08 December 2021
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Viscount Survivors


59 of the 444 Viscounts built survive as complete airframes or major components. Some are in very good condition and are looked after by museums while others are just wrecks. They can be found in 24 countries.

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

Viscount c/n 347

Operational Record

Photo of Viscount c/n 347
South African Airways (SAA)


South Africa flag South Africa

This V.813 series Viscount was built for
South African Airways (SAA) as ZS-CDU

It first flew on Tuesday, 14 October 1958 at Hurn, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England powered by Rolls-Royce Dart 525 engines.


During its life this aircraft was also owned and/or operated by
British Midland Airways (BMA) and Cyprus Airways


Photo of Viscount c/n 347
East Midlands Airport Fire Service


England flag England

Its final owner/operator was
East Midlands Airport Fire Service as G-AZLR.

Its fate:-
Withdrawn from BMA service at East Midlands Airport, Castle Donington, Leicestershire, England in June 1982.

Noted minus its tail in August 1982.

Noted minus its outer wings and Rolls-Royce Dart engines and now being used as a cabin services trainer in June 1985.

Fuselage and inner wings transferred to the Airport Fire Service for non-destructive rescue training use circa January 1992.

It was subsequently scrapped in March 1997.


Operational record
Photo of South African Airways (SAA) Viscount ZS-CDU

Country of Registration South Africa

October 1958 to January 1972

South African Airways (SAA)

ZS-CDU - c/n 347 - a V.813 series Viscount
South Africa registered

November 1956
Registered to South African Airways (SAA) / Suid Afrikaanse Lugdiens.

14 October 1958
First flight from Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

The test flights accumulated 15 hours and 35 minutes.

28 October 1958
Departed from Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, Englandon delivery to South African Airways (SAA) named as 'Bosbok'.

Originally it had SAA titles in Afrikaans on the starboard side and English on the port side but this was later changed to various combinations.

29 October 1958
Arrived at Jan Smuts International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa.

29 November 1958
Entered service with SAA.

Delivered to South African Airways (SAA) named as 'Bosbok'.
South African Airways (SAA)
'orange tail' livery

from 1962
Painted in the new SAA 'orange tail' livery which was first introduced on the Boeing 707 in 1960.

January 1969
SAA changed its registration policy and was allocated registration blocks in the ZS-S** range.

Registration ZS-SBU was not taken up as the South African DCA would not allow SAA to change the registrations on its existing Viscount fleet.

This policy was later changed, but came too late for the Viscount fleet as it was nearly time for them to be disposed of.

30 September 1971
Withdrawn from SAA service and stored at Jan Smuts International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Total time 26,499 hours.

1 January 1972
Sold to British Midland Airways (BMA).


Photo of British Midland Airways (BMA) Viscount G-AZLR

Country of Registration United Kingdom

January 1972 to February 1975

British Midland Airways (BMA)

G-AZLR - c/n 347 - a V.813 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

November 1971
BMA Managing Director Michael Bishop discovered that the SAA Viscount fleet was for sale by reading an advertisement in a Flight International weekly magazine during a business trip to Tel Aviv, Israel.

He quickly travelled to Johannesburg with the intention of buying two of the aircraft but was dismayed to find out that SAA were only interested in selling the complete fleet of seven aircraft together with a spares package.

Mike discussed this situation with SAA and made an offer of £98,000 for the aircraft and £37,000 for the spares package.

To his surprise this offer was accepted. He subsequently purchased their Viscount simulator for a further £5,000.

December 1971
Chief Buyer George Morrell, Chief Inspector Tony Topps and Planning Manager Mike Baker travelled out to Johannesburg together with Air Registration Board representative Ray Atwood to finalise things and review the fleet.

4 January 1972
Registered to British Midland Airways (BMA).

7 January 1972
Rolled out at Jan Smuts International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa with the British registration applied to the basic South African Airways (SAA) livery minus titles and fin logo.

18 January 1972
Departed from Jan Smuts International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa on delivery to the UK in company with sister Viscount G-AZLP (C/N 346) (ex SAA ZS-CDT).

Both aircraft stopped at Blantyre, Malawi - Nairobi, Kenya - Khartoum, Sudan - Cairo, Egypt - Benina (Benghazi), Libya - Nice, France en route.

The aircraft was flown by BMA Captain Stevens.

20 January 1972
Arrived at East Midlands Airport, Castle Donington, Leicestershire, England.

6 October 1972
Noted at East Midlands Airport, Castle Donington, Leicestershire, England undergoing lower spar boom replacement work with BMA.

Suffered a landing accident at Elmdon Airport, Birmingham, West Midlands, England 19 January 1973.
Elmdon, Birmingham,
West Midlands, England

19 January 1973
Suffered a landing accident at Birmingham International Airport, Elmdon, West Midlands, England during a positioning flight from Leeds / Bradford Airport, Yeadon, Yorkshire, England.

As the aircraft touched down the port main undercarriage collapsed and the aircraft skidded along the runway and slewed off to the left, onto the grass. The tail of the aircraft was close to the runway which prevented other aircraft from using it. There was no post-crash fire.

Fortunately there were no passengers on board and the two pilots plus a positioning Captain were all unhurt.

After an extensive investigation it was determined that the port undercarriage leg was not properly locked down, which showed up in the cockpit but no blame was attached to the crew as they had noted the unsafe cockpit light and checked the port wing indicator before they landed which showed that it was in the 'safe' position. The mechanical indicator on the port wing had frozen solid overnight at Leeds and broke when the undercarriage was retracted, thus giving false information to the crew.

The aircraft returned to service after repairs, which took approximately two weeks including replacing the two shockloaded Dart engines.

2 February 1975
Leased to Cyprus Airways.


Photo of Cyprus Airways Ltd Viscount G-AZLR

Country of Registration United Kingdom

February 1975 to June 1975

Cyprus Airways Ltd

G-AZLR - c/n 347 - a V.813 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

2 February 1975
Leased from British Midland Airways (BMA) in BMA livery with Cyprus Airways titles and tail logo.

16 June 1975
Returned to British Midland Airways (BMA).


Photo of British Midland Airways (BMA) Viscount G-AZLR

Country of Registration United Kingdom

June 1975 to January 1992

British Midland Airways (BMA)

G-AZLR - c/n 347 - a V.813 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

16 June 1975
Returned from Cyprus Airways lease and intially re-entered BMA service still carrying Cyprus Airways titles and tail logo.

4 September 1975
Re-painted in full BMA livery.

Used as a cabin services trainer.
Used as a cabin
services trainer

June 1982
Withdrawn from service and stored at East Midlands Airport, Castle Donington, Leicestershire, England.

31 August 1982
Noted minus its tail.

June 1985
Noted minus its outer wings and Dart engines being used as a cabin services trainer.

July 1990
Noted moved to a different location beside a hangar.

circa January 1992
Fuselage and inner wings transferred to the East Midlands Airport Fire Service for non-destructive rescue training use.


Photo of East Midlands Airport Fire Service Viscount G-AZLR

Country of Registration United Kingdom

January 1992 to March 1997

East Midlands Airport Fire Service

G-AZLR - c/n 347 - a V.813 series Viscount
United Kingdom registered

circa January 1992
Fuselage and inner wings transferred from British Midland Airways (BMA) for non-destructive rescue training use.

October 1996
Fuselage and inner wings noted parked near a new building construction.

March 1997
Fuselage and inner wings finally scrapped.


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.