G-AVHE

Viscount G-AVHE

Vickers 812 Viscount – c/n 363

With Channel from Feb 1967 to Feb 1972

Initially designated the registration G-AVGY, this particular Viscount was purchased in December 1966, but would not put in an appearance at SEN until February 13th 1967. It would be almost another month until she would take to the air again as G-AVHE, making a short, test flight on March 10th, followed by her first revenue flight six days later on a trip to Rotterdam. However, a technical problem forced her to turn back and it wouldn’t be until the following day, that she finally managed to reach Rotterdam without any issues. The year 1967 would seem to have been one of Channel’s best for charter services from Southend, with the Viscounts flying to a multitude of locations around Europe and even on occasion to North Africa. Hotel Echo would fly a glut of these services and opened the route to Ibiza on May 25th and later in the year to ‘winter sun’ destinations operating the inaugural service to Genoa on December 23rd. She would also open services on the domestic front too and as such, began services between Hurn and the Channel Islands on June 14th 1967.

However, 1968 would see Hotel Echo going off to Air Ferry on lease (along with November Juliet), departing for Manston on January 11th where she would be put into service operating a large number of I.T charters from Gatwick, Manchester, Manston and Newcastle to many European destinations on behalf of Leroy and Lyons Tours. These two Viscounts would also fly night charters between Bristol and Perpignon and of course, a number of flights from Southend too. She finally returned to Southend on October 30th and with the summer season now well and truly over, she was temporarily withdrawn and put into open storage until the following spring; not being reactivated again until March 28th 1969 when she was test flown and then entered service again, four days later. With a small number of Viscounts busy on the Scottish Flyer route, Hotel Echo would fly mostly charters during 1969, while on the odd, rare occasion, she would also fly the feeder route between East Midlands and Southend, going on to fly the very last of these services on November 28th.

Rather than being withdrawn for the winter like many of the other Viscounts, HE was reserved to fly the scheduled, 1969/70 winter services between Southend and Ostend/Rotterdam, which were sadly becoming all to infrequent, due to an ever decreasing number of passengers. However, in the early spring, the airline would see something of a temporary respite to its ever dwindling services with a Channel ferry strike making itself evident on March 27th 1970 and in the process, bringing those heady days of the early-60s back to Southend. Hotel Echo and the other Channel aircraft were kept frantically busy operating to Ostend and Rotterdam for several days until the strike ended and things went back to normal. On May 13th, this Viscount would once more head off on lease, this time to Rousseau Aviation in France, albeit for one week only and on the 19th, she flew back to Southend from Dinard. However, her days were now numbered and on May 30th, she flew a charter to Munich and on returning to Southend, was summarily withdrawn from service due to the imminent expiry of her CoA. She languished at SEN until mid-1972 when she was sold for spares and scrapped on site by Alidair during June.

 

History of G-AVHE

11/58 – 12/66

Continental Air Lines

12/66 – 2/72

Channel Airways

2/72 to 5/72

Kenneth R. Cork (Receiver)

Fate

WFU at SEN – 5/70 and later sold to Alidair for spares – B/U – 6/72

 

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