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

Vickers Viscount Network

December 2012 Newsletter

Dear Member

The team here at the Vickers Viscount Network would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and welcome you to the December 2012 newsletter. We thank you for your continued support and look forward to hearing from you with your Viscount stories and photos in the coming year.

Christmas TCA Viscount

Image taken from the 1952 issue of the TCA - Trans-Canada Air Lines 'Between Ourselves'

Several new pages and features have been added since our last newsletter. Would you believe that our website now has over 20,000 pages? No wonder we have become regarded as a leading authority on the Viscount.

DR of Congo Flag

of the

It is NOT possible to bring the last 'airworthy' Viscount back to the UK

In our last newsletter we reported on the work that core members Clive Worboys and Jamie Popplewell were doing on a feasibility study to see if it was possible to get the last potentially airworthy Viscount out of Africa and back to England.

Jules Watt, a licensed Viscount engineer recently agreed to make time to go and conduct a feasibility study to see if the condition of V.802 Viscount c/n 170 9Q-COD was suitable for this project to proceed. Unfortunately the news does not look good. He reports:

"Unfortunately the overall condition is not too great, certainly a long way from airworthy. I'm not sure when she last flew (about 4 years ago I think?) but since then very little if any care has been dispensed on maintaining the airframe, engines or systems in any kind of working order."

Viscount c/n 170 9Q-COD is not airworthy

V.802 Viscount c/n 170 9Q-COD is not airworthy

"There were 4 engine intake blanks fitted but otherwise no protection from the elements. The props all rotate freely though all hubs show signs of corrosion. The landing gear is in very poor condition - lots of plant life in each gear bay, which has led to significant corrosion.

All tyres of course are perished so the aircraft is essentially sitting on its rims. The flight deck is complete (unusually, nothing has been pilfered!) but a quick check found most controls to be excessively stiff or seized.

In summary, not what I would call a flyable aeroplane (even by Congolese standards), and I don't think it should be advertised as such. It would be a major project to get her flying again and I dare say for such a project there are better examples in more accessible locations."

Grass was found growing in the undercarriage bays

Grass was found growing in the undercarriage bays

History and photos of Viscount c/n 170 G-AOHV / G-BLNB / G-OPFI / 9Q-COD

We thank Jules for setting aside time to inspect the aircraft on our behalf and for his open account of its condition.

The time has come to think about what other Viscounts there may be in a complete state around the world, which could be put back in the air. Have a look at the two links below to gain an idea of which aircraft may be suitable.

Organisations with complete airframes
Organisations with major Viscount components

If you are aware of any other Viscount, or segment of a Viscount, which qualify for inclusion in the above sections in our website, please let us know.

The question now is what should be done about 9Q-CQD. Vickers Viscount Network co-founder Brian Burrage has informed us that he now proposes to inform the existence of this aircraft to SAA - South African Airways who may well want to add it to their historic collection but only at a fraction of the asking price.

The South African Airways Museum Society

The South African Airways Museum Society has certainly an impressive line-up including two Boeing 747s but they do not have a Viscount, an important aircraft in the history of SAA - South African Airways.

We all no doubt share the regret that the valiant efforts of Vickers Viscount Network core members Jamie Popplewell and Clive Worboys has not produced the hoped for result. Full marks though for trying.

Email Jamie Popplewell and Clive Worboys at

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Introducing Ron MacDonald to the newsletter production team.

It follows that as we grow our organisation that we need to grow our core team and accordingly Ron MacDonald has kindly offered to join our newsletter production team. Welcome aboard Ron. As is the case with many of our followers, Ron comes from a long and successful aviation career. He tells us:

"I learned to fly when I was seventeen on the Tiger Moth at the Montreal Flying Club and soloed after 5½ hours. I’ve been around aircraft all my life. Dad was a Squadron Leader in the RAF, earning a DFC and Bar and also a DFM. I was born in Aberdeen, Scotland but grew up in Heston, England."

Viscount c/n 279 CF-THS

Air Canada V.757 Viscount c/n 279 CF-THS taken at Malton, Canada in May 1965

"In 1946 I went to Canada and became a mechanic as I built up flying hours for a commercial licence. I joined TCA – Trans-Canada Air Lines in 1951 as a DC-3 First Officer and was promoted to Captain five years later serving on the Viscount, DC-8, DC-9 and Lockheed L-1011 Tristar.

In March 1990, at age 60, I retired with 25,000 airline hours plus a 1,000 logged earlier. I became Technical Safety Chairman of the Canadian Airline Pilots’ Association for 6 years and represented IFALPA (International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations) and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) on Annex 14 and Annex 18 for 12 years.

In 1967 I became an aircraft accident investigator, trained by USA USC and assisted on six major accidents and many incidents. I returned to the UK in 1990 and joined the RAeS (Royal Aeronautical Society) in 1993 and became a Fellow in 1995.

I became Chairman of the Flight Operations Group of the RAeS for three terms and was awarded the RAeS silver medal and scroll for my work in aviation safety. I was also given awards by the FAA US ALPA, IFALPA and the Canadian Government for my work in improving aviation safety.

I am also a volunteer at the Brooklands museum in the photo archive section and an honorary member of the Viscount V.800 group where I teach the Viscount team about the cockpit instruments. I flew the Viscounts for TCA/Air Canada for 4,200 hours and enjoyed it very much."

Ron in G-APIM Cockpit

David Bourn and Ron MacDonald (wearing badge) visiting G-APIM at Brooklands

More Newsletters team members please

We would like to add more members to the newsletter production team. Although the organisation is based in England, it does not mean that newsletter team members need be based there. I, Chief Editor Peter Layne, live around the other side of the world in New Zealand.

If you have time available, good editing and English grammar skills, able to work as a team player, are connected to the internet via a good connection, and have a sense of humour, then please contact me at the link below. Sorry but this is purely a 'labour of love' task and no uniforms or remuneration are supplied.

The reward is good feedback from readers. I look forward to hearing from interested people at which time more information on what is involved would be given. Thanking you in advance.

Email Peter Layne at

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V.812 Viscount N251V / G-AVHE is another survivor

Correspondent Manfred Poznanski recently supplied us these photos of the forward fuselage of Viscount c/n 363 N251V / G-AVHE that is displayed on the terminal building spectator roof terrace at Echterdingen, Stuttgart, Germany.

As Brian Burrage comments, "These more recent photos of G-AVHE will update the history of this aircraft relic very nicely". On looking at this Viscount's history page it is apparent that we are missing quite a lot of photos of it various liveries.

Viscount c/n 363 G-AVHE
Viscount c/n 363 G-AVHE
Viscount c/n 363 G-AVHE

History and photos of Viscount c/n 363 N251V / G-AVHE

Please look in your files and see if you can fill in any gaps in the life of Viscount c/n 363. Thank you Manfred for drawing attention to this relic.

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Mistaken identity – V.802 Viscount c/n 152 G-AOJC

We do know about this one but thought readers may be interested in a film sent in a while back by Alan Squires who says;

"A friend tells me that your website says in relation to the above aircraft that in March 1997 ‘The fuselage was broken up for scrap but nose section is believed to be a submerged diving wreck attraction in the Leicestershire area.

There is a flooded quarry which you can see on Google Earth known as Stoney Cove which lies just to the south of the Leicestershire village of Stoney Stanton. Among the wrecks sunk there for divers to explore is this Viscount's cockpit section. It is at a depth of 10 metres.

There are some large and utterly fearless pike in the quarry which sometimes 'double up' as crew in the cockpit. I have not found you a photo of a pike actually in the cockpit, but here is what they look like anyway."

Click on the photo to run the film 'Dive on the Viscount cockpit at Stoney Cove'

Our own newsletter team member Simon Ellwood adds;

"I'm afraid that the mystery runs a little deeper Alan - as a keen diver I can inform you that the underwater cockpit at Stoney is in fact that of ex BMA - British Midland Airways V.814 Viscount c/n 339 G-AWXI and not that of V.802 Viscount c/n 152 G-AOJC.

Viscount G-AWXI was written off in an accident at Heathrow in 1970. There appears to be only one reference to the cockpit of G-AOJC surviving as a submerged diving attraction so I'm beginning to think that it's anecdotal and it no longer exists - unless anyone knows different?"

History and photos of Viscount c/n 152 G-AOJC
History and photos of Viscount c/n 339 D-ANOL / G-AWXI

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Nessa Glass windscreen test – fact or fiction?

Core member Alan Beardmore recalls a story he was told many years ago and wonders if it is fact or fiction. He says;

"During a series of meetings at Brooklands with the Vickers Viscount team over a period of time as Chief Engineer at BMA - British Midland Airways in the 1970s I seem to recall a story I was told about an incident involving the introduction of Nessa Glass windscreens and a demonstration to show the benefits of heated windows re bird strikes.

It goes that an aircraft was positioned in front of a catapult device designed to launch a bird at the pilot’s windscreen at a speed reflecting take-off or around that time. They decide to get a chicken and the company chauffeur was dispatched to get it.

It was loaded and duly fired. The carcass took out the window and the pilot’s seat and radio rack.

The story goes that at the subsequent inquiry it was disclosed that the bird was in fact frozen as no one had thought to tell the chauffeur that it had to be fresh. I wonder if someone can confirm if this story is fact or fiction?"

The Vickers Viscount Network co-founder Brian Burrage, who had heard a similar story, comments;

"There have been various versions of this story, mainly associated with bird strike tests on engine fan blades. Not sure how much truth there is in any of them. Of course, someone might know differently."

Chris Brown and Dick Chester with Viscount c/n 352 G-AZNC

BMA - British Midland Airways engineers Chris Brown and Dick Chester
outside the main hangar at East Midlands Airport, Castle Donnington in July 1974
with Viscount V.813 G-AZNC after the no. 3 engine had been changed.

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French Viscount at the MAM - Midland Air Museum

Readers will recall the curtailment of our planned 2012 get together to visit the former Air Inter V.708 Viscount c/n 35 F-BGNR at MAM - Midland Air Museum, Baginton, Coventry, Warwickshire, England because of the major restoration work that was in progress at the time.

Core member George Stringer recently visited the aircraft and supplied us a series of photographs highlighting the magnificent work that has been taking place in recent weeks.

Although it is early days, plans are being prepared for our May 2013 get together to visit F-BGNR at Coventry. Please watch this space in the new year for further details.

Viscount c/n 35 F-BGNR
Viscount c/n 35 F-BGNR
Viscount c/n 35 F-BGNR

History and photos of Viscount c/n 35 F-BGNR

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Another ex Air Inter Viscount survivor

Recently Xavier Honor sent us more photos of V.724 Viscount c/n 54 F-BMCF that can also be seen on the IAAG - Institute Aéronautique Amaury de la Grange website. He comments;

"The photos show the Viscount being used for maintenance training in March 1976 with the engines still in use, and students trying to give it a clean skin in June 2006 prior to a much needed repaint.

I found these pictures in a dusty box in the school. Apparently these pictures were used to explain security procedures during a engine run-up."

Viscount c/n 54 F-BMCF

The engines being run up at Merville-Calonne, near Lille, France in March 1976,
several months after the aircraft was withdrawn from use.
Viscount c/n 54 F-BMCF

F-BMCF being water blasted in June 2006 by an
engineering student prior to a much needed repaint

History and photos of Viscount c/n 54 CF-TGQ / F-BMCF
IAAG - Institute Aéronautique Amaury de la Grange website

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Viscount kits and postcards available from Allan Taylor in Australia

Core member Allan Taylor advises us that he has the following Viscount kits and postcards available. If you are interested, please make direct contact with him.

"I have the Corgi die-cast model of the BEA - British European Airways V.802 Viscount c/n 157 G-AOHH available for purchase for any reasonable offer. The scale is 1:144 and can be displayed with undercarriage either extended or retracted. It is in 'as new' condition in the original packaging. Approx. size is 19cm long and 20cm wide. Original box is 26 x 26 x 5cms so factor that in to your postage costs.

Also available is the Lincoln International model of BEA - British European Airways V.701 Viscount c/n 4 G-ALWE in original delivery livery. This is an unassembled plastic kit. It is a very old kit as the box says that it was 'Empire Made'. Fuselage length is 21cm and is in mint condition for its age.

In addition, I have postcards of: Mandala V.832 PK-RVP, Air Rhodesia V.782 VP-WAT, Ghana Airways V.838 9G-AAW, Mandala V.838 PK-RVN, Mandala V.816 PK-RVS and BEA V.630 G-AHRF.

There is also a cardboard cut-out model 1:50 scale Austrian Airlines V.803 OE-LAB.

Plastic model kit decal sets: (some have several sets available) Glencoe 1:96 scale V.700 series, Northeast; Air France F-BGNO; Capital N7402; BEA G-AMAV, Mach 1:72 scale V.700 series Capital N7429, BEA G-AMOG.

Note that I can supply various parts from above kits if you have broken pieces on a similar model. Please contact me with your requirements. I may have some excess V.700 Glencoe kits available.

Any reasonable offer for all or any of the above, or will be willing to swap.


For a project that I am working on I need more plastic model kits in 1:72 scale for V.800 series Viscounts. I have lots of decal sets but nothing to put them on. Information on where to obtain them would be useful."

Email Allan Taylor at

Ghana Flag


Where was this photo taken?

Viscount c/n 372 9G-AAW

Ghana Airways V.838 Viscount c/n 372 9G-AAW taken at an unknown location in June 1963.
Note the additional Nigeria Airways titles on the rear fuselage for a joint service
between Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria. Can anyone identify the airport?

History and photos of Viscount c/n 372 9G-AAW / G-BDKZ / PK-RVO / SE-FOZ

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Avoiding confusion

Antoin Daltún recently explained a couple of revised registrations for Aer Lingus aircraft. He notes;

"V.803 Viscount c/n 174 was originally allocated the registration EI-AOK but was changed before it was used to EI-APD because of possible operational confusion with V.808 Viscount c/n 421 EI-AKO.

Ironically Viscount EI-AKO had been EI-AKJ for about 8 months before it was changed to avoid confusion with V.808 Viscount c/n 291 EI-AJK."

In checking the history files for these Viscounts on our website it seems that we are missing photos of several liveries. Have a look at what we have got for these aircraft and see if you can fill in any of the gaps. As always, any help will be gratefully received.

Viscount c/n 372 9G-AAW

Aer Lingus V.808 Viscount c/n 421 EI-AKO taken after being changed from EI-AKJ,
at Ringway, Manchester, England in July 1963.

Currently we do not have any photos of this aircraft while registered EI-AKJ.
Can anyone out there help us out?

History and photos of Viscount c/n 421 EI-AKJ / EI-AKO / D-ADAN / 505 / 9Q-CBT / 9Q-CGM

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New Zealand

Request for photos of NZNAC Viscounts and Friendships

Marshall Woodall writes;

"I wish to obtain NZNAC (New Zealand National Airways Corporation) V.807 Viscount and F-27 Friendship action photos and videos (VHS) at all the major airports they served. They are Palmerston North, Dunedin, Hamilton, Christchurch, Invercargill, Wellington and Auckland and any other airports they visited (Napier, Paraparaumu and Ohakea Ed).

I am interested in any material of either of these two aircraft types taking off, starting up, loading, taxying and landing within New Zealand. Plus any photos and videos from other countries where Viscounts and Friendships were a dominant presence."

Readers who can help Marshall please contact him using the link below. Please also remember to send any Viscount material to us here at the Vickers Viscount Network for inclusion on our website.

Email Marshall Woodall at

Viscount c/n 281 ZK-BRD

NAC V.807 Viscount c/n 281 ZK-BRD taken on a gloomy day at Rongotai, New Zealand
in September 1959, before the airport was officially opened.

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New Zealand

News from the Ferrymead Heritage Park, Christchurch, New Zealand

Core member Denys Jones updates us on the restoration progress on V.807 Viscount c/n 283 ZK-BRF. He reports;

"Here is one of the latest jobs on ZK-BRF, which are the push-in sprung loaded doors from the engine cowls."

Fire Panel

"In the photos they stand out due to the colour combination. There are two openings on the left side of the four engines so there are 16 flaps and then 32 springs, 16 spacers, and 16 shafts mount them and provide the closure.

However, they were simply painted over and so the photo shows what we inherited from a visual perspective. One problem was that the spacers had rusted onto the shafts so I had to cut the shafts to get the assemblies out and now I have to make new ones as I put them back in.

We stripped the flaps to the bare metal, then primed, undercoated, and white coated them. Then one of our guys, who was laid up at home after a leg operation, patiently painted in the lettering with the masking product he uses on the canopies of his model aircraft before he sprays them. Then the red was sprayed and the masking picked out of the letters.

It's also interesting that the lettering on the panels hasn't been stamped or cast but has been engraved, as you can see the rotary marks in it. Our masker painter is an ex printer and he reckons it was done from a large scale master using a pantograph machine, makes sense to me.

I'm sure you'll agree the final result justified the effort. It's also testimony to the steady hand and eye of the masker painter!"

History and photos of Viscount c/n 283 ZK-BRF

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BMA - British Midland Airways Viscount nose leg collapsed at Newquay

Core member Alan Beardmore writes;

"I am currently trying to find information on an incident at Newquay Airport. I believe it could have been 12 March 1974. A BMA - British Midland Airways Viscount, which I cannot identify, landed too fast and high resulting in the nose leg collapsing and the RAF removed it from the runway.

I was Outstation Manager at the time and we had to repair it on a dispersal as the RAF, god bless them, wouldn’t let us go in a hangar. We built a tent around it with scaffold poles and canvas sheets. I know it was just before British Midland Airways handed over the route to Brymon Airways and sold them Heralds."

Core member Richard Stanton commented;

"Alan, you were spot on with the date and location (RAF St Mawgan - Newquay, Cornwall, England). It was BMA - British Midland Airways V.813 Viscount c/n 350 G-AZNA. The ILS approach was faster and steeper than normal. The resulting heavy landing caused the nose wheel undercarriage to collapse rearwards.

Subsequent investigation disclosed that overstressing and shock loads had fractured the nose wheel support structure resulting in failure. There were minor injuries to the crew of 4 and 21 passengers."

Viscount c/n 350 G-AZNA

BMA - British Midland Airways V.813 Viscount c/n 350 G-AZNA
taken at Jersey, Channel Islands on 20 August 1972

History and photos of Viscount c/n 350 ZS-CDX / G-AZNA

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United States

'The Rose' a movie that featured Viscount N200RC

In our August 2012 newsletter we gave considerable coverage to Viscounts being used in the movie industry. Included was the movie 'The Rose'. Newsletter reader Mike Finnegan responded saying;

"One of the members asked about V.798D Viscount c/n 392 N200RC being used in the movie ‘The Rose’. I can confirm that, I was the pilot. I have included a black and white photo of the Viscount painted up as 'The Rose' for the film."

Once again, here is another aircraft for which we lack photographs. Have a look at what we have and if you can help fill in any gaps we will be most appreciative.

Viscount c/n 392 N200RC

Go Transportation Inc. V.798D Viscount c/n 392 N200RC showing off its 'Rose' logo
in about June 1979. On the nose wheel door is written 'If lost, please return
to Rudge Campbell 1345 Avenue … Americas NY NY'

History and photos of Viscount c/n 392 N6598C / N200RC / XA-SCM

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Early de-icing on TCA – Trans-Canada Air Lines Viscounts in Canada

As core member Robert Arnold in Canada continues to explore his massive Viscount collection, more material is coming to light to be shared with us. He notes;

"I thought I would share this piece of photo history from my TCA – Trans-Canada Air Lines collection with you."

Early Dart with segmented anti-icing pads

A very early Rolls-Royce Dart with segmented anti-icing heater pads that look like slots

"This is a nice picture of a very early Rolls-Royce Dart with segmented anti-icing heater pads that look like slots but are not. This design was soon replaced by electrical elements buried under a rubberised coating, manufactured by Dunlop. It is not a TCA photo for sure, and I have seen other photos with this series of numbers. I will see what I can find out including identifying the aircraft.

Below are a couple of photos of the replacement and more familiar Rolls-Royce Dart inlet."

Icing Tests #1
Icing Tests #1

"These photos are labelled on the back as 'Napier De-Icing, R.R. Dart Intake, Mechanical Spraying'. Any ideas as to who took the photos, maybe Napier!"

Brian Burrage responded;

"These two photos show the later cowling design that effectively went virtually unchanged right through the Dart lifespan.

Napier made aero engines and I wasn't aware that they were involved in the Dart air intake cowling. I suspect that Dunlop may have taken them over at some point. The rig seems to be feeding in wire, which may well be the electrical heating elements.

Interesting stuff."

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NWAN - North West Air News forum

Newsletter reader Chris Hall reports;

"Just to let you know, a nice selection of Viscount photographs have appeared on the North West Air News forum which apparently have been in the Merseyside Aviation Society collection for many years. Have a look at the following link:"

Thanks Chris, we like to be kept informed on other Viscount material out there.

NWAN - North West Air News forum

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TCA - Trans-Canada Air Lines / Air Canada - 75th anniversary

Thanks to core member Ron Rhodes, our attention is drawn to the TCA - Trans-Canada Air Lines / Air Canada 75th anniversary website. He observes;

"This website is very nice, but not so easy to navigate. Try it out, I am sure many of you will love it!"

TCA - Trans-Canada Air Lines / Air Canada timeline

Regular Vickers Viscount Network contributor Rod Digney has also drawn attention to the above time line and adds;

"You may or may not know that Canada's National Film Board has been digitising its old films and making them available on its website. Of particular interest to the Viscount community is this 30-minute film called 'Routine Flight' described as follows;

'This documentary short takes you on a tour of Trans-Canada Airlines' maintenance shops in Winnipeg before taking off for a trial flight on the British-built Vickers Viscount airplane, the first propeller-turbine airliner'."

Click on the photo to run the film 'Routine Flight'

National Film Board of Canada website

Rod has also drawn our attention to the on-line anniversary edition of Air Canada's in-flight magazine 'enRoute'.

Air Canada's anniversary edition in-flight magazine 'enRoute'

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The anti 'Strella' missile Viscount modification

Newsletter reader Dale Maxwell gives us information about the heat deflectors fitted to the engine exhausts on Air Zimbabwe Viscounts to try and prevent a 'Strella' surface to air SAM-7 missile from locking on using its heat sensor;

"I was a ground engineer for Air Rhodesia / Air Zimbabwe Rhodesia / Air Zimbabwe from 1974 - 1982 during the height of the bush war in Rhodesia. The anti 'Strella' mods included double walled jet pipe extensions made with a heat resisting inner pipe and a light alloy outer pipe.

Air Zimbabwe V.748D Viscount c/n 100 VP-YNC

Air Zimbabwe V.748D Viscount c/n 100 VP-YNC fitted with the anti 'Strella' mod

The +-50mm annulus between the two pipes allowed for airflow between to reduce the heat signature of the outer pipe. The extensions were about 1.5-2 meters long as I recall. We gave the derogatory name 'dustbins' to these ungainly contraptions, that, together with their attachment mechanisms, they were very prone to vibration cracking.

After some time they were a web of cracks with location holes drilled at the end of the cracks. The whole airframe was painted in a dull matt sand brown coloured paint that was a deterrent to missiles.

Due to oil leaks from the Dart engines, the paint absorbed the oil causing the paint to become locally stained and ‘shinny’. This apparently negated some of the anti missile effect.

Not only did the oil stains reduce missile resistance, but it made the aircraft look terribly old and ‘tired’, like pictures you see of old camouflaged, dirty, oil stained worn out WW2 bombers - not anything like the normal proud and beautiful Air Rhodesia livery.

I was also involved in experimental installations of heat deflector panels over the jet nozzles of our Boeing 720's (P&W JT 3 C engines)."

Air Rhodesia V.782D Viscount c/n 298 VP-WAT

Air Rhodesia V.782D Viscount c/n 298 VP-WAT fitted with the anti 'Strella' mod

Dale's story led to a chain of communication. Brian Burrage commented;

"Thanks for contacting us regarding the Air Rhodesia anti-missile period. Your information is very useful to us. We have struggled to obtain good photos of the heat shield installation, which I guess was a very sensitive subject at the time.

No doubt something exists in the Air Rhodesia photo archive, wherever that might be. The best we have is the zoomed in photo shown above. At least we now know that they weren't just a single skin component. It must have been fun stop-drilling the cracks!"

John May added;

"I flew Viscounts for BMA - British Midland Airways from 1977 to 1980. Most of the Viscounts in the fleet at the time were ex SAA - South African Airways and included the former ZS-CDT 'Blesbok', ZS-CDU 'Bosbok', ZS-CDV 'Waterbok', ZS-CDW 'Rooibok', ZS-CDX 'Wildebees', ZS-CDY 'Gemsbok', and ZS-CDZ 'Hartbees'.

The articles about the Air Rhodesia Viscounts that were shot down by missiles on 3 September 1978 and 12 February 1979 brought back to me the disbelief and shame I felt due to the deafening silence from the UK. As a Viscount pilot, as an airline pilot and as a citizen, I was ashamed that there had been no outcry and condemnation of these atrocious acts.

Local police officers guarding the wreckage of Air Rhodesia V.782D Viscount c/n 297 VP-WAS

Local police officers guarding the wreckage of Air Rhodesia V.782D Viscount c/n 297 VP-WAS

ZIPRA 'soldiers' killed 10 of the 18 survivors of the Hunyani crash. There were no survivors of the second aircraft that was shot down.

The only action that I could take personally was to write to BALPA - British Airline Pilots' Association and express my disbelief and disgust at that organisation's lack of vociferous condemnation. My memory may be inaccurate, but I think that my letter was in fact published in 'The Log'. I resigned from BALPA and did not keep any of 'The Log' magazines.

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The 'Garland Viscount' – a wedding present . . .

The latest information that we have on V.757 Viscount c/n 219 CF-THB is; 'Circa June 2010 noted still in existence in much the same condition with a wooden staging up to the port front door. The surrounding grass is kept neatly mown.'

Core member Jack Stephens has sent in the following update;

"It was in February of that year I last talked to the owner, Don Fyk. He mentioned the following; "The cockpit was gutted in Teulon, Manitoba, Canada having been moved for dismantling at this small town north of Winnipeg. In August 2009, vandals entered the aircraft and did some damage."

Don purchased the aircraft, minus the engines and had it moved to Garland, Manitoba as a wedding present for his sister. That is another story I will leave as a mystery!

So there she sits in a small village, slowly aging, and all that seems to happen is the grass is cut regularly."

Viscount c/n 219 CF-THB

V.757 Viscount c/n 219 CF-THB taken at Garland, Manitoba, Canada
circa June 2010. Apparently the paint on the other side of the
fuselage has worn down to the old TCA livery in places.

History and photos of Viscount c/n 219 CF-THB

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Boyhood memories of Viscounts on the island of Jersey

Jersey man Mike Pitman recently sent in this photo of BEA - British European Airways V.802 Viscount c/n 168 G-AOHT and says;

"It is parked roughly on the spot where the new Jersey passenger terminal now begins. BEA - British European Airways / BA - British Airways had a major Viscount maintenance base here and up to two Viscounts were hangared each night. In order to get the tail in, the nose would be jacked up and the aircraft drawn into the hangar in a rotated position.

The engineers were always happy to let us youngsters into the hangar and I spent many hours on board their Viscounts while they were being worked on.

The other memory which springs to mind is the regular report in the local newspaper stating; 'The high level of noise at the airport last night was due to engine runs on a BEA Viscount.'"

Viscount c/n 168 G-AOHT

BEA - British European Airways V.802 Viscount c/n 168 G-AOHT
at Jersey, Channel Islands on 15 August 1972.
New Zealand Flag

New Zealand

Later in its life and while owned by BAF - British Air Ferries, this Viscount was sent to Auckland, New Zealand on a two year wet lease to the Aqua Avia Society registered as ZK-SKY.

It completed two return trips from Mangere, Auckland to Rongotai, Wellington on 20 and 22 November 1981 flown by Captains M A Watt and M J Castell-Spence, the passengers did not pay for their flights.

The aircraft never entered full service as Air New Zealand placed an objection which was upheld by the New Zealand Airworthiness Authorities. The Aqua Avia Society had argued that their business plan of forming a club with annual membership meant that they weren't charging a fare for flights and were therefore not in competition with Air New Zealand and didn't need to obtain licences for their proposed routes.

The positioning of the aircraft and crews had already been paid for by the Aqua Avia Society together with a deposit, so British Air Ferries reclaimed the aircraft and prepared it for its return to the UK.

Viscount c/n 168 ZK-SKY

Aqua Avia Society V.802 Viscount c/n 168 ZK-SKY
at Mangere, Auckland, New Zealand on the 13 November 1981

History and photos of Viscount c/n 168 G-AOHT / ZK-SKY

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United States

Viscount aromas!

We all recognise those distinctive smells on board aircraft. United States core member Rory Kay started this line of communication, which has drawn comment from around the world with;

"There was a distinctive cabin smell I associate with the Viscount quite clearly. Hard to explain and you all probably think I'm a bit dotty, but I wonder if this question of a unique smell to the cabin is resonating with anyone else? Perhaps it was a cleaning agent that BEA - British European Airways used in the cabin?"

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Australian core member Allan Taylor in Australia responded;

"I agree with you. On all the occasions that I have visited V.756D Viscount c/n 197 VH-TVL, both while in Brisbane and at Toowoomba, I have only got to open the door and it takes me back 40 years. It may be things like cleaning agents as you said, but I think it's more likely due to some of the upholstery materials that are used.

I don't say that all Viscounts necessarily smell the same, but I think that each operator's interior décor has its own 'signature smell', as many cars do. In the case of VH-TVL, it would have to be the interior cabin fabrics as it has no seats and hasn't been cleaned in forty years. I could pick up on that smell straight away even with a blindfold on."

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United States

Rory replied;

"Very interesting. I think you must be correct - it is something to do with the materials used then. I have been in many different aircraft of various vintages, and the Viscount smell is unique. Not leather, but something else. I assume when the Viscounts were built that there was very little in the way of synthetic materials available other than plastic?

Of course the word 'plastic' can cover many different things. I fly modern aircraft that just smell of old food, loos and ‘stuff’ in the galleys etc. when you get in them, hardly a case for nostalgia!"

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Canadian core member Ron Rhodes joined in commenting;

"Wow! There are actually other people out there who remember that Viscount aroma! I thought that I must be a bit crazy to even think of it... but the memory is very strong. Of course I too cannot put my finger on exactly what it was that made it so unique, but honestly, when I see interior shots of the aircraft that smell pops into my head.

When I was on the V.757 Viscount c/n 279 CF-THS at the Western Canada Aviation Museum a few years back... well, I was taken back many years and not only by the sight of that TCA - Trans-Canada Air Lines / Air Canada aircraft.

I have never discussed this with anyone else. I guess you all know why! Thanks for making my day with this!"

Viscount c/n 168 ZK-SKY

Western Canada Aviation Museum V.757 Viscount c/n 279 CF-THS
at the Western Canada Aviation Museum
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Then co-founder Brian Burrage jumped on the bandwagon with;

"I was eleven when I first flew and it was on a BEA Viscount from Heathrow to Amsterdam on a school trip. The cabin smell was very pungent and rubbery and seemed to be coming from the cabin ventilation system as it certainly wasn't a smell that I have experienced since in non-active Viscounts which, by comparison have a nice 'vintage car' type of aroma.

I was airsick as the flight was bumpy and I was nervous but I can still mentally bring back that unique cabin smell. No not the sick! I first went to Canada in a DC-8 in 1970, and to the USA in a Boeing 707 in 1974, but neither of these aircraft had that distinctive smell."

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English core member Julian Bourn then recounted the 2010 Vickers Viscount Network get-together at Duxford with;

"My father always led me to believe that the aroma on the Viscount flight deck was generations of ingrained blood, sweat and tears! (I'm sure he was joking!) The year before last, when he wasn't at all well, I took my father David Bourn to the Vickers Viscount Network get-together at Duxford.

As we walked slowly towards good old 'Whiskey Foxtrot' (an aeroplane he had flown many times as a First Officer with Cambrian Airways between 1966-70) he commented that he doubted that he would recall anything of the aeroplane (he had a minor stroke in 2007, which affects his memory).

As we climbed the steps and got closer to the door we could just detect the faint Viscount aroma a few feet from outside the door and a smile started to form on his lips. As we entered the aeroplane and got the full 'waft' his whole demeanour changed and we were both transported in our minds back to those days of the late 1960s!

There is no doubt that the smell/aroma (whatever you want to call it) of the Viscount is unique and all part of being associated with and the legacy of that wonderful aircraft. G-APIM at Brooklands is just the same, having been part of the BEA Viscount fleet the aromas of 'WF and 'IM are very similar."

Duxford Viscount c/n 5 G-ALWF

Julian Bourn and his father David Bourn in the cockpit
of the Duxford V.701 Viscount c/n 5 G-ALWF

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Last BA Viscounts out of Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland

Newsletter reader Michael Parkins informs us he was the piper on the occasion of the last Viscounts operating out of Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland.

On the 27 and 28 March 1982 BA - British Airways operated special flights from Glasgow to Kirkwall with Viscounts c/n 261 G-AOYL, c/n 262 G-AOYM, c/n 264 G-AOYO and c/n 412 G-APIM, to mark the airline's withdrawal of the type twenty-five years after it had first visited Kirkwall and following twenty years of scheduled services.

Three hundred passengers, many of whom were BA - British Airways air crew and ground crew, past and present, took part in the occasion, which included a celebratory dinner and dance at Kirkwall.

The instigator and chief organiser of this very popular and fondly remembered event was Jack Ridgway, who was to serve for nearly twenty years as BEA - British European Airways and BA - British Airways Station Manager at Kirkwall airport.

Hundreds of spectators watched as the four aircraft departed at lunchtime on Sunday 28 March, each making a low flypast of the airport and the town.

BA - British Airways Viscount c/n 264 G-AOYO

BA - British Airways V.806 Viscount c/n 264 G-AOYO
beating up the 'Old Man of Hoy', Orkney Islands, Scotland
during a BA - British Airways farewell flight on the 27 March 1982

When you think about it, do you as a reader recall events elsewhere that took place to mark the end of local Viscount services? If so, can you provide the name of the location, the date, the aircraft and crew and give a brief account of how it was observed?

It may not be that all those details can be compiled but it does all help paint a history of Viscount aircraft. It will be interesting to see what comes of this particular topic.

'Birmingham Elmdon Airport – Classic Prop Airliners and Aircraft - A pictorial review'

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United States

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UK ex-pat and United States core member Will Blunt has just announced the release of volume 1 of a 10 volume series of the pictorial history of Elmdon, Birmingham Airport, England that tells the story of the airport in photographs from 1949 - 1999.

It is a 52 page hardback classic photo book with 188 colour photos of all prop airliners and third level prop operators mainly in the 1960s. This first book includes several photographs of Viscounts at Elmdon, and more Viscount images will be included in the remainder of the series.

The Birmingham Airport Authority have endorsed Will's book, which he is very pleased about. There is a six month promo price from 1 November 2012 and the book will be mailed out from Texas, USA.

Will adds;

"For more information and to order the book please email me at the address below, or phone me on the USA area code (817) 424 5730. Payment can be accepted via PayPal and discounts are available for multiple book orders.

The 2nd and 3rd volumes 'Vintage Jet Airliners' and 'Vintage Military Aircraft' both in full colour, are expected to be ready soon, with the remaining 7 volumes available in during 2013."

Email Will Blunt at

BEA - British European Airways Viscounts at Elmdon

This photo of two BEA - British European Airways Viscounts taken at Elmdon,
Birmingham, Warwickshire, England in July 1964 is from
the Will Blunt - GlobalAirImage collection

While on the subject of books we have recently added a new feature to our website - 'Books that you may like to read'. This new feature that is available on every page on the grey information bar just beneath the 'Membership details' button, consists of lists of relevant books that have been recommended by our membership. These lists are going to be updated over time and if you have any suggestions we will be happy to hear from you.

Books that you may like to read

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