Aviation Traders ATL.98 Carvair – c/n 13/3058

With BUAF/BAF from Mar 1964 to Jul 1976

Given Names – ‘Pont d’Avignon’ and ‘Big Bill’

The C-54 that would eventually become Carvair 13 was purchased by Aviation Traders as D-ADAM from Deutsche Luftrederii in Germany. TheCarvair G-ASKN BUAF aircraft itself had been stored in the open at Hamburg for roughly two years and was in exceptionally poor condition, something that ATEL’s engineers quickly discovered to their dismay. In fact, not long after her procurement, some had toyed with the idea of scrapping this aircraft for spares. However, she would eventually become the oldest C-54 to be converted into a Carvair, despite the fact that she had seen such a long period of hard service that had resulted in her rather dilapidated state. Several weeks of remedial work was undertaken in Germany before this aircraft was ready to fly again but finally, she was registered as G-ASKN and then delivered to Stansted on July 25th 1963. While this aircraft demanded a good deal of extra attention, the conversion went quickly and by March 2nd 1964, she had been handed over to BUAF.

Kilo November would not enter service immediately though and she remained idle at Southend for almost a month before entering service. By the beginning of March, she had been fitted with the 3 car, 55 passenger cabin and made her inaugural flight to Ostend on March 26th 1964. Over the Carvair G-ASKN BUAcoming years KN would expand on her destinations taking in all of the cross-Channel services, not to mention the ‘deep penetration’ routes, including Basle where she was frequently seen. Then around the late spring of 1967, she was painted up in the sandstone and blue livery of BUA although only a few months on, this livery would be modified slightly as Richard Goring relates “In August 1967, she was leased to Colin Beale as a flying exhibition hall and for a short time, adopted ‘CB Flying Showcases’ titles and ‘Showcase’ in place of the forward ‘BUA’ and the bird logo. The project was apparently unsuccessful and by 18th October 1967, when I caught her lifting off from Southend, G-ASKN was back in normal BUA colours.”

However by this time, Kilo November had been transferred into the ownership of the re-organised British Air Ferries and while the livery remained,Carvair G-ASKN BAF the recently applied ‘BUA’ titles were again removed and replaced with those of this new entity who continued to fly her in these colours for a time. In one other way, Kilo November was unique amongst the Carvair fleet, being the only aircraft of its type to have initially been constructed with a raised, cabin ceiling which made her extremely useful for the transport of slightly out-sized cargo. One such trip would see her returning Cessna G-ATLN to Southend which had previously been damaged in a storm at Le Torquet. Incidentally, this very aircraft would later go on to become Richard Vandervord’s ‘steed’ during his aerial photo shoot of Carvair N80FA (G-ASDC) which took place prior to the aircraft’s delivery to Falcon Airways in May 1979.

Over the winter of 1968/69, Kilo November was withdrawn from operations at Southend to undergo maintenance and receive the new, two tone blue BAF livery. During this time, her extra seats were also removed and as such she reverted to what was considered to be the standard Carvair, 5 car and Carvair G-ASKN22 passenger layout. Consequently, she was returned to Channel services although the odd lease would occur from time to time including a number of rather curious, hush hush missions that took place on behalf of the British Government, these involving the transport of unknown goods to a remote landing strip in Algeria during the summer months of 1969. In November 1971, Kilo November would eventually be removed from service. With ‘Mike’ Keegan having recently purchased BAF, he looked to re-organising the company which would initially involve the replacement of the Carvairs with CL-44s. However, it soon became evident that Southend was unsuitable for such operations and Keegan decided to retain most of the Carvairs.

So, around 18 months after she had been WFU, Kilo November was returned to service having been overhauled during the winter of 1972 and subsequently started operations again at the end of May 1973. During this time Carvair G-ASKNshe had also been repainted in BAF’s thick stripped livery, while the interior had been improved further with better fixtures and fittings and a sound system for the cabin areas. She continued to fly the Channel routes, ad-hoc freight charters and the temporarily reinstated ‘deep penetration’ Basle service (1975 only) until the beginning of June 1976 by which time, the bottom had dropped completely out of the vehicle ferry operations market. Needless to say, this resulted in a number of these aircraft being either sold off or removed from service. While BAF was not immediately looking to sell Kilo November, Gabon airline SOACO was desperately looking to purchase another Carvair for their fleet and thus in June 1976, the aircraft was sold and Kilo November left Southend for the final time on the 9th of this month.


History of G-ASKN

3/64 to 10/67

British United Air Ferries

10/67 to 6/76

British Air Ferries

6/76 to 5/86

Ste Anonyme de Construction as TR-LWP


WFU and stored at Brazzaville, Congo during 1978 – B/U 5/86


Do you have any other, interesting snippets of information about this aircraft or indeed, any pictures that you would like to share? If so, then please contact us on saadinfomail@gmail.com

Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.