The world’s first turboprop aircraft was the British manufactured Vickers Viscount. This aircraft was powered by the Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop and at the time was a revolution for efficiency and passenger comfort.
A major sales success, 445 aircraft were produced between 1948 and 1963. Service commenced in 1953 with Britain’s BEA and the aircraft saw service throughout the world.
At the time, the world was full of piston driven airliners and with them came tremendous noise and vibration. A turboprop is a jet powered aircraft with the jet engine powering a propeller which drives the aircraft through the air.
This is an excellent 6 minute video taken from a BBC production. It shows the Viscount interior, exterior and tells you how a turboprop engine works and more.
What I particularly noticed is the fact the aircraft has large windows, passengers smoke and it is a 5 abreast economy class cabin which looks extremely tight. Look out for the cabin crew serving each tray by hand.
The Viscount went on to larger and more powerful versions, seeing service in places as far flung as Australia and the USA. In the USA, Capital Airlines operated the Viscount and later these were operated by United when they took over Capital.
The Viscount Jump
An Australian published book I have mentions a phenomenon called the “Viscount Jump”. As passengers were able to experience smooth and vibration free flight for the first time, it was very popular.
Due to this, many routes the aircraft flew experienced an increase in passenger numbers almost immediately once the aircraft went into service. This is something many modern airlines wish their new aircraft would create.
I have been on a Viscount just once and that is in the Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey in the UK. The seats are narrow and the aircraft small but the very large windows made me want to go up and fly in one. Sadly the aircraft is long out of service but deserves to be remembered for being a revolution in passenger transport.
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.