Canadian Wings :: The History & Heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force


The Vickers Vildebeest was an ungainly looking three-seat general purpose biplane that first flew in April 1928. It saw service as a torpedo bomber, as an army cooperation and as a light bomber. Later variants were intended to replace the Westland Wapiti and Fairey IIIF biplanes.

Obsolete by the outbreak of the Second World War, approximately 100 Vildebeests of various marks were still in service. Necessity meant the Vildebeest and an improved variant, the Vickers Vincent, continued in service. The last front-line operations were flown as late as 1942 by Nos 36 and 100 (RAF) Squadrons shortly before the fall of Singapore. Canadian crews saw service in Vildebeest aircraft while attached to RAF squadrons.

aircraft specifications
CDN Reg:
Manufacturer: Vickers Aircraft
Crew / Passengers: crew of three
Power Plant(s): one 660 hp Bristol Pegasus IIM3 radial piston engine
Performance: Max Speed: 142 mph (229 km/h) Service Ceiling: 17,000 ft (5,182 m) Range: 1,250 mi ( 2,012 km)
Weights: Empty: 4,229 lb (1,918 kg) Max T/O: 8,100 lb (3,674 kg)
Dimensions: Span: 49 ft 0 in ( 14.94 m) Length: 36 ft 8 in (11.18 m)
Height: 17 ft 9 in (5.41 m) Wing Area: 728 sq ft (67.63 sq m)
Armament: One forward-firing .303 in (7.7 mm) machine gun and one flexible Lewis gun in the aft cockpit plus provisions for up to 1,000 lb (454 kg) in bombs or torpedoes
Torpedo-armed Vickers Vildebeest biplanes were used against Japanese shipping in the Far East (RAF Photo)

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