another VOR gauge on the real aircraft and was invariably equipped with garish red and green needles!

Y. Stall warning and Decision Height lights. The Amber stall light illuminates when a stall is imminent. The Red indicator lights up when a stall is occurring. The DH light is programmed from the Radio Altimeter (see X) and lights up when you go below the Decision Height. This is the height below which you are committed to land. It is a larger version of the small light on the Radio Altimeter (RADALT) gauge.

Z. This is the metal plaque which displays the aircraft's registration letters.

Note also the location of the Icons at the lower left for (from the left) Map, GPS and Radios display. ATC, Kneeboard, overhead panel, Yoke on/off and (second row) Refueller Hoses Deploy (For K3 model), AP-Autopilot switch bar, Engineers panels for Engines and Fuel, IFV/VFR panel switch and finally the VC switch turns off display of a Virtual Cockpit in the 2D side views.  We fitted this last switch recently as turning off a virtual cockpit in this way stops the landing and taxi lights from displaying in the forward view. It does not effect the Virtual Cockpit itself in any way. In FS2004 our 3D Virtual Cockpit is really all you need to fly this aircraft though. You can click on the instruments just as you can in the 2D cockpit. Sadly this is not possible in FS2002 where you will need to return to the 2D cockpit in order to click on the instruments.

* We reserve the right to change and update our simulation without notice.

At night a VC-10 cockpit is a very beautiful place. Pop down to Brooklands at dusk in the Winter months and you will see what I mean.


My hearty thanks go to the directors and staff of Trans Global Aviation who generously allowed me to photograph many of their aircraft gauges, gave access to their Pilot Notes and Jane's books and especially to Schneider Trophy winner Nick Snook who has frequently abandoned his beloved B25 in order to test my Vickers Super VC10. I have designed a TGA livery for our full VC10 product as a reward for his hard work. Trans Global Aviation are a real aviation company. They do not, however, operate VC10s (although I am certain Nick wishes they did!).  Also thanks go to all the staff at the Brooklands Museum near Weybridge, Surrey for giving me permission to photograph their aircraft and for the wealth of information they have provided about this and other Vickers aircraft and for running their excellent museum in such a friendly fashion. Most of the staff I spoke with had been employed by Vickers/BAC during the VC10/Vanguard/Viscount/One-Eleven years in design, building, maintenance and sales of these extraordinary aircraft. I thoroughly recommend a visit and a Family Membership.


2003-2012 David Chester, Abacus Systems Ltd -