The RAF had it right all along when air-trooping in a VC10

#1
For those of you who remember "Air-trooping" on VC10's, according to the latest "non-news", the Crabs had it right all along and the safest way to fly is sat facing backwards.
Couple of points:
1. I can't see Joe public experiencing the thrill of your guts doing a good imitation of "Alien" and trying to bust out of the front of your stomach during take-off and landing.
2. Given the size of the stomachs of some of the people who fly these days, surely such a large mass suddenly surging backwards would unbalance the plane.

Your plane seat would be safer if it faced backwards but airlines won't change it
 
#2
I distinctly remember flying facing backwards on a BA Trident 3 from Heathrow to Edinburgh in about 1984. I don't remember it being a particularly unpleasant experience, and the cooked breakfast had two sausages.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#3
It's over 40 years since I airtrooped back from UNFICYP so please excuse the memory loss. Was it Billy Connolly who joked about flying backwards into a mountain at 600mph or the cabin crew on said VC10?
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
This was determined by experimentation in the 50s but airlines wouldn't implement it as passengers didn't like it. The RAF did because a live soldier is more valuable than a happy passenger. Cabin crew face backwards for take off and landing. I do by preference if in business class with the option.
 
#5
I distinctly remember flying facing backwards on a BA Trident 3 from Heathrow to Edinburgh in about 1984. I don't remember it being a particularly unpleasant experience, and the cooked breakfast had two sausages.
If you say so.
 
#6
I think there is an increase in air sickness with rear facing seating configurations.
 
#8
I distinctly remember flying facing backwards on a BA Trident 3 from Heathrow to Edinburgh in about 1984. I don't remember it being a particularly unpleasant experience, and the cooked breakfast had two sausages.
I used to fly often in the earlier BEA Tridents and my recollection is that about half the seats (the forward lot) faced backwards and at some point halfway down the aisle there were two rows of seats facing each other.
 
#9
It was a very early morning flight, so I could have been confused.
Having reread your original post you did say 'BA' so it may be true. Just hard to believe.:)
 
#10
Besides sitting backward and having scrambled egg on those silly plastic trays the VC 10s were all called sensible names.
Nowadays you coudn't land an aircraft named Leonard Cheshire or Guy Gibson VC both VC10s I flew into Changi and Akrotiri back in the 60s and 70s for fear of the PC luvy brigade going incandescent!
As to not honking thats a lie, I threw up from RAF Luqa to Akrotiri granted it was induced by Red Stripe!
 
#11
the VC 10s were all called sensible names.
Nowadays you coudn't land an aircraft named Leonard Cheshire or Guy Gibson VC both VC10s I flew into Changi and Akrotiri back in the 60s and 70s for fear of the PC luvy brigade going incandescent!
!
Should have named the aircraft after Guy Gibson's dog for the African routes
 
#12
It wasn't just the RAF, civilian charter aircraft doing air-trooping runs were required to have rear-facing seats.
As these airlines* did holiday charters also presumably with the same aircraft , I imagine a good few civvies off to the Costas got to experience going backwards too.

*British Eagle, BUA, British Caledonian
 
#13
This was determined by experimentation in the 50s but airlines wouldn't implement it as passengers didn't like it. The RAF did because a live soldier is more valuable than a happy passenger. Cabin crew face backwards for take off and landing. I do by preference if in business class with the option.
This was being discussed many years ago - back when I was an apprentice

As I understand it the seats also need to be rated differently* and thus heavier which increases cost.
They also can fit less seats as well. Ive never understood that one but its allegedly the case ( unless it is a weight issue and ive forgotten that bit ).

Edit - On reading the article it does discuss this point - I would delete this post as totally redundant - but as its one of the few times in my life I'm correct I'm saving it for posterity

Ive never really accepted the passengers wont like it argument, it doesn't seem to cause an issue on Buses trains or boats.
Being somewhat cynical I cant help but think this is an argument that suits the airlines to build up rather than incur additional costs

Windows are another thing designers and airlines would happily do without - but doesn't meet with passenger approval

*Yes I know crab air used standard seats just facing backwards - but it was a long time ago
 
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#14
Went to Calgary from Hanover on one for the 1974 battlegroup at Batus.
Stopped at Reykjavik to refuel much to the dismay of the Icelandics.
Don't recall any problems going doggy fashion.
 
#15
Did it a few times and was no problem.

It doesn't matter what way you face when you plow into the ground at 3/400 mph there is not going to be a lot left of you anyway
 
#16
I used to fly often in the earlier BEA Tridents and my recollection is that about half the seats (the forward lot) faced backwards and at some point halfway down the aisle there were two rows of seats facing each other.
Have an informative

I remember that configuration from when I was very young - I had assumed because it was from Germany and had rear facing seats it was an RAF flight - But that didn't gel with the mixed fwd aft facing - You just solved a mystery.
 

AfghanAndy

On ROPS
On ROPs
#17
For those of you who remember "Air-trooping" on VC10's, according to the latest "non-news", the Crabs had it right all along and the safest way to fly is sat facing backwards.
Couple of points:
1. I can't see Joe public experiencing the thrill of your guts doing a good imitation of "Alien" and trying to bust out of the front of your stomach during take-off and landing.
2. Given the size of the stomachs of some of the people who fly these days, surely such a large mass suddenly surging backwards would unbalance the plane.

Your plane seat would be safer if it faced backwards but airlines won't change it
Old news. It was covered years ago after the kegworth crash.

Simple fact is that Joe Public doesn’t like facing backwards. ( you’ll notice this on trains. People will always try and sit facing the front if they can)

I’m sure that @oneof the strange will be along to tell us how this could never be passed into law with us being outside the EU.
 
#18
I first flew facing backwards to Jamaica and Malaya during the fifties and early sixties in the old Bristol Brittania with my parents when I was young. During the early seventies when I went adventure training to Sardinia with my old Regiment, we flew Brittania's again from Wildenrath to Decimomannu.

In 1982, had the pleasure of travelling in Lanoe Hawker VC, one of the named VC-10s from Brize to Ascension. Again the seats faced backwards. Only thing I experienced was cramp because the seats were too close together which the female flight attendant (and very nice she was too) tried her best to relieve!!! On the return leg three months later I made sure I didn't get cramp and sat in an aisle seat...The flight attendant for that trip was a male SNCO!.
 
#19
In the event of a sudden deceleration, backward-facing seats support the body, and help protect from some injuries. Forward-facing will have your whole body mass putting pressure on a 6cm wide webbing strap and will not support you back. Flail injuries are more likely as well.

Maybe I’m a bit weird but I prefer facing backwards, and will take the option, if given the chance.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but, CrabAir are correct in this.
 
#20
As I understand it the seats also need to be rated differently* and thus heavier which increases cost.
They also can fit less seats as well. Ive never understood that one but its allegedly the case ( unless it is a weight issue and ive forgotten that bit ).
While I don't doubt this whatsoever it does not seem logical. Assuming a forward-facing seat normally lasts the life of the airframe, it will have had the weight of several thousand punters pushed back into it during its many take-offs, when the acceleration, plus gravity added by the nose-up attitude is much greater than the deceleration of normal landings. One potential emergency landing with perhaps a collapsed wheel wouldn't appear to me to present significantly more stress on the seat. Smacking a mountain, one assumes is not particularly safe with seats facing either way.
 

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