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 297

Operational Record

Photo of Viscount c/n 297
United Iranian Airlines


Iran flag Iran

This V.782D series Viscount was built for
United Iranian Airlines as EP-AHA

It first flew on Tuesday, 4 March 1958 at Weybridge, Surrey, England powered by Rolls-Royce Dart 510 engines.


During its life this aircraft was also owned and/or operated by
Iran National Airlines Corporation and Central African Airways (CAA)


Photo of Viscount c/n 297
Air Rhodesia


Rhodesia flag Rhodesia

Its final owner/operator was
Air Rhodesia as VP-WAS.

Its fate:-
Crashed in the Whamira Hills, near Karoi, 16 KM from southern shores of Lake Kariba, Rhodesia after being hit by a surface to air SAM-7 Strella missile fired by anti-government rebels 3 September 1978. A memorial dedicated to all those killed on this aircraft and also those who were killed during the second attack to VP-YND (C/N 101) was unveiled in the gardens of the South African Voortrekker Monument at Pretoria, South Africa 2 September 2012.


Operational record
Photo of United Iranian Airlines Viscount EP-AHA

Country of Registration Iran

March 1958 to February 1962

United Iranian Airlines

EP-AHA - c/n 297 - a V.782D series Viscount
Iran registered

4 March 1958
First flight from Brooklands Airfield, Weybridge, Surrey, England.

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

25 March 1958
Delivered to the Iranian Government for use by United Iranian Airlines.

5 May 1959
Noted at London Airport (later known as Heathrow), Middlesex, England in a revised livery.

24 February 1962
Transferred to Iran National Airlines Corporation (Iranair).


Photo of Iran National Airlines Corporation (Iranair) Viscount EP-AHA

Country of Registration Iran

February 1962 to October 1966

Iran National Airlines Corporation (Iranair)

EP-AHA - c/n 297 - a V.782D series Viscount
Iran registered

24 February 1962
Transferred from United Iranian Airlines.

David Carter illustration of Iran National Airlines Corporation Viscount EP-AHA

Viscount illustrations by David Carter


October 1966
Sold to Central African Airways (CAA).


Photo of Central African Airways (CAA) Viscount VP-WAS

Country of Registration Rhodesia

October 1966 to January 1968

Central African Airways (CAA)

VP-WAS - c/n 297 - a V.782D series Viscount
Rhodesia registered

October 1966
Purchased from Iran National Airlines Corporation and named as 'Hunyani'.

1 January 1968
Transferred to Air Rhodesia due to a corporate name change.


Photo of Air Rhodesia Viscount VP-WAS

Country of Registration Rhodesia

January 1968 to September 1978

Air Rhodesia

VP-WAS - c/n 297 - a V.782D series Viscount
Rhodesia registered

1 January 1968
Transferred from Central African Airways (CAA) due to a corporate name change still named as 'Hunyani'.

Later Air Rhodesia Viscount livery.

28 September 1969
Seen at Bulawayo Airport, Rhodesia flying low with the two starboard Rolls-Royce Dart engines feathered during an airshow. It was being flown by Captain John Heap.

10 February 1975
Noted at Jan Smuts International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa repainted in a new livery and still named as 'Hunyani'.

3 September 1978
Crashed during an emergency forced-landing 16 KM from the southern shores of Lake Kariba.

The aircraft took off from Kariba Airport, Rhodesia on scheduled flight RH825 to Salisbury International Airport, Kentucky, Rhodesia at 17:10. Shortly after takeoff, the starboard wing was hit by a SAM-7 Strella missile. An emergency descent was carried out and the crew tried to make a landing in a large clearing in the bush in the Whamira Hills, near Karoi, 16 KM from the southern shores of Lake Kariba. During the landing the undercarriage struck an irrigation ditch, which cart-wheeled the aircraft and it broke up and caught fire. All 4 crew and 34 of the 52 passengers died in the crash.

Fighters from Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe Peoples Revolution Army (ZIPRA) were held responsible for shooting down the aircraft and later killed 10 of the 18 survivors. The remaining survivors were rescued the next day.

Total time 30,074 hours.

11 November 1978
Captain John Hood, First Officer Garth Beaumont, cabin crew Dulcie Esterhuizen and Brenda Pearson were all posthumously awarded the Pat Judson Trophy and the Meritorious Conduct Medal as part of the Independence Day anniversary award ceremony.

Parents Eric and Ina Hood, Edgar and Joyce Beaumont, Louw and Ann Esterhuizen, Podge and Jacqui Pearson, along with widow Di Hood, all attended the event.

2 September 2012
A memorial dedicated to all those killed in this aircraft and also those who were killed during the second attack to VP-YND (C/N 101) was unveiled in the gardens of the South African Voortrekker Monument at Pretoria, South Africa and then consecrated. A number of family members laid wreaths around the base of the two granite plaques which has rolls of honour listing all the names of those who sadly lost their lives. All the names can be seen in a photo on this aircrafts' gallery.

There are still strong feelings amongst the Rhodesian communities relating to these atrocities and a general consensus of opinion that the then free-world did little to acknowledge or condemn the actions taken by the rebels. At long last there is a fitting tribute to the innocent victims of these events that occurred over thirty years ago. Long may we remember them.

Here is a poem written by Alf Hutchison after the unveiling ceremony: -

THE VISCOUNTS MEMORIAL

Piper’s mournful lament drifts on heat and rising haze, ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘Abide with me’; unto God we gave the praise, The ‘Green and White’ flew at half mast; host Angels bid it blow, Their gentle breath on our dear flag, caused many tears to flow.

Today the Highveld lay silent, a vacuum void of sound, Monument Hill so quiet; baked red parched barren ground, African Camel-thorn Acacia, indigenous to this land, Stand as silent witnesses to Viscounts Memorial grand.

Two Granite stones bear the names of loved ones now passed on, We have promised to remember them in the morn and setting sun, Those who survived Hunyani; troubled families seeking rest, Come to honour the dead; civilians, and Rhodesia’s fighting best.

It stands now to remind the world of the depths that men can sink, Showing man’s inhumanity to man; and just how the evil think. This memorial stands not only to recall Rhodesia’s hurt, or pain, But to remind a once proud nation …we would do it all again.

FURTHER READING

'Viscount Down' - The Complete Story of the Rhodesian Viscount Disasters - by Keith Nell
'Deafening Silence' - An original Michael Short painting of VP-WAS



Photo of BEA - British European Airways Viscount G-AOJC

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