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

Vickers Viscount Network

August 2010 Newsletter

Dear Member

Welcome to the sixth Vickers Viscount Network Newsletter for 2010 - Once in a while we get an e-mail which really spur us to keep the newsletters and the website going. A recent example came from Clive Worboys advising he will be at Duxford on 31 July. "I'm looking forward to meeting you all, and it's bound to be a great day. Since joining the Network, it's been a breath of fresh air to learn the extent to which the Viscount is loved!" Another one is from Matt Long "I have just come across your brilliant website and I'm blown away!" (Refer below).

Although our growing number of readers is spread globally, and come from many walks of life, we do have that common interest in Viscount aircraft and are enthused to see progress by combining our resources to bring together as much of its history together as possible. We may never see a Viscount in the air again so let`s take every opportunity to preserve what aircraft still exist.

The last newsletter prompted some very quick responses to topics which were raised.

'Dart' powered Austin Maestro van

First to respond was Fraser Mckay. Little did we know that the man who built the 'Viscount' van was already one of our readers.

Fraser Mckay Dart powered Austin Maestro van

Says Fraser, "I have the dubious honour of building the Viscount van.

It was something I did in my late teens/early twenties when we had no computer simulators for any aeroplanes, far less than for the one closest to my heart. Indeed even details of the cockpit layout were a challenge with no such thing as the internet. Fortunately a few BAF - British Air Ferries Captains allowed me to spend time in their offices, and Capt Jack Walters managed to get me some pilots' notes which were my prized possession.

It was all made of junk basically, but the warning lights all did what they were supposed to, and the only real bits were the flight system input magnetic indicators which BAF Engineering very kindly gave us from V.802 G-AOHT.

BAF gave us a wonderful day out when we took it to Southend. It was photographed in front of its namesake, G-AOHM. We had a complete tour of the facility and sat in the cockpits of Viscounts G-AOYG, G-APEY and G-BFZL. The highlight was a detail on the Viscount simulator, which for all its age and the fact that it did not move, did a very good job of convincing you otherwise.

The van was all stripped out in the early nineties when the MOT required greater visibility. There was no e-bay then, and one wonders what could be done now with access to the wonderful internet tool. I recently acquired the entire overhead panel, coincidentally also from 'HT, and have the pedestal and emergency coaming panel from G-AZNC.

I've stuck to designing Viscount cockpits for Flight Simulator since then, which is a lot easier, and causes no grief when it comes to an MOT."

Great story, Fraser, thank you for providing us with the primary information as to why it was built and what happened. Not sure that dubious is the right word though!

N J Airways

Associated Products of America Viscount c/n 125 N7427

William Bunney of Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A. comments on Glenn Throwers' photo of Viscount c/n 125 N7427, "Haven't heard of N J Airways, but I worked for Capital Airlines from February 1959 untill the 'merger' with UAL - United Air Lines, and the fuselage and vertical stabilizer sure look like the UAL livery after CAP/UAL got together."

If you look carefully at the photo supplied by Glenn, the gap in the tail flash and also behind the N J Airways title, you will see the name United showing faintly. At this stage that is the only photo we have of this Viscount. Have a look through your albums and see if you have one (or two) we can upload. Considering it flew for at least twelve years there must be more pictures in existence.

A right Royal Place

From a source outside the newsletter readership, Peter Layne recently was contacted by Diana Gardiner who was one of the New Zealand National Airways Corporation hostesses who served on both Royal tour Viscount flights (Thailand 1962) and (British 1963) in New Zealand aboard Viscount c/n 282 ZK-BRE. Her emails were in response to one Peter made to Jim Shaw who was a First Officer on both occasions. As discussed in newsletter five, the search was on to find out where exactly on board the Viscount the Royal Suite was located as it is important for when the time comes to install it on board Viscount c/n 283 ZK-BRF at Ferrymead, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Royal Flight cabin and Natalie Coe on Viscount c/n 282 ZK-BRE

Along with Diana`s comment, "I enjoyed checking out the Vickers Viscount Network and in return have a lovely photo for you from Bernie Poole who was another Royal tour hostess, - that you may already have of course."

We didn't but we now have!. In fact she sent several photos along with the crew briefing papers which have explained and solved a few mysteries. From these papers it appears the suite was located between rows one and five and support staff were located in row six. NAC Viscount row numbers started from the back of the aircraft.

Click here to read the Royal Flight crew briefing sheets.

Royal Flight crew

The Royal Flight crew;- from left to right are Bernie Gardner, F/O Jim Shaw, Natalie Coe (Chief Hostess), Captain Allan Kenning (Chief Pilot), Diana Brabant and F/O Jim Pavitt.

Fathers' Day in New Zealand - A special deal for those looking for something aeronautical

The Illustrated history of New Zealand National Airways Corporation 1947-1978

As a special deal for New Zealand's Fathers' Day, newsletter editor Peter Layne, resident in New Zealand, is making the book he co-authored 'The Illustrated history of New Zealand National Airways Corporation 1947-1978' (normally NZ$79.90 plus p & p) available at a special price of NZ$70.00 INCLUDING p & p for delivery to New Zealand addresses. This deal is for a limited time only.

To take advantage of this special offer, please make out a cheque, drawn on a New Zealand bank account, for NZ$70.00 payable to Peter Layne, attach a clear handwritten address (book recipient's name) and post it to Peter Layne, 110 Taylor Terrace, Tawa, Wellington, 5028, New Zealand.

Do not post the order to the printers. This is an exclusive deal offered only by Peter Layne.

Orders received with payment of NZ$70.00 by 18 September 2010 will be fulfilled with a copy signed by co-author Peter Layne. New Zealand National Airways Corporation had a fleet of 5 Vickers V.807 Viscounts which served the airline magnificently between 1958 and 1975. Have a look at www.nzairlineresearch.co.nz for more details on this 320 page coffee table style book with 500 photographs (many in colour) and illustrations.

WAS - World Aviation Support at Rochford, Southend, Essex, England

Returning to Matt Long, who was mentioned at the beginning of this newsletter with his praise worthy comment, he then continued to introduced himself.

"I'm only 29 years of age, but have been very keen on anything aviation (even more so, old props and anything 'classic'). When I was 15 years old I found some weekend work with WAS - World Aviation Support, based at Southend airport. As I'm sure you already know, World Aviation Support were the maintenance side of BWA - British World Airlines.

I started working there in 1994 and spent almost 3 years on the fleet of Viscounts. My work was just general dogs body work, but to me it was the best job in the world! I spent a lot of time with G-AOHM, G-OPFI and G-APEY. I was given the task of helping one man with any duty he wanted me to do whilst converting G-AOHM into a pure freighter.

BWA - British World Airlines
Viscount c/n 162 G-AOHM
Parcel Force
Viscount c/n 170 G-OPHI
BWA - British World Airlines
Viscount c/n 382 G-APEY


During my time there I was given many jump seat trips on the aircraft and of course I have lots of photos that I hope to upload soon! - Anyway, the reason for my long winded e-mail is that I hold a very fond memory of G-APEY!

I was reading your website with great interested when I found that the aircraft was still in an airworthy state in the Congo (well, I hope she still is anyway as I think the article was from 2008). I'm sorry if my request is in vain, but do you have any more information on the former G-APEY now 9Q-CON I think? - I would be very very grateful!!

I often talk about winning the lottery and flying out to Africa to rescue EY! One can only dream!!

Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards - Matthew."

Global Airways Viscount c/n 382 9Q-CON

Brian Burrage - Vickers Viscount Network co-founder replied:-

"We like your reaction to the website which helps to keep us all going when times are tough, mainly because of all the other things we have to do like, work etc. - As a Dart Overhaul Engineer I knew WAS, BAF and BWA very well and frequently travelled down to Southend during the 80s and 90s to either fix a Dart or just to see how they were doing as part of my product support duties.

Regarding Viscount c/n 382, the former G-APEY, we are really struggling to get any meaningful information on her current condition as well as others on the same continent. As I'm sure you know, any active aircraft can be kept in good shape but an inactive one can deteriorate very quickly especially in the humid climate conditions of the Congo.

The Dart in particular is very sensitive to moisture as the mixture of aluminium, magnesium and steel results in an electrolytic condition with internal corrosion affecting areas like the Compressor and Reduction Gearbox modules. This can quickly result in low power and bearing failures. The airframe fuel system can also be affected by a bacterial build up within the tanks and pipe work which would be expensive to repair.

Like you, if I win the big one on the lottery I would jump at the chance to rescue her but probably only to bring her home for display, as the costs of keeping one flying would be enormous and the UK CAA are not keen, based on my previous discussions with them on the subject.

I, and other Vickers Viscount Network team members, are involved in the maintenance of Viscount c/n 412 G-APIM at Brooklands and it is quite shocking to see how much corrosion has taken hold in some of the hidden areas. I had a lot of time for the maintenance guys at BAF and WAS who were always so enthusiastic in keeping the Viscount fleet going.

Your jump seat rides must have been very interesting. We would be interested in using some of your photos when time permits. I used to travel a lot as part of my job and could have perhaps wangled a trip to N'djili to see what was happening down in darkest Africa but these days I hardly travel at all.

Sorry we can't give you anything more positive at the moment regarding Viscount c/n 382 but you never know what might suddenly appear in an e-mail. If we do, you will be the first to know about it!"

G-AOHL where are you?

What happened to the cockpit of Viscount c/n 161 G-AOHL

Hanningfield Metals Viscount c/n 161 G-AOHL

Less encouraging we recieved this message from Jamie Popplewell on the 1st July:-

"The cockpit of the ex BAF - British Air Ferries 'cabin trainer' G-AOHL use to reside at Hanningfield Metals at Stock, Essex, England. I had photographed it there a couple of years ago. I visited the site yesterday, and was not able to gain access as it was evening. I could not see G-AOHL anywhere so I would presume its either been sold or more likely scrapped.

The only cockpit I could see was possibly the Andover that has also been there for some years."

Air Canada Viscount c/n 301 CF-THJ

Air Canada Viscount c/n 301 CF-THJ

Captain David Robinson (retired) offered to the Network this photo of Air Canada Viscount c/n 301 CF-THJ.

Thank you.

For the benefit of all our readers, we are always happy to consider any photograph you may have available. Many keen aviation photographers will tell you they are always on the look out for something better or for something a little bit different. In the latter case, consider the uniqueness, as with any aircraft, Viscounts did turn up in out of the way locations.

If you have a photo of a Viscount taken at an airport away from its usual network then we would give it due consideration. Although not essential the date of the occurrence would be particularly helpful and as always, please endeavour to name the photographer.

NetLetter - the Air Canada retirees newsletter

Terry Baker, one of our avid followers has kindly let us extract material from the above publication published weekly currently to 5,429 subscribers. The NetLetter, which is free, is open to anyone that wishes to subscribe but is targeted to retired employees of Air Canada, Canadian Airlines and all the other companies that were part of what Air Canada is today.

Thank you Terry. If you would like to subscribe, send an e-mail to news@thenetletter.org.

TCA - Trans-Canada Air Lines Viscount c/n 59 CF-TGV

Extracts from recent issues of NetLetter:-

1955 - September 12th - TCA - Trans-Canada Air Lines fourteenth Viscount c/n 59 CF-TGV, arrived fresh at the S.B.A.C. flying display and exhibition, at Farnborough, Hampshire, England from the Hurn production line to conclude Monday's flying programme, and was expected to demonstrate daily.

Recently, Wally Hasker who is part of the team involved with the refurbishing of the Viscount at the museum, located on the grounds of Victoria International Airport (YYJ), contacted Terry Baker seeking help with locating information regarding the interior of the Viscount as delivered originally.

Several contacts were suggested, and, it seems, the ball is rolling. Here is an e-mail received -

Thanks to you Terry, significant progress has been made by locating the gent who has access to company photo files going back to 1933.

Thanks also to John Roger and Fraser Muir for being so thoughtful in their responses that we now have the master restorer in touch with Brian (Losito).

We have Jim Strang an ex Captain in Ottawa (YOW) who is willing to go to the museum and have a look for anything helpful.

Also the National Executive of Maple Wings are working on our request for the 40 seat Viscount interior.

Again thank you to the good folks who give of their time to keep the family together and do not stint when asked for help.

The Victoria TCA Viscount circa '59 will be better for your willing efforts.

Sincerely, Wallace 'Wally' Hasker - Victoria.

Viscounts in the attic? A plea by Jack Stephens

"As the Canadian researcher for the Vickers Viscount Network I am part of a small international team of Viscount researchers. As volunteers, we are gathering photos, history and personal testimonies on the 444 Viscounts manufactured by Vickers-Armstrongs.

My focus is on the 51 that TCA - Trans-Canada Airlines/Air Canada flew, plus the 3 Transport Canada, and various others, such as the Royal Bank of Canada's aircraft. For the past four years many retired Air Canada individuals from air and ground crews, station managers and ordinary Canadians that love the Viscount, have sent me their photos and stories.

These were sent to the Vickers Viscount Network, and added to the appropriate aircraft's history. Personal stories and testimonies are in the process of being added to the website. Our aim is to have an image of every single aircraft, together with images showing significant moments in each Viscount's history.

TCA - Trans-Canada Air Lines Viscount c/n 55 CF-TGR

We need photos of our Viscounts, so I ask, 'Are there any Viscounts in your attic'. If so could you dig them out and send them to me? You will receive full caption credit for each photo used, and they cannot be downloaded off the website, so they are secure. Any photo, even a poor quality one, is better than not having one at all. Our graphic systems can restore all but the worst image. It may be a photo on the ramp, or an interior shot, all are necessary for a complete history. Some photos just show the tail or the nose, but we can then trace their numbers. Please include place and date, for historical purposes.

Please scan them and send them to me at jack.stephens@vickersviscount.net. Our 'Newsletter Archive' page on the website has scanning details. Perhaps, snail mail would be better for you. If so I promise to make copies and send them back to you as soon as possible. My address is:-

Jack Stephens
198 Arbour Meadows Close, NW
Calgary, AB, T3G 5J3.
Phone: (403) 239-6078

Time marches on and us Viscount veterans are slipping away, so let's preserve the history of this great aircraft. I invite you to see photos of the TCA - Trans-Canada Air Lines/Air Canada Viscounts on our website."

Jack Stephens

Vanguards in the attic? Another plea by Jack Stephens

"My friend and fellow Viscount researcher in the UK, Peter Upton has created the new and only exclusive Vickers Vanguard website. TCA - Trans-Canada Air Lines/Air Canada flew 23 'Mudguards' as they were affectionately called.

The Vickers Vanguard Network

Like the Viscount website, Peter is looking for photos, stories and personal testimonies to complete the history on each aircraft. In Peter's own words and I quote: 'This website is maintained by an aircraft enthusiast on a purely non-commercial basis, and the principal aim is to compile a complete pictorial record of all the liveries worn by each individual aircraft, together with any incidents / accidents that happened to them. I would then donate the entire collection to any interested museum / archive. I should stress that I am not technically minded and have specifically avoided such matters on the website. Thank you'.

All those, who took photos of the aircraft, are asked to see if they have any 'Vanguards In The Attic'. If you do, please go to Peter's home page, at www.vickersvanguard.net and he will guide you through sending your images.

While you are there have a look at the Air Canada aircraft and read the very interesting 'Remembering The Vanguard' by Captain Murray Wallace. This story along with many photos was contributed by Terry Baker."

Jack Stephens for Peter Upton

British Caledonian website

British Caledonian Airways Viscount c/n 266 G-AOYR

We have also heard from Dave Thaxter who is webmaster for the British Caledonian website pitched for its former staff but no doubt of interest to general aviation followers. The site is www.british-caledonian.com which has now been linked to the Vickers Viscount website.

We are keen to encourage Viscount operators websites to our site with the reasons being two-fold. One being to promote the Viscount aircraft and secondly providing opportunities for staff of various airlines to keep in touch with former work colleagues. Dave mentions that their regular e-mail goes out to about 1,500 former BCaler's world-wide.

If you are a former staff member and would like to receive their newsletter then send him an e-mail to EVSWITCH@aol.com.

V.843 Viscount c/n 453 50258 in the China National Aviation Museum

Chinese Air Force Viscount c/n 453 50258

From China we learn from Jonathon Coleman that there is a Viscount V.843 on display at the China National Aviation Museum, about 40km North of Beijing. It is in a sky blue and white livery. He thinks it might have been one of the last Viscounts manufactured.

The aircraft appears to be in nice overall condition, but with some discolouration to the windows. He has taken some photographs and when he goes back to Beijing in a couple of months he could send a picture for the site.

We would look forward to seeing pictures and obtaining any history of the Viscounts operated in China.

More Viscount pictures

Roland Harrison notes another site which has a great selection of Viscount photographs. Certainly worth a visit or two. Thanks Roland. Go to www.bsl-mlh-planes.net.

Viscount Art

A pencil sketch by Mike Machat

Terry Baker has sent in through Jack Stephens a pencil sketch by Mike Machat drawn at Idlewild (J F K) in the early 1960s. It was sourced from the March 1999 issue of 'Horizons'.

What is it?

TCA - Trans-Canada Airlines Viscount c/n 40 CF-TGI

This photo from Jack Stephens provoked quite a bit of interest as there is an identical image in the Photographic Library at Brooklands in England. Richard Stanton says the 10 x 8 photo has no caption whereas what we see below says it all and solves a longstanding mystery.

The photo of TCA - Trans-Canada Airlines first Viscount c/n 40 CF-TGI was taken at Weybridge, Surrey, England May 1954 while being prepared for pressurisation tests.

CAA - Central African Airways Slipper Tanks

CAA - Central African Airways Viscount c/n 100 VP-YNC

Kelvin Osborne was interested to read about CAA - Central African Airways. He reports, 'I was an apprentice at Saunders Roe who built all the Viscount wing sets, and during my time in the Planning Office, under instruction from a Harry Harvey, planned the manufacture of the 'overload tank pickups'. In other words the four brackets for the slipper tanks mentioned.

They were Inner and Outer, Port and Starboard, all very similar in size and shape, and to keep the tooling costs down I was instructed to have them made with a lot of common jigs etc. In the course of this I got the number of tools and jigs down from about sixty to under forty, and saved 17% in expensive Duralumin in the bargain.

As I said above, I was under instruction, but on writing to Vickers to tell them of the saving, Harry Harvey credited me with the idea. Giving me the Kudos left a lasting impression on me.'

Thank you Kelvin.

Where on Earth are you?

Many interesting e-mails come in from around the world. Often these are just signed off with only a name but it may not be readily apparent as to where the sender is based. We would like to know; not to be nosey but to get an idea where the membership is spread and what areas are active. Sign your e-mail off in the normal way and then just add your location i.e. Christchurch, New Zealand. We would love to make contact with more of our American and Australian based readers.

Editorial and Production Team

Peter Layne - Chief Editor, Wellington, New Zealand.
Ed Jones - Editor, Manchester, England.
Dave Robinson - Production, Nottinghamshire, England.

Photo of BEA - British European Airways Viscount G-AOJC

The Vickers Viscount Network is always interested to hear from anyone who has information or photographs to help complete the story of the Viscount. If you can help please contact us at

Click here for more details about the Vickers Viscount Network

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