Carvair G-APNH

Aviation Traders ATL.98 Carvair – c/n 11/18333

With BUAF/BAF from Jan 1965 to Mar 1971

Given Names – ‘Menai Bridge’

November Hotel had a rather short, if somewhat interesting life which started with a period of service for Southend airline, Air Charter Ltd, this C-54 aircraft later being handed over to ATEL to undergo conversion and eventually ending up with British United. She was also the second of only three Carvairs to be constructed at CarvairSEN as Richard John Goring relates “C-54B G-APNH became Carvair no. 11, although the 12th to be completed, the second of only three at Southend and work progressed intermittently as there was no impending customer. In fact, the project was used to keep some of the workforce gainfully occupied when normal overhauls/repairs of British United and other operator fleets slackened off. Work began in earnest in February 1963 and it was not until April 1964 that she was rolled out of the Flight Shed, substantially complete and in primer finish. Just prior to that, someone had stencilled the unofficial name ‘Pont du Crouch’ below the cockpit windows (the Crouch is a local river well-known to yachting enthusiasts). The name can just be discerned in my photo, taken on April 8th 1964.”

This Carvair was also unique in British service being as she was the only U.K aircraft of her type to fly with two extra fuel tanks, this in essence defining her as a ‘long range’ Carvair. As a result of this, extra fixtures and fittings were added to keep the crew happy during long flights, such as aCarvair G-APNH small galley and a crew sleeping area, although these could be removed as and when required for vehicle ferry services. She was later passed on to British United in the first week of January 1965 and it was here that a number of interesting and in some cases, somewhat clandestine, government contracts began. Having previously flown rocket trips to Woomera, Australia under its former guise of Air Charter, with Tudors and then later C-54’s, BUAF was determined to reclaim this lucrative contract. Thus, a few days after delivery, she departed on a proving flight with a rocket, travelling via the Atlantic route, although by the time she had reached the West Coast of the U.S, the rocket had developed a crack, forcing her return to the U.K.

Unfortunately, it appeared that the Carvair was unsuitable for such work and while she continued to carry out charters for the government to Mediterranean climes, by the summer, she was back at Southend carrying cars and passengers across the Channel. Air FerryHer next jaunt would take her on a sales and demonstration trip to the other side of the world and in an attempt to prove her long range versatility, under lease to ATEL, she flew a load of computer equipment to New Zealand during October and then entered service with SAFE who were at the time, looking for a suitable aircraft to fly loads between the North and South islands. However, once again, the Carvair was deemed unsuitable for such services and SAFE preferred instead to stick with the smaller, slow, yet sturdy Bristol 170. Returning to Southend at the beginning of December 1965, she would then be prepared for the next chapter of her somewhat adventurous career and by the end of the month, (accompanied by G-ASKG) she had departed for Africa in Air Ferry titles, where she would assist in the Rhodesian Crisis, carrying out a multitude of secret, government flights.

By June 1966, November Hotel was back at Southend where she would be overhauled and reconditioned for vehicle ferry service. To reduce weightCarvair G-APNH BUA she was relieved of her two extra fuel tanks and was then painted up in the sandstone and blue BUA livery and temporarily entered service to Ostend, Calais and Rotterdam not long afterwards. However, the onset of 1967 would herald in yet more interesting freight charters which would see her making a rather surreptitious gold bullion flight to Dussledorf during January, while April would see her departing for the Middle East to haul large items of oil drilling equipment around Oman. Later in June, she would be called upon to return a number of crop spraying helicopters to Southend (possibly for A.D.S Aerial?) and in August and September 1967, she became something of a regular visitor to Templehof, Berlin, although the nature of these flights remains unknown.

In October 1967 came yet another shake up within this long hierarchy of airlines and BUAF was reformed as British Air Ferries. November Hotel would then receive her new, BAF livery and from this point on, was used mostly for freight charters, although she could still be converted for Channel services if the demand arose. G-APNH BAFIndeed, the next few years would see her being used to return damaged aircraft to the UK, her large hold being perfect for such tasks. Over the coming years, she would return a Dove from Libya, the wreckage of a BAC 1-11 from Italy and a handful of Pawnees on behalf of Ladi Marmol from the Sudan. Sadly though, November Hotel’s exciting career would be brought to a swift end on March 18th 1971, when the landing on a flight between Southend and Le Torquet resulted in an extremely hard nose impact with the runway which caused the gear to collapse and the front of the aircraft to slam down onto the ground, resulting in a considerable amount of damage to the structure of the lower, forward fuselage. ATEL engineers considered repairs in an attempt to return her to Southend, but ultimately, this was considered uneconomical. November Hotel was then stripped of any useful parts and was later scrapped at Le Torquet, some time during the summer of 1971.


History of G-APNH

1/65 to 10/67

British United Air Ferries

10/67 to 3/71

British Air Ferries


DBR after nose wheel collapse at Le Touquet, France 18/3/71 – B/U during the summer of 1971


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