Vickers Viking

BKS Viking

Operated with B.K.S. from Dec 1954 to Dec 1957

While the Vickers Viscount may have held sway over SEN’s apron during the 1980s and early ’90s, it was arguably her predecessor the Vickers Viking that would dominate Southend during the 1950s and early 1960s. In fact, it was B.K.S. Engineering that would more or less ensure, at least for the foreseeable future, that Southend would remain a focal point for most British, European and African Vikings when in March 1956, it purchased all of B.E.A’s remaining spares for more than £1/2 million. While B.K.S retained only a small number of Vikings for a period of three years, they would nevertheless fly a good number of flights from Southend on behalf of the company.

G-AGON

Arrived at Southend on January 27th 1955, although unlike the other B.K.S. Vikings, this particular aircraft would not receive a name. In fact, this early production aircraft would perform no commercial flying whatsoever for the airline and by the end of the year, she had been dismantled for spares. She was eventually reduced to little more than a fuselage which in turn was later moved to Croydon some time in the spring of 1956. It was then transported to Tollerton during the summer where it would appear that she was finally scrapped.

G-AIKN

Named “Bert Hinkler” this Viking arrived at Southend during October 1955, although much like Tradair’s G-APO- series Vikings, this aircraft had also been part of the Royal Flight and thus required a good deal of conversion work before she could undertake any operations for the airline. Thus, it wouldn’t be until June 23rd 1956 that she finally entered service on a flight between Southend and Bilbao, this also being the first service to be flown by B.K.S. between these two towns. Along with Viking G-AJJN, she would also take part in the Suez and Hungarian airlifts in November 1956. During her last year of service for B.K.S. she flew a charter between Southend and Hamburg on February 13th and then operated services from both Southend and Newcastle during the summer months.

G-AJBR

Named “Amy Johnson” Bravo Romeo would fly her first service from Southend to Luxembourg on 15th May 1955. She was later taken out of service for a short while after her wing clipped a tree on finals to Southend on a return trip from Palma. However rather than landing at the airport, she diverted to LAP (now Heathrow) where she touched down safely. She was later ferried back to Southend where her repairs were completed and was finally returned to service on October 7th when she set off on a long flight to South Africa having been chartered by Trek Airways. Bravo Romeo would eventually return to Southend just over a month later on November 12th. Unfortunately, she was damaged again at Frankfurt Airport on 16th April 1956 when she ran into a ground power unit while taxiing. Her final flight for B.K.S. came on 30th December 30th 1956 when she flew a charter between Southend and Nice.

G-AJJN

Named “Jim Mollison” this Viking flew the inaugural service for B.K.S. between Southend and Hanover on 19th December loaded with newspapers. Then over the Christmas period of 1954, she flew from SEN to West Germany with B.F.P.O.s and their families. In 1955, she would undertake a number of I.T. charters, flying to Basle on April 14th, Nice on April 28th and Algiers on May 14th. Later in the year, September 2nd would see her flying between Palma and Southend while over the winter months, she would depart on a three week tour of the Mediterranean and Middle East. By March 7th 1956, she was back on the charter routes operating services to Basle, Nice, Palma and Munich all of which continued throughout April and May.

November would then witness both G-AJJN and G-AIKN departing to the Middle East to return British forces who had been operating in this region during the Suez Crisis. At the end of the month another emergency airlift was undertaken by both Vikings, although this time it was Hungarian refugees who were in need of urgent assistance. December 4th then saw JN departing on the one and only B.K.S. flight between Southend and Vienna, after which this service was transferred elsewhere. Her final year with this airline would see Juliet November flying weekly between Southend and Bilbao during the summer of 1957, while regular charters would also be flown to Amsterdam and Dusseldorf.

 

B.K.S. Vickers Viking fleet from 1954 to 1957

G-AGON – 2/55 to 12/55

WFU and used for spares at SEN – Fuselage to Croydon circa 4/56

G-AIKN – 10/55 to 12/57

Sold to Continental Air Services

G-AJBR – 2/55 to 1/57

Sold to Deutsche Flugdienst as D-AHAF

G-AJJN – 12/54 to 12/57

Sold to Continental Air Services

 

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