Viscount G-BBDK

Vickers 808 Viscount – c/n 291

With BAF/BWA from Oct 1983 to Mar 1996

Given Name – ‘Viscount Linley’

Having been in storage at Stansted for two years while awaiting delivery to an airline in the US, this ex-Aer Lingus aircraft would instead join the BAF fleet during late 1983. She had previously been modified for work as a freighter Viscount G-BBDK 2when in February 1967, she was sent to Scottish Aviation for the fitting of twin 167 x 225cm cargo doors in the forward section of the aircraft although she still retained the ability to be used as a passenger aircraft. However prior to coming to BAF, her previous owner had used her purely in the cargo role and as a result, BAF completed the work required to turn her into a ‘Freightmaster’ which involved the removal of the rest of her interior to further decrease weight and thus improve her load capacity to 65m³ & 8,500kg while at the same time the windows were covered with thin metal sheeting to protect them from damage. Initially, she started her career adorned in the standard red, white and blue BAF livery although by mid-1989, she had been stripped of her paintwork and operated instead in a smart bare metal finish.

While BAF had at one time or another, three designated freighters in its fleet, Delta Kilo was the only oneBAF freight of the three to have the aforementioned double cargo doors. Needless to say, her extra wide entrance saw her being used on ad-hoc charters which often involved the movement of moderately oversized cargo back and forth across Europe that the other Viscounts could not carry and she frequently flew large items of equipment into Southend for businesses such as the Ford Motor Company in Essex. That said, in August 1984 a break from the monotony of freight runs saw Delta Kilo put in an appearance at the Bournemouth TVS Airshow, although work like this was generally an exception to the rule. Otherwise at the beginning of her BAF career, she would be heavily engaged in freight and newspaper operations to Basle and Dusseldorf amongst other European destinations.

While Delta Kilo would frequently continue to fly to the Continent, from 1987 onwards Heralds would more increasingly take over the Basle route and other Viscounts, the service to Dusseldorf. As a result, she would spend a lot more time on the domestic routes. The nightly weekday and more G-BBDK BWAcommonly the weekend cargo flights would usually involve this Viscount and it was rare indeed to not see her turning up at Southend to operate them. Weekends would invariably involve newspaper flights to Scotland with London papers and then returned to Southend in the early hours, loaded to the gills with bundles of the Daily Record and a few other publications. Indeed, from the late ’80s, through to the early ’90s, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin were the three UK airports that would see the most of this aircraft. In fact, it was at Dublin during October 1989, that she was involved in an incident which involved her tail being clobbered by a Boeing 747. The tail of the withdrawn G-AOYL was removed and dispatched from SEN and she was soon back in the air again. In 1993, she was transferred to British World and her livery was updated accordingly. While the aircraft remained all silver, Delta Kilo was given burgundy ‘Freightmaster’ titling and the ‘Leaping Lion’ logo was added to the aircraft’s tail however, this scheme would not last very long.

Just four months after the reorganisation of the airline, BBDK would find herself being leased to the Post Office and was the same month, painted upViscount G-BBDK 1 in postal red Parcel Force colours. Most of these operations would involve her flying packages to and from Coventry to a number of locations around the Britain However, as with all but one of the Viscounts that had been leased under this contract, her Delta Kilo designation would not last for long and by the following October, she had been re-registered as G-OPFE. The final episode in her service history came in March 1996. She was approaching Dublin Airport on a training flight and somewhat inexplicably landed without having lowered her gear. Needless to say, this wheels up landing shock-loaded all four engines and severely damaged the underside of the aircraft. Consequently, she was considered uneconomical to repair which sadly led to her being broken up later on in the year.


History of G-BBDK

5/58 – 3/73

Aer Lingus as EI-AJK

3/73 – 7/73

Land Sales Development Corporation

7/73 – 4/74

Overseas Aero Leasing

4/74 – 2/80

Air Bridge Carriers

2/80 – 9/83

Southern International Air Transport (WFU and stored at STN pending delivery to the US)

9/83 – 3/96



DBER 3/96 in wheels up landing at Dublin and later B/U


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