G-BHWT

G-BHWT

Short SD-330-200 – c/n 3049

With BAF from Mar 1987 to Jan 1988

Given Name – ‘St Brelade’

In 1983, BAF acquired Guernsey Airlines which had been part of the ailing Alidair group of companies and over the next few years, took the company to new heights. By 1985, the Channel Island routes flown by this wing of BAF were seeing load factors as high as 80% on many flights, thus more aircraft would be needed and the fleet would continuously be expanded up until 1987, when the airline was finally sold of to Guernsey based Aurigny. This particular SD-330 was delivered to Southend on February 26th 1987 where she was painted up and later entered service in July, flying the Southampton route on behalf of Guernsey, although BAF would also operate such services from the same airport too.

However, by autumn 1987 and with most of the Channel Island routes now redundant, these Short aircraft had become excess to requirements and as a result they were either sold or leased to Fairflight Charters who began to use them on the Luton postal routes. The same would ring true for G-BHWT and she was noticed at Manchester in November 1987 and again at Glasgow during January 1988 in her Guernsey livery although again, bearing no titles, having been leased to Fairflight who continued to operate her on the postal routes until she was involved in a rather serious incident at Southend on January 11th 1988.

On the morning of the 11th, Whiskey Tango was due to make the short trip to Biggin Hill where Fairflight had its base. It had been previously noted on several occasions by flight crew, that there was an issue with the hydraulic system and as such, they had suggested that this be looked into. This fault was attended to at Southend and a service of the hydraulic system seemed to have resolved the issue, with the aircraft making two more flights without problems. However, two days before the incident, a Southend based, BAF engineer noticed a number of irregularities in the hydraulic system, including extremely low pressure in the emergency braking system.

Despite the engineer’s concerns, the decision was taken to ferry the aircraft to Biggin and the flight crew was made aware of the emergency brake issues prior to boarding the aircraft. Just before 1pm on the 11th, the crew began to taxi the aircraft to the runway and having cleared the apron, Whiskey Tango was taxiing past a parked Viscount when one of the pilots selected 4 degrees of flap. Almost immediately, the steering gear failed and the aircraft swung violently to port, making a 180 degree turn and slammed into the Viscount more or less head on. The right propeller tore into the cockpit of the Viscount while the SD-330 sustained a twisted wing and a considerable amount of buckling to the fuselage due to the impact. The damage was considered uneconomical to repair and after the AAIB investigation had concluded, the aircraft was scrapped.

Full AAIB Accident Report

 

History of G-BHWT

7/80 to 2/87

Mississippi Valley Aviation/Air Wisconsin as N333MV

2/87 to 3/87

Fokker Aircraft USA

3/87 to 1/88

British Air Ferries as G-BHWT

Fate

DBER after colliding with Viscount G-APIM at SEN while taxing 11/1/88 – On lease to Fairflight – B/U circa 12/88

 

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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.