G-ATVR

Viscount G-ATVR

Vickers 812 Viscount – c/n 365

With Channel from Jun 1966 to Feb 1972

This particular Viscount arrived at Southend on June 2nd 1966 and just over a week would pass before she made her first, post-delivery flight which occurred on the 10th. During this test flight, she would become the subject of a number of airborne promotional pictures which were taken from accompanying Channel Dove G-ANVU. On the following day, she entered service on an I.T charter to Perpignan after which her first summer with Channel would mostly entail her flying similar services which took her to Barcelona, Genoa, Palma, Perpignan, Rimini, Rome and Valencia among others. As far as winter operations were concerned, these would see her continuing to fly to the Mediterranean while she would also make the odd scheduled trip to Jersey and Rotterdam too. This charter work would inevitably continue into 1967 and she would reopen the Southend to Palma route along with G-AVHK on March 25th.

In April 1967, she headed off on lease to Treffield International, having previously flown a demonstration flight for Hourmont Holidays on their behalf between Gatwick and Cardiff on February 12th, along with Viscount G-ATVE. This aircraft was delivered to Lulsgate on April 1st resplendent in her new Treffield livery, although she wouldn’t go into service until the 27th due to licensing issues. She would eventually be put to work operating from Gatwick, Cardiff and Bristol from where she would fly a small number of domestic routes as well as a full schedule of I.T charters to such destinations as Barcelona, Basle, Bordeaux, Genoa, Ibiza, Lyon, Maastricht, Malta, Milan, Ostend, Palma, Perpignan, Rimini and Valencia. However, operational issues related to a lack of efficient time keeping eventually broke the terms of the contract and these Hourmont services were subsequently transferred to Cambrian at the beginning of June. As a result of this, VR was returned to Channel and resumed services with a trip to Rimini on June 24th.

A busy summer lie ahead for all but one of Channel’s Viscounts and as such, Tango Romeo would become a regular sight at Basle, Maastricht and Milan while she would occasionally turn up at Barcelona, Bordeaux, Genoa, Ibiza, Lyon, Malta, Milan, Ostend, Palma, Perpignan, Rimini and Valencia too. As far as G-ATVR was concerned, 1968 would also see a return to Hourmont services with the Treffield contract for many of these flight having now been taken over by Channel. She would also operate a good number of opening services during the year including Cardiff/Bristol to Alicante on April 28th, Barcelona on May 17th, Ostend on May 29th and Rimini on May 31st, while she would fly the very last flight to Palma on November 3rd 1968. Work for Channel would also see her flying the very first, Liverpool-Castle Donington-Stansted-Southend feeder service on June 17th, while any I.T services would mostly be operated from Stansted.

By 1969, most of the summer charter work had been passed over to Channel’s jets although Viscount Victor Romeo (along with the other, few remaining Viscounts) would still be kept busy flying the well renowned bulb charters to Beauvais and Rotterdam during the spring months. These would be flown on behalf of Clarkson’s and would depart from a good number of British airports, including Glasgow and Edinburgh in the north and Exeter and Southampton in the south and quite naturally, also from Southend. Other routes flown from Southend during this year included a few I.T charters to Maastricht, Gerona and Palma while the scheduled Channel Island, Ostend and Rotterdam routes would continue to be maintained by the Viscounts too. However, 1969 would sadly witness the final year of operations for a good number of these aircraft, although G-ATVR would continue to soldier on into the 1970s. Indeed, one of her first charters upon entering this new decade was to rescue stranded holidaymakers from Ostend and Rotterdam due to a cross-Channel ferry dispute which occurred at the end of March. Otherwise, the 1970 season would see VR operating a reduced number of services to and from Southend which included Channel’s three scheduled services and the only remaining I.T service, namely Southend-Dusseldorf, not to mention a few flights from other airports, including the Stansted-Channel Island route and charter services between Bournemouth-Dusseldorf.

By 1971, services were declining further still although VR would once again start the season with the popular bulb trips to Beauvais and Rotterdam. Summer work would however be limited to an ever dwindling number of flights to Ostend, Rotterdam and the Channel Islands although the odd, rare passenger charter would still be undertaken which included an almost fully loaded private jaunt to Le Bourget on July 27th. In fact, even freight was now being lifted in an attempt to keep the airline in business with three tons of Ford spares being hauled by VR between Southend and Saarbrucken on September 7th. But come September 30th, it was finally Victor Romeo’s turn to face her imminent withdrawal, although unlike the other Channel Viscounts, she was retired at Stansted after a return flight from Jersey via SEN. She would eventually be handed over to the fire service at the airport after Channel’s collapse and would invariably go on to outlive most of the airline’s other Viscounts which had more or less all faced the axe by the time that she was scrapped in May 1980.

 

History of G-ATVR

3/59 – 6/66

Continental Air Lines

6/66 – 2/72

Channel Airways

2/72 to 7/72

Kenneth R. Cork (Receiver)

7/72 to 5/80

Stansted Fire Service

Fate

WFU at SEN 9/71. TFR to Stansted and B/U 5/80

 

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