G-AOHM

Viscount G-AOHM

Vickers 802 Viscount – c/n 162

With BAF/BWA from Feb 1981 to Apr 1999

Given Names – ‘Viscount de L,Isle’ and ‘Sir George Edwards’

For some, Hotel Mike was quite understandably seen as the ‘grandmother’ of BAF’s Viscount fleet, being the oldest and the longest serving of the Southend Viscounts. Arriving at Southend on the 23rd February 1981, within a couple of weeks she was off to Africa on lease to Air Algerie, although Viscount G-AOHM Beeshe still managed to get in a domestic freight flight to Manchester before her departure. She returned to SEN in May ’81 for checks and maintenance and undertook a number of joy flights from the airport before going back on lease in Algeria, this finally expiring in January 1982. The next couple of years would see her flying air tours for her owner on the scheduled routes to the Channel Islands and Dusseldorf from both Southend and Manchester and during 1983, she would spend much of the spring and summer flying newspapers between Manchester and Dublin and passengers between Dublin and Gatwick. This year would also see her making a number of visits to Coventry before heading north to Aberdeen where she would spend the winter months on BAF oil contract work, until being replaced by G-APEX in December.

In January 1984 she headed off on lease again this time with Loganair, although unlike her previous outings, the BAF ‘Bee’ livery remained albeitlogan-visc-g-aohm with the addition of the Loganair name to the aircraft. She would then be put to work flying freight between Glasgow/Edinburgh and Manchester until the beginning of June. She then returned to SEN to be painted in the first, BAF, red white and blue livery before going back into service flying her usual mixture of scheduled and ad-hoc passenger and freight flights from British airports such as Bournemouth, East Midlands, Manchester and Southend to such destinations as Basle, Dublin and Dusseldorf. By the end of 1985, her engines were due for an overhaul and during the winter she was laid up for a short period, not a real inconvenience considering that the charter season was now well and truly over anyway.

In 1986, she was back in the air again and in the continued BAF tradition of naming their aircraft, she took on the name of ‘Sir George Edwards’, the G-AOHM early RWBchief designer of the Vickers Viscount. This naming ceremony was undertaken with great fanfare at Gatwick where it was held in the presence of her namesake and his small delegation after which, Hotel Mike took them on a jaunt along the south coast. Later in the year, Hotel Mike would be seen at the BAe 146 production line facility at Hatfield flying parts and employees in and out of this airfield. The following year would see her visiting the usual BAF destinations although in December 1987, a flight between Heathrow and Eelde would see a slight departure from normal operations.

The year 1988 would witness a return to oil flights with Hotel Mike once again departing for Aberdeen during the latter months where she would join fellow Viscounts Yankee Golf and Yankee Romeo. A numberViscount G-AOHM British of Manchester – Dublin flights would be undertaken in the first few months of 1990 after which, she would go off on a short lease with Manx during April before finally heading back to Aberdeen for the summer. She would of course still fly the odd charter, operating between Hatfield and West Freugh in May to Reims in June and Ostend during July, while the same month Hotel Mike flew golf stars and other V.I.P.s between Leuchars and Heathrow in support of the British Open at St Andrews. Nineteen ninety one was more or less a repeat of the previous year with oil work in the summer and charters either side of this although later in the year Hotel Mike would begin to appear on the scheduled routes, especially to Dusseldorf where she showed up in August.

In 1992, she would fly eels, freight and passengers, the former being transported on May 27th, while the latter two would see her going to work on behalf baf-3rd-rwb-g-aohmof Air UK, flying freight between Stansted and Glasgow and passenger between Stansted and Brussels. Further work in June would include the rescuing of what would have been hydrofoil passengers, when the company’s craft broke down on the route between Jersey and Bournemouth, while freight flights between Dusseldorf and Liverpool were also undertaken on behalf of the Ford Motor Company. Even the end of the year was a busy one for HM with passenger charters being carried out between Birmingham and Guernsey in November while on December 14th, she would again return to Aberdeen to replace Viscount G-APEY.

While Scottish operations would continue well into 1993, Hotel Mike would on occasion find herself flying south from Aberdeen. Such a charter took place on January 29th when this Viscount transported a plane load of Air UK passengers between Aberdeen and Teesside.HM and FI However, major rumblings were afoot at Southend which would in April see a complete reorganisation of the airline and thus HM would be one of the eleven, remaining Viscounts to take on the new British World name. With BAF having moved its nightly turboprop operations to Stansted at the beginning of the year, Hotel Mike became embroiled mostly in contract work on mail services between Glasgow and Stansted although in August 1994, she would fly a few of these services between Stansted and Liverpool. Needless to say, as the years went on the Viscount fleet began to shrink further still and by the beginning of 1996 only six aircraft remained, four of these on the Parcel Force contract (including HM), one in Scotland on oil contracts and the last for ad-hoc passenger flights and charters.

However, the end finally came on 8th January 1998 with Captain Ray Hill bringing this venerable Viscount to a halt for a final time where so many HM SEN 0002Viscounts had previously parked before her. With the exception of the departing delivery flights, this would be the last time that Southend would hear the distinctive whistling sound of four Rolls Royce Dart turboprops singing in unison, while it also hailed an end to more than 40 years of almost uninterrupted service at SEN by the Viscount. Hotel Mike was later towed to the maintenance area at the rear of the airport where she was put into storage with two other Viscounts while awaiting a buyer. A year later in 1999, an interested party finally approached BAF and by the spring, the remaining Viscounts had departed for warmer climes. In Hotel Mike’s case, she went to Malta and then on to South Africa where she was again put into storage for a short period of time. Her last sighting was at N’djamena in Chad where she was damaged either in late 2001 or early 2002 and lacking any evidence to the contrary, it is highly likely that she has was scrapped not long after this incident.

 

History of G-AOHM

6/57 – 4/74

B.E.A

4/74 – 5/80

British Airways

5/80 – 2/81

Stored at Cardiff, Wales

2/81 – 4/99

BAF/BWA

4/99 to 8/99

Airwing 2000

8/99 to 3/01

Interflight Ltd as 3D-OHM

3/01 to ?/03

Transtel

Fate

Wing damaged slightly by errant gunfire from a sleeping guard in early 2002, although she was also spotted with a damaged No.3 prop.

Presumably B/U – N’djamena, Chad circa 2003

 

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