The Capital Airlines Vickers Viscount was a breakthrough for the British manufacturer. The Washington DC based airline, the fifth largest in the United States at the time, ordered and operated a large fleet of the new turboprop.

Entering service in 1955, Capital accumulated more hours operating the Vickers Viscount than any other airline by 1958. The carrier was eventually purchased by United Airlines in 1961.

Capital Airlines Vickers Viscount Video

When it was time to introduce the new Capital Airlines Vickers Viscount to the general public, the airline put together a colour promotional film all about it. This runs for 25 minutes and gives a great overview of the plane.

Turboprop engines did not have the vibration of the old piston engine aircraft. It was a revelation for travellers and one reason the aircraft was so popular.

The video mentions the Rolls-Royce engines in the beginning. There is a lengthy section showing engine manufacture, possibly to reassure the American public about these new fangled British engines. From 11:45, it goes into the history of Vickers and how they make the plane.

At 16 minutes we go into the cabin, seeing everyone dressed in their best for 1950s travel. Unfortunately this section has the audio missing in parts. At 20 minutes, we seem to go on a tour of the world, just because.

Overall Thoughts

Airlines no longer make productions like this to introduce their new aircraft. People today would also expect it all to be wrapped up in a neat three minute package, without the patience to sit through 25 minutes.

It’s interesting that they went into such detail to explain the new powerplant. At the time, turboprops were brand new, sounded different and were cutting edge technology. It makes sense they would want to explain it to the passengers.

What did you think of the presentation? Have you ever flown on a Vickers Viscount before? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by John Pickett via David Pickett collection via