26 June 2019
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Established 2005
Vickers Viscount Network
A Virtual Museum dedicated to the Vickers-Armstrongs VC2 Viscount
   

Viscount c/n 10

Operational Record

Photo of Viscount c/n 10
Air France


France flag France

This V.708 series Viscount was built for
Air France as F-BGNL

It first flew on Wednesday, 27 May 1953 at Weybridge, Surrey, England powered by Rolls-Royce Dart 505 engines.


During its life this aircraft was also owned and/or operated by
Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd, BKS Air Transport Ltd, Danish Air Charter, Silver City Airways, British United Airways (BUA), Air Inter (Lignes Aériennes Intérieures), Dan-Air London and Cyprus Airways


Photo of Viscount c/n 10
Alidair


England flag England

Its final owner/operator was
Alidair as G-ARBY.

Its fate:-
Damaged beyond economic repair after a forced landing at Ottery St Mary, 6 miles short of its destination of Exeter Airport, Devon, England 17 July 1980 having run out of fuel on the flight from Santander Airport, Northern Spain.


Operational record
Photo of Air France Viscount F-BGNL

Country of Registration France

August 1953 to June 1960

Air France

F-BGNL - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
France registered

March 1951
An order was placed by Air France for twelve Type 700 aircraft. This was the second V.708 built.

Production Aircraft No. 9 - the 9th production Type V.700 series Viscount built,
was the 8th Viscount fuselage assembled at Weybridge, Surrey, England,
and the 9th Viscount assembled at Weybridge, Surrey, England.

Production Order No. F02/708. Sales Order No. 02/85A. Stock Order No. 07/10B.

26 August 1952
Fuselage assembly commenced at Weybridge, Surrey, England.

2 October 1952
Fuselage to Erecting Shop 'E' at Weybridge, Surrey, England.

23 March 1953
Engine ground running commenced.

27 May 1953
First flight from Brooklands Airfield, Weybridge, Surrey, England.

It landed at Wisley Airfield, Surrey, England for fitting out and test flying.

June 1953
Noted at Le Bourget Airport, Paris, France taking part in the Salon flying display while still airtesting with Vickers.

This was the first time this event was held at this airport as Orly Airport was previously used. F-BGNK (C/N 8) was on display in the static park.

25 August 1953
Delivered to Air France fitted with Rolls-Royce Dart RDa3 Mark 505 engines.

1954 to c1959
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.708 aircraft flew with an ‘intermix’ of both types of propeller blades.

16 April 1954
After departing from Bromma Airport, Stockholm, Sweden at 07:53 on service AF493 a violent explosion at 16,000 feet resulted in a sudden decompression of the cabin.

The No.4 Rolls-Royce Dart engine was severely damaged and had to be shut down but the propeller could not be feathered. During the descent, at 6,000 feet the No.3 Rolls-Royce Dart engine started to suffer from severe vibration and had to be throttled back to flight idle. The No.1 and No.2 engines remained at normal speed.

After a safe landing back at Bromma Airport at 08:46 it was discovered that the starboard forward cargo hold door had become detached and struck both starboard propellers.

A temporary disabling of one of the cargo door lock mechanisms had been carried out by the Air France station engineer at Bromma which resulted in this catastrophic failure.

There were no reported injuries to the unknown number of passengers and 6 crew on board.

Repaired and returned to service.

Larger Air France titles applied.
Larger Air France titles applied

circa 1955
Larger Air France titles applied.

Capacity later increased from 48 seats to 63 seats.

June 1960
Sold to Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd via W S Shackleton & Company.


Photo of Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd Viscount F-BGNL

Country of Registration France

June 1960 to June 1961

Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd

F-BGNL - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
France registered

June 1960
Purchased from Air France via W S Shackleton & Company.

7 June 1960
Delivered to Teversham Airport, Cambridge, England in full Maitland Drewery livery with French registration for Marshalls to carry out the necessary work to put it on the UK register.

27 June 1960
Re-registered G-ARBY.


Photo of Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

June 1960 to June 1961

Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

27 June 1960
Re-registered from F-BGNL.

4 August 1960
Test flown from Teversham Airport, Cambridge, England with the UK registration applied.

17 August 1960
UK Certificate of Airworthiness issued.

David Carter illustration of Maitland Drewery Viscount G-ARBY

Viscount illustrations by David Carter


27 August 1960
Delivered from Teversham Airport, Cambridge, England to Gatwick Airport, Surrey, England and entered service to Jersey Airport, Channel Islands, Renfrew Airport, Glasgow, Scotland, Jersey Airport, Channel Islands and back to Gatwick Airport, Surrey, England.

9 September 1960
Noted at Mulhouse Airport, Basel, Switzerland operating a charter flight.

3 June 1961
Last service from Ringway Airport, Manchester, England to Treviso-Sant'Angelo Airport, Italy and return.

14 June 1961
Leased to BKS Air Transport Ltd.


Photo of BKS Air Transport Ltd Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

June 1961 to July 1961

BKS Air Transport Ltd

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

14 June 1961
Leased from Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd in a modified livery less titles pending delivery of Viscount G-ARGR (C/N 14).

BKS relates to the surnames of three company directors: - James W Barnby, Thomas D Keegan, and Cyril Stevens.

July 1961
Returned to Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd.


Photo of Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

July 1961 to July 1961

Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

July 1961
Returned from BKS Air Transport Ltd lease.

Used by BOAC for two flights from London Airport (later known as Heathrow), Middlesex, England to Prestwick Airport, Ayrshire, Scotland.

25 July 1961
Leased to Danish Air Charter.


Photo of Danish Air Charter Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

July 1961 to August 1961

Danish Air Charter

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

25 July 1961
Leased from Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd in a modified livery less titles.

August 1961
Returned to Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd.


Photo of Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

August 1961 to December 1961

Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

August 1961
Returned from Danish Air Charter lease.

December 1961
Leased to Silver City Airways.


Photo of Silver City Airways Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

December 1961 to January 1962

Silver City Airways

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

December 1961
Leased from Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd and ferried to Wymeswold Airfield, Leicestershire, England for overhaul and a repaint by Field Aircraft Services Ltd.

The work was not carried out and the aircraft never went into service. It remained stored at Wymeswold Airfield.

23 January 1962
Purchased from Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd by Air Holdings and transferred to British United Airways (BUA).

Silver City Airways was absorbed as part of a corporate merger.

FURTHER READING: Books about Silver City Airways



Photo of British United Airways (BUA) Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

January 1962 to February 1967

British United Airways (BUA)

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

23 January 1962
Purchased by Air Holdings Ltd from Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd whilst the aircraft was on lease to Silver City Airways and transferred to BUA.

Air Holdings Ltd were the parent group of BUA. Silver City Airways was absorbed as part of a corporate merger.

3 April 1962
Returned to service painted in British United Airways (BUA) livery.

Crash landed at Gatwick Airport, Surrey, England.
Nose gear collapsed at
Gatwick Airport, Surrey, England

8 February 1963
Crash landed at Gatwick Airport, Surrey, England after missing the runway edge in poor visibilty.

This early morning flight from Le Bourget Airport, Paris, France was carrying post and freight and had already aborted the first landing attempt due to poor visibility.

After circling Mayfield, the tower advised the captain that the visibility had improved slightly so he came in again.

At about 0.75 miles from runway 09 the tower advised the captain that he was left of the centre-line and 100 feet above the glidepath.

When the captain sighted the runway threshold lights he made an 'S' turn to correct his position but touched down just off the left side of the runway.

This resulted in the collapse of the nose undercarriage leg and curled propellers and shockloaded Rolls-Royce Dart engines.

The two crew escaped without injuries.

Ground staff were quickly on the scene to paint out the name of the airline and the aircraft's registration.

Repaired and returned to service.

Painted in the 'British United' livery.
BUA
'British United' livery

circa 1964
Painted in the 'British United' livery.

April 1966
Purchased from Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd whilst still on lease.

27 April 1966
Registration to Maitland Drewery Aviation Ltd cancelled.

21 June 1966
Registered to British United Airways (BUA).

7 October 1966
Registration cancelled as aircraft sold abroad.

2 February 1967
Sold to Air Inter (Lignes Aériennes Intérieures).


Photo of Air Inter (Lignes Aériennes Intérieures) Viscount F-BOEC

Country of Registration France

February 1967 to April 1975

Air Inter (Lignes Aériennes Intérieures)

F-BOEC - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
France registered

2 February 1967
Purchased from British United Airways (BUA) and delivered to Orly Airport, Paris, France.

3 February 1967
Re-registered for Air Inter.

8 April 1975
Leased to Alidair.


Photo of Alidair Viscount F-BOEC

Country of Registration France

April 1975 to July 1975

Alidair

F-BOEC - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
France registered

8 April 1975
Leased from Air Inter (Lignes Aériennes Intérieures) retaining the French registration.

11 April 1975
Ferried to East Midlands Airport, Castle Donington, Leicestershire, England in full Air Inter livery.

12 April 1975
Entered service on a charter to Collinstown Airport, Dublin, Ireland still using the French registration.

Alidair titles were applied to the Air Inter livery but with a plain white tail.

1 May 1975
Purchased from Air Inter while still on lease.

16 May 1975
Noted with a dark band across the previously plain white tail.

29 July 1975
Re-registered G-ARBY.


Photo of Alidair Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

July 1975 to October 1975

Alidair

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

29 July 1975
Re-registered from F-BOEC.

8 August 1975
Rolled out in full Alidair livery.

10 August 1975
First service for Alidair.

2 September 1975
Ferried to Dyce Airport, Aberdeen, Scotland for North Sea oil contract work.

26 October 1975
Leased to Dan-Air London.


Photo of Dan-Air London Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

October 1975 to December 1975

Dan-Air London

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

26 October 1975
Leased from Alidair in Alidair livery with Dan-Air London titles.

1 November 1975
First service for Dan-Air London on the Ferryfield Airport, Lydd, Kent, England to Beauvais Airport, France route.

9 December 1975
Returned to Alidair.


Photo of Alidair Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

December 1975 to December 1975

Alidair

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

9 December 1975
Returned from Dan-Air London lease.

14 December 1975
Leased to Cyprus Airways.


Photo of Cyprus Airways Ltd Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

December 1975 to March 1976

Cyprus Airways Ltd

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

14 December 1975
Leased from Alidair in Alidair livery with Cyprus Airways titles.

27 March 1976
Returned to Alidair.


Photo of Alidair Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

March 1976 to March 1977

Alidair

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

27 March 1976
Returned from Cyprus Airways lease and 'Alidair Scotland' titles applied.

Based at Dyce Airport, Aberdeen, Scotland for North Sea oil contract work.

1 March 1977
Leased to Dan-Air London.


Photo of Dan-Air London Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

March 1977 to September 1979

Dan-Air London

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

1 March 1977
Leased from Alidair in Alidair livery with Dan-Air London titles.

17 November 1978
Ferried to East Midlands Airport, Castle Donington, Leicestershire, England for renewal of the wing spars, which are limited by the number of landings (cycles) achieved.

30 May 1979
Noted back in service with Alidair Scotland titles applied, but presumably still leased to Dan-Air London.

1 September 1979
Returned to Alidair.


Photo of Alidair Viscount G-ARBY

Country of Registration United Kingdom

September 1979 to December 1982

Alidair

G-ARBY - c/n 10 - a V.708 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

1 September 1979
Returned from Dan-Air London lease and 'Alidair Scotland' titles retained.

17 July 1980
Damaged beyond economic repair after a forced landing south of Ottery St Mary, 6 miles short of Exeter Airport, Devon, England.

Total time 35,122 hours.

Forced landed 10 miles short of Exeter Airport, Devon, England.
Forced landed near< br />Exeter Airport, Devon, England

While operating a non-scheduled passenger charter flight QA7815 from Santander Airport, Northern Spain to Exeter Airport, Devon, England the aircraft ran out of fuel and force landed in a field at Bishops Court Farm, Ottery St Mary, Devon, England. There were no casualties amongst the four crew and 58 passengers on board. The aircraft had been captained by Geoff Whittaker.

20 July 1980
It has now been jacked up and the undercarriage has been lowered in preparation for its removal for further investigation.

The dismantled aircraft was then transported by road to Farnborough Airfield, Hampshire, England for investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Board (AAIB).

A summary of the AAIB - Air Accidents Investigation Board Report 9/1981 written by G C Wilkinson (Chief Inspector of Accidents): -

The Vickers Viscount aircraft was engaged on a passenger charter flight from Santander Airport, Northern Spain to Exeter Airport, Devon, England. The aircraft arrived at Santander Airport 8 minutes ahead of schedule, at 16:22.

The aircraft commander recorded in the Technical Log a fuel state on shut down of 3178 litres and ordered a total fuel load of 5902 litres for the return flight, that is 454 litres less than the figure for full tanks. Whilst the aircraft commander was with the handling agents, the co-pilot supervised the refuelling. He requested a total uplift of 2720 litres and wrote the figures down, showing them to the senior of the two operators of the refuelling vehicle, which was not the one that had refuelled the aircraft on its earlier flight that day. On this previous flight, intermittent contact at the external electrical supply socket caused the aircraft's refuelling valve to open and close intermittently, interrupting the refuelling process.

The refuelling was therefore completed using electrical power from the aircraft batteries. With the aircraft obtaining its electrical power from the same ground power unit as before apparently quite satisfactorily, the operators then refuelled the two sides of the aircraft one after the other, using the same hose each time. When the refueller finished pumping, its indicators recorded a total delivery of 2720 litres and the co-pilot, who had watched the operation, checked the figures and signed the delivery note accordingly. Neither pilot made a physical check of the aircraft's tanks using the dripsticks.

Both fuel contents gauges had a history of defects. A recurrent problem in the port fuel gauge was recorded in the Technical Log as a deferred defect, expressed as 'port fuel contents gauge fluctuating occasionally, ie full scale deflection; rectification being carried forward until the next check'. The starboard gauge also had a defecet. The aircraft commander did not draw the co-pilot's attention to this entry, who remained unaware of it.

Before starting the engines the pilots again set the flow meter totals at zero. The aircraft left Santander, Northern Spain at 17:33 and was shortly afterwards cleared to its planned cruising level of Flight Level 180. The planned flight time was 2 hours and 9 minutes, with an expected fuel consumption of 3375 litres, leaving a reserve of 2527 litres. At 18:46 the aircraft passed over Nantes, France. The flow meters then indicated that 1964 litres had been consumed, which was exactly according to the navigation plan and the crew therefore recorded that at that moment 3320 kgs (4150 litres) remained in the aircraft tanks.

At approximately 19:10 whilst in the area of Dinard, Northern France the fuel contents gauges began to cause them some concern. The port gauge, with various fluctuations, occasionally fell to zero, but sometimes read full. The starboard gauge gave a reading equivalent to 500 litres and continued to fall steadily as the flight progressed. The pilots reviewed the fuel situation and although uneasy, considered that in the light of the recorded uplift and the totals on the flow meters, that they must have ample fuel on board. As the aircraft approached Guernsey, Channel Islands the aircraft commander considered diverting there in order to take on more fuel, but after further thought decided against this action. At 19:28 when the aircraft was between Guernsey and Berry Head, near Brixham, South Devon it received initial descent clearance and shortly afterwards was further cleared to Flight Level 40 on a direct track for the Exeter NDB.

At 19:42 the crew changed frequency to Exeter approach and started to receive radar positioning for runway 26. The cloud was given as one okta at 700 feet, 5 oktas at 1000 feet, and 7 oktas at 2500 feet, with a visibility of 13 kilometres and a surface wind of 280 degrees at 7 knots.

At 19:44 the crew performed the approach checks, which included selecting the flaps to 20 degrees and switching on the fuel heaters. As fuel heat was selected, there was a momentary flash from one of the two low fuel pressure warning lights and after a brief discussion the crew opened the fuel crossfeed cocks, which had been closed since their pre-flight checks at Exeter.

At 19:50 the aircraft was at 2000 feet QFE, just below cloud and about 8 miles from touchdown. The flaps were still at 20 degrees and the undercarriage was retracted. Suddenly both low pressure fuel warning lights illuminated and in rapid succession all four Dart engines lost power. The aircraft commander made an immediate 'Mayday' call to Exeter and at the same time gave a warning to the passengers on the cabin address system. Knowing the local terrain, the commander turned left in the best hope of finding a suitable area for a forced landing. With the flaps still set at 20 degrees, the aircraft descended on a heading of approximately 190 degrees (magnetic) along a small grassy valley studded with trees, the average elevation of which was 130 feet amsl. As the aircraft crossed the boundary of the field, the port wing struck a tree, damaging the underskin and removing the mid section of the port flap. It then touched down with the nose well up, with the stall warning in operation and the control column hard back. The rear of the fuselage struck the ground first and almost simultaneously the port wing struck a tree causing a noticeable yaw to the left as the nose pitched down. Without hitting any further obstructions the aircraft came to rest after 307 metres on a heading of 074 degrees (magnetic).

The crew assisted with the subsequent evacuation, which was orderly and there were no injuries. The total flight time since take-off from Santander had been 2 hrs 20 minutes, with a fuel consumption, according to the flow meters, of 3458 litres. On examination, all fuel tanks were found to be empty.

CAUSE: "The accident was caused by the aircraft running out of fuel due to the crew's erroneous belief that there was sufficient fuel on board to complete the flight. The aircraft's unreliable fuel gauges, the company pilots' method of establishing the total fuel quantity and lack of precise company instructions regarding the use of dripsticks were major contributory factors. Meter indications on the refuelling vehicle at Santander, which cannot have reflected the quantity of fuel delivered, are also considered to have been a probable contributory factor."

After the investigation was completed the remains of the aircraft lay in a nearby compound for several years before it was finally scrapped.


Photo of BEA - British European Airways Viscount G-AOJC

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