May 1955 to January 1958
Capital Airlines (USA)
N7402 - c/n 88 - a V.744 series Viscount
United States registered
This was the 1st V.744 and the 1st Viscount ordered by Capital Airlines.
Originally to be built as a V.701 for BEA – British European Airways Corporation. With agreement of BEA the aircraft was built as a V.744 for Capital Airlines.
Production Aircraft No. 57 - the 57th production V.700 series Viscount built,
was the 21st Viscount fuselage assembled at Hurn, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England,
and the 28th Viscount assembled at Hurn, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
Production Order No. F01/744. Sales Order No. 01/64B. Stock Order No. 37/22B.
28 August 1954
Fuselage assembly commenced at Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
16 October 1954
Fuselage to Erecting Shop 'E' at Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
14 May 1955
First flight from Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
17 May 1955
Handed over to Capital Airlines during a ceremony at Wisley Airfield, Surrey, England in front of 400 guests.
15 June 1955
Delivered to Capital Airlines on lease from Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd with fleet number ‘321’ pending the delivery of a large order of V.745 Viscounts.
Although powered by Rolls-Royce Dart RDa3 Mark 506 engines, this aircraft was fitted with the square tipped propeller more associated with Dart RDa6 Mark 510 engines.
This was the first Viscount to be operated from the USA, preceded by Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA) as the first North American operator with routes into the USA.
During a flight from Washington, DC to Cleveland, Ohio Captain Ernie Barnes and First Officer Jerry Girard were advised by Cleveland Center that there was a USAF Lockheed T-33A jet trainer in the area and that the pilot had declared an emergency having suffered an engine failure. At the time the Viscount was descending to 12,000 feet on approach to Cleveland.
The ATC Center then advised the Capital crew that the jet trainer's radio had now failed. They were then cleared to descend to 4,000 feet which Captain Barnes declined to do until they were sure that they were clear of the jet trainer.
Shortly after this the Capital crew spotted the T-33A which was circling at a higher altitude. They started their descent to 6,000 feet as the T-33A continued to circle above them.
They then saw that both T-33A crew members had ejected and that the T-33A had started to turn and head in their direction.
Captain Barnes turned the Viscount and opened up the engines in order to escape from the T-33A which then crashed in open land 40 miles from Cleveland.
They then made a routine landing at Cleveland but were unimpressed with the USAF crew for putting their Viscount and occupants in mortal danger.
31 January 1958
Returned to Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd.