26 March 2017
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Established 2005
Vickers Viscount Network
A Virtual Museum dedicated to the Vickers-Armstrongs VC2 Viscount
   

Viscount c/n 4

Operational Record

Photo of Viscount c/n 4
British European Airways Corporation (BEA)


England flag England

This V.701 series Viscount was built for
British European Airways Corporation (BEA) as G-ALWE

It first flew on Wednesday, 20 August 1952 at Weybridge, Surrey, England powered by Rolls-Royce Dart 505 engines.


Photo of Viscount c/n 4
British European Airways Corporation (BEA)


England flag England

Its final owner/operator was
British European Airways Corporation (BEA) as G-ALWE.

Its fate:-
Crashed onto a housing estate at Shadowmoss Road, Wythenshawe, Manchester, England 14 March 1957, during the final approach to Ringway Airport, Manchester, England on flight 411 from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Netherlands. All 20 on board were killed plus two on the ground. Refer to the history section for full details.


Operational record
Photo of Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd Viscount G-ALWE

Country of Registration United Kingdom

January 1950 to December 1952

Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd

G-ALWE - c/n 4 - a V.701 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

August 1949
Discussions concluded between Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd and British European Airways Corporation (BEA) regarding the specification for the V.701 aircraft.

Accommodation for 47 passengers at a gross weight of 53,000 lbs was specified with Rolls-Royce Dart RDa3 Mark 505 engines.

2 January 1950
Registered to Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd as the first production Viscount.

3 August 1950
Order placed by British European Airways Corporation (BEA) for 20 V.701 aircraft which was later increased to 26.

This was the 1st V.701 ordered by British European Airways Corporation (BEA).

Production Aircraft No. 1 - the 1st production V.700 series Viscount built,
was the 1st Viscount fuselage assembled at Weybridge, Surrey, England,
and the 1st Viscount assembled at Weybridge, Surrey, England.

Production Order No. F01/701. Sales Order No. 01/84A. Stock Order No. 01/10B.

17 November 1951
Fuselage assembly commenced at Weybridge Airfield, Surrey, England.

9 January 1952
Fuselage to Erecting Shop 'E' at Weybridge Airfield, Surrey, England.

20 August 1952
First flight from Weybridge Airfield, Surrey, England.

It landed at Wisley Airfield, Surrey, England for fitting out and test flying as the runway at Weybridge was too short for a completed aircraft to takeoff.

Exhibited at the SBAC show at Farnborough, Hampshire, England in BEA - British European Airways livery.
SBAC show at
Farnborough, Hampshire, England

September 1952
Exhibited at the SBAC show at Farnborough Airfield, Hampshire, England in 43 seat configuration including flying demonstrations in British European Airways Corporation (BEA) livery flown by Brian Trubshaw. A single engine flypast was carried out similar to the one made by G-AMAV in 1950 with the other three engines feathered. This could only be carried out with a lightly loaded aircraft but it certainly impressed the crowd.

23 September 1952
Departed on a week long tour of West Germany. 18 flights were made with over 750 passengers carried.

October 1952
Certification trial flights to the Mediterranean and Scandinavia continued using seconded BEA - British European Airways crews on some flights to give them some experience.

13 November 1952
Registration to Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd cancelled.

20 November 1952
Certificate of Airworthiness issued allowing a maximum take-off weight of 56,000 lbs which was later increased to 57,000 lbs.

17 December 1952
Registered to British European Airways Corporation (BEA).


Photo of British European Airways Corporation (BEA) Viscount G-ALWE

Country of Registration United Kingdom

December 1952 to March 1957

British European Airways Corporation (BEA)

G-ALWE - c/n 4 - a V.701 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

17 December 1952
Registered to British European Airways Corporation (BEA).

3 January 1953
Delivered from Wisley Airfield, Surrey, England to Heathrow Airport, London, England for British European Airways Corporation (BEA) as their first Viscount.

It was delivered fitted with Rolls-Royce Dart RDa3 Mark 505 engines. Serial numbers: 1001 & 1002 on the port side and 1003 & 1013 on the starboard side.

The cabin was originally fitted out with 40 seats in a four-abreast (2 + 2) all-first class interior, but it was re-configured as a 47 seat all-tourist class layout before it entered service.

David Carter illustration of British European Airways Corporation V.701 Viscount c/n 4 G-ALWE

Viscount illustrations by David Carter


22 January 1953
Operated the first Viscount service from Heathrow Airport, London, England to Koln Airport, West Germany in 70 minutes at an average speed of 282.9 mph. Returned from Koln Airport, West Germany to Heathrow Airport, London, England in 75 minutes at an average speed of 262 mph.

11 February 1953
Formerly named as 'R M A Discovery' by Lady Douglas of Kirtleside during a ceremony at Wisley Airfield, Surrey, England and then flown back to Heathrow Airport, London, England in 6 minutes.

19 March 1953
Operated the first Viscount service from Heathrow Airport, London, England to Kloten Airport, Zurich, Switzerland in 107 minutes at an average speed of 274.44 mph.

20 March 1953
Operated the first Viscount service from Heathrow Airport, London, England to Speke Airport, Liverpool, England.

20 March 1953
Ferried from Heathrow Airport, London, England to Wisley Airfield, Surrey, England for modification work.

16 April 1953
Returned to British European Airways Corporation (BEA) at Heathrow Airport, London, England.

19 April 1953
Operated the first Viscount service from Heathrow Airport, London, England to Ciampino Airport, Rome, Italy, Ellinikon Airport, Athens, Greece and Yesilkoy Airport, Istanbul, Turkey flown by Captain E A Turner.

1953
BRITISH PATHE FILM ARCHIVE

BEA - British European Airways Viscounts c/n 5 G-ALWF arriving at Rome, Italy and c/n 4 G-ALWE departing.

Click to see film


5 June 1953
Ferried from Heathrow Airport, London, England to Wisley Airfield, Surrey, England for modification work.

20 June 1953
Returned to British European Airways Corporation (BEA) at Heathrow Airport, London, England.

1 July 1953
Operated the first Viscount service from Heathrow Airport, London, England to Kastrup Airport, Copenhagen, Denmark in 176 minutes at an average speed of 249.8 mph and on to Arlanda Airport, Stockholm, Sweden. Flown by Captains A S Johnson and J Affleck.

1954 to 1959
The original ‘cutlass’ design propeller blades were gradually replaced by new symmetrical ‘needle’ blade propeller sets. From photographic evidence, both propeller types were fitted to Rolls-Royce Dart RDa3 Mark 505 and Mark 506 engines and many V.701 aircraft flew with an ‘intermix’ of both types of propeller blades.

7 April 1954
First noted at Blackbushe Airport, Hampshire, England.

29 April 1954
Ferried from Heathrow Airport, London, England to Hurn Airport, Hampshire, England for modification work.

11 May 1954
Returned to British European Airways Corporation (BEA) at Heathrow Airport, London, England.

4 March 1955
Ferried from Heathrow Airport, London, England to Teversham Airport, Cambridge, England for modification work with Marshall's.

31 March 1955
Returned to BEA at Heathrow Airport, London, England.

20 April 1955
Operated the first Viscount service from Heathrow Airport, London, England to Reim Airport, Munich, West Germany and Ellinikon Airport, Athens, Greece flown by Captain Crawford.

May 1955 to December 1956
All BEA V.701 aircraft were gradually retrofitted with Rolls-Royce Dart RDa3 Mark 506 engines in place of the original Mk.505 engines. Aircraft are known to have flown with an ‘intermix’ of both engine marks between these dates. When completely retro-fitted with Mark 506 engines, the V.701A designation was applied to these aircraft although this has not been seen widely used or quoted.

5 December 1955
Ferried from Heathrow Airport, London, England to Teversham Airport, Cambridge, England for modification work with Marshall's.

11 February 1956
Returned to British European Airways Corporation (BEA) at Heathrow Airport, London, England.

5 May 1956
Last noted at Blackbushe Airport, Hampshire, England.

Crashed at Wythenshawe, a southern district of Manchester on approach to Ringway Airport, Manchester, England.
The crash scene
15 March 1957

14 March 1957
Crashed onto a council estate in Shadowmoss Road, Wythenshawe, a southern district of Manchester on final approach to Ringway Airport, Manchester, England at 13:46 local time.

Total time 6,900 hours and 4,553 landings (also reported as 3,450 landings).

After a GCA - Ground Control Approach to Ringway Airport, Manchester, England, flight 411 from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Netherlands it broke through the clouds and continued for a visual approach. One report states that the flight originated from Rotterdam. Details please to information@vickersviscount.net

The approach was uneventful until about 1 mile short of the runway when the aircraft was seen to enter a shallow descending turn to the right with a steepening bank angle. The starboard wingtip eventually touched the ground causing the aircraft to crash inverted into three houses 85 yards further on and was destroyed by fire.

All 5 crew and 15 passengers on board died along with a Mrs Wilding and her young son David at house number 25. House numbers 21 and 23 were also destroyed but were thankfully unoccupied at the time of the accident.

PROBABLE CAUSE
It appeared that the starboard aileron became locked when the No.2 flap unit moved away from the wing trailing edge following the failure of a flap fitting. The fracture of a 9/16 inch bolt holding the bottom of the No.2 starboard flap unit was probably caused by metal fatigue.

SOURCE:
ICAO Accident Digest No.9, Circular 56-AN/51 (76-87).

18 March 1957
Registration cancelled as aircraft written off.

The remains were transferred to Coley's scrap yard at Hounslow, Middlesex, England which was near Heathrow Airport.

A modification was devised by Vickers-Armstrongs and Marshalls of Cambridge were contracted by BEA to carry out the work to their fleet of 25 aircraft. The V.701 fleet was temporarily grounded and each aircraft was modified at a suitable maintenance facility. G-AMOF (C/N 19), G-AMOI (C/N 22) and G-ANHB (C/N 62) were modified at Ringway Airport, Manchester.

Some, including G-AMOL (C/N 25) were ferried from Heathrow Airport, London to Teversham Airport, Cambridge by a Marshalls crew and as a precaution landed without flaps. Because of the serious nature of this failure the work was carried out as a high priority. Obviously this also affected Viscounts all around the world.

1 September 1958
The remains were still in Coley's scrap yard at Hounslow, Middlesex, England, near Heathrow Airport.

FURTHER READING: Books about BEA - British European Airways



Photo of BEA - British European Airways Viscount G-AOJC

The Vickers Viscount Network is always interested to hear from anyone who has information or photographs to help complete the story of the Viscount. If you can help please contact us at
Information@VickersViscount.net.


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