VickersVimy_closeup2VickersVimy_closeup3VickersVimy_closeup1JerryBurpeeDesigned as a long range heavy night bomber capable of attacking targets in Germany, the British Vickers Vimy flew for the first time on November 17, 1917.

By October 1918, only three Vimy Model IV’s had been delivered to the Royal Air Force, one of which was sent to France. However, the war ended on November 11, 1918 before the aircraft could be placed into combat. Production continued and the Vimy IV reached full service status in July 1919. With excellent performance and a top speed of 98 mph at 5,000 feet, these aircraft formed the main heavy bomber force of the RAF for much of the 1920s, serving in the United Kingdom and the Middle East.

Though originally designed as a military aircraft, the Vimy IV also saw civilian use and is remembered more for setting a number of long-distance records after the war. The most significant accomplishment was the first non-stop aerial crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Brown in June, 1919. In a modified Vimy Model IV, they departed on June 14 from Lester’s Field near St. Johns, Newfoundland and nosed over upon landing in a bog near Clifden, Ireland, sixteen hours and twenty-seven minutes later. This aircraft is preserved in the London Science Museum.

A Vimy IV also made the first flight from Britain to Australia. In order to win the £10,000 prize offered for the trip by the Australia government, an all-Australian crew comprised of Captain Ross Smith, navigator Keith Smith and Sergeants Jim Bennett and Wally Shiers as mechanics, flew 11,000 miles from Hounslow Heath Aerodrome in Britain on November 12, 1919 to Darwin, Australia via Singapore and Batavia, arriving on December 10, 1919.

This large scale detailed radio controlled Vickers Vimy IV model is on loan to the Museum from Master Modeler Jerry Burpee of Plano, Texas. Built at 1:5 scale, the wingspan measures just under 14 feet.

Content provided by Patrick Corder, Museum Volunteer Curatorial Committee.

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