11 December 2018
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Established 2005
Vickers Viscount Network
A Virtual Museum dedicated to the Vickers-Armstrongs VC2 Viscount
   

Viscount c/n 91

Operational Record

Photo of Viscount c/n 91
Airwork London Ltd


England flag England

This V.755D series Viscount was built for
Airwork London Ltd as CU-T603

It first flew on Thursday, 26 April 1956 at Weybridge, Surrey, England powered by Rolls-Royce Dart 510 engines.


Photo of Viscount c/n 91
Compania Cubana de Aviación S.A.


Cuba flag Cuba

Its final owner/operator was
Compania Cubana de Aviación S.A. as CU-T603.

Its fate:-
Hijacked by pro-Castro rebels during flight CU495 from Miami International Airport, Florida, USA to Varadero Airport, Northern Cuba.

The aircraft had departed from Miami at 22:00 local time and estimated to arrive at Varadero at 22:49. During the flight, control of the aircraft was taken over by anti-government rebels acting on behalf of Fidel Castro, who requested that the pilots divert to a small airfield near the Preston Sugar Mills, Oriente Province, Cuba which was 600 KM southeast of Varadero and in an area controlled by the rebels.

When the pilots refused to divert, one of the rebels took over control of the plane.

Eventually the flight crew agreed to go to Preston but because of the delay and the extra distance the aircraft ran out of fuel during the final approach and crashed into the sea at Nipe Bay, Cuba.

The airfield, which was close to where Fidel Castro had his base had no runway lighting which severely hampered the landing attempts in the dark.


Operational record
Photo of Airwork London Ltd Viscount G-AOCA

Country of Registration United Kingdom

May 1955 to December 1955

Airwork London Ltd

G-AOCA - c/n 91 - a V.755D series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

17 May 1955
Registered to Airwork London Ltd but not taken up as BOAC objected to their proposed overseas routes as unfair competition.

December 1955
Sold to Compania Cubana de Aviación S.A. during construction but retaining the Airwork London Ltd model designation V.755D.

4 January 1956
UK registration cancelled as aircraft sold abroad.


Photo of Compania Cubana de Aviación S.A. Viscount CU-T603

Country of Registration Cuba

December 1955 to November 1958

Compania Cubana de Aviación S.A.

CU-T603 - c/n 91 - a V.755D series Viscount
Cuba registered

December 1955
This was the 1st V.755 ordered by Compania Cubana de Aviación S.A and was purchased from Airwork Ltd during construction retaining the Airwork London Ltd type designation V.755D.

Production Aircraft No. 112 - the 112th production V.700 series Viscount built,
was the 40th Viscount fuselage assembled at Weybridge, Surrey, England,
and the 38th Viscount assembled at Weybridge, Surrey, England.

Production Order No. F01/755. Sales Order No. 01/72B. Stock Order No. 38/27B.

Purchased from Airwork London Ltd during construction.
Purchased from Airwork London Ltd
during construction

17 September 1955
Fuselage assembly commenced at Weybridge Airfield, Surrey, England.

23 November 1955
Fuselage to Erecting Shop 'E' at Weybridge Airfield, Surrey, England.

26 April 1956
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.

16 May 1956
Delivered to Compania Cubana de Aviación S.A. at Rancho-Boyeros Airport, Havana, Cuba and entered service to replace the Douglas DC4 services to the USA and Canada as well as internal routes.

25 May 1956
Operated the inaugural Viscount service from Rancho-Boyeros Airport, Havana Airport, Cuba to the new airport at Santiago de Cuba which had a longer runway built to allow for the larger aircraft.

1 November 1958
Crashed into the sea at Nipe Bay, Cuba.

Hijacked by pro-Castro rebels during flight CU495 from Miami International Airport, Florida, USA to Varadero Airport, Northern Cuba.

The aircraft had departed from Miami at 22:00 local time and estimated to arrive at Varadero at 22:49. During the flight, control of the aircraft was taken over by anti-government rebels acting on behalf of Fidel Castro, who requested that the pilots divert to a small airfield near the Preston Sugar Mills, Oriente Province, Cuba which was 600 KM southeast of Varadero and in an area controlled by the rebels.

When the pilots refused to divert, one of the rebels took over control of the plane. Eventually the flight crew agreed to go to Preston but because of the delay and the extra distance the aircraft ran out of fuel during the final approach and crashed into the sea at Nipe Bay, Cuba. The airfield, which was close to where Fidel Castro had his base had no runway lighting which severely hampered the landing attempts in the dark. All 4 crew and 13 of the 16 passengers (including the rebels) on board were killed.

This was the first recorded hi-jack of an aircraft anywhere resulting in the deaths of innocent passengers and crew.

Total time 5,016 hours and 4,500 total landings.

FURTHER READING
An NBC Miami report stated that the Cubana Viscount hijacking was the first by an international airline originating on American soil.

Click to read the NBC report



Photo of BEA - British European Airways Viscount G-AOJC

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This website has been designed, built and is maintained by Geoff Blampied, Norwich, Norfolk, England.