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The Valetta was a military transport development of the Viking civil airliner. The 58th Viking (c/n 158) became the prototype Valetta, which was first flown from Brooklands by test pilot Mutt Summers on 30 June 1947. The Valetta differed from the Viking fundamentally in being fitted with more powerful engines, a strengthened floor and large loading doors.
Although named after the Maltese capital Valletta, the aircraft name is spelt with only one "l". The Viking and Valetta provided the basis of the Varsity. The Varsity, although similar, was slightly larger and had a tricycle landing gear and under-fuselage pannier.
The Valetta C.1 entered service with the RAF in 1948, replacing the Douglas Dakota with RAF Transport Command and with transport squadrons in the Middle and Far East. The Valetta was used to carry out parachute drops in the 1956 Suez Crisis, and was used to provide transport support for a number of other British Military operations in the 1950s and 1960s, such as during the Malayan Emergency and operations in Aden.
Vickers Valetta T.3 of the RAF College at Blackbushe airport in September 1956. Note the cabin-top astrodomes and aerials for navigational training
Valetta T.4 of No.2 ANS with extended radar nose
The Valetta C.2 was a VIP passenger transport and extra range.
The Valetta T.3 was built to provide a navigational trainer for service with the RAF College at RAF Cranwell and with No.1 and No.2 Air Navigation Schools. 40 were delivered from August 1951, with the last being WJ487 in September 1952.
18 Valetta T.3 aircraft were later converted to T.4 standard with a longer nose to fitted to accommodate a radar scanner in order to train crews in the AI (Airborne Interception) role.
Valetta C.1 - transport, 211 built
Valetta C.2 - VIP transport, 11 built
Valetta T.3 - aircrew trainer, 40 built
Valetta T.4 - converted from T.3 with radar fitted in nose.
On 18 February 1951, an RAF Valetta made a forced belly landing near Stockholm-Bromma Airport following the failure of one engine and radio problems. Airframe icing compounded the situation. Of the 22 passengers and crew, one person was killed. The aircraft was totally destroyed.
On 15 January 1953, Valetta C.1 VX562collided in mid-air over the Mediterranean Sea with a RAF Lancaster, all 19 on the Valetta and seven Lancaster crew were killed.
On 11 November 1953, VX490 disappeared while on air test after departing RAF Changi. All 7 on board died. It is thought the plane broke up in a thunderstorm.
On 6 January 1954, Valetta T.3 WJ474crashed near Aldbury, Hertfordshire on takeoff in bad weather from RAF Bovingdon. The aircraft was carrying a rugby team, and 17 on board were killed, with one survivor.
On 21 February 1954, Valetta C.1 WJ494 Inbound from Hong Kong, crashed 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from Singapore's Changi RAF base during a single engine approach. It was alleged that the pilot feathered the wrong faulty engine whilst approaching the runway. The aircraft lost height and hit trees, bursting into flames; of the twelve occupants, three lost their lives.
On 22 August 1957, RAF Valetta VX491 'Y' crashed in the jungle near Tanjong Malim, Malaya. Three RAF crewmen were killed, four 55 Coy RASC AD servicemen survived and were rescued. Possible cause - engine failure.
Aircraft on display
A Valetta C.2 preserved at the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum