G-BAVX

Herald G-BAVXa

Handley Page HPR.7 Herald 214 Series – c/n 194

With BAF from Jan 1977 to Nov 1991

Given Name – ‘Timothy Keegan’

Along with Herald G-ASVO, G-BAVX would end up being the second of two, long-term stalwarts of the BAF Herald fleet which came to the airline via the same former owner, namely British Midland. Both aircraft survived well into the early-90s, supporting the Viscounts, many of these having already met their maker while these Herald’s continued to soldier on. It was on January 13th 1977, that Victor X-Ray arrived at Southend, exactly a week after her stable mate VO. Having been stored at East Midlands Airport since September the previous year, she was given a thorough overhaul and a new ‘Bee’ paint job, after which, she went into service flying the scheduled, continental routes and ad-hoc charter flights around the UK, being seen at Coventry and Manchester at home, while Basle and Dusseldorf would become popular, overseas destinations.

By August 17th of this year, VX would find herself heading off on her first lease, in Egypt where she would be the very first BAF Herald to go into Herald G-BAVX AAservice with Nile Valley Aviation, an airline which would continue to lease a good number of these aircraft over the next few years to service their Cairo air-taxi routes. She returned to Southend in April 1978, again being seen at Manchester during this month and as such, began to pop up once again on the various BAF routes such as Basle, Dusseldorf and Paris. Then in April 1980, she would head overseas again, on the first of many leases with Air Algerie, which like Nile Valley, ended up hiring a good number of BAF Heralds to fly their domestic routes. These leases would continue, on and off through to May 1981.

However, much like many of her Herald stable mates, Victor X-Ray seemed destined to spend the next fewG-BAVX May 1983 years working for various companies in North Africa and within a month, she was heading south again, although this time to Libya where she would work the domestic routes for Libyan Arab Airlines until November 1981. She then went back to scheduled services with BAF until June 1982 when she returned to Libya, although this time for Agoco Oil who used her for moving oil workers, supplies and spare parts back and forth between the cities and their oil drilling sites. She arrived back at Southend in August and like many Heralds that were in service at the time, she was temporarily withdrawn from operations and stored on the northern apron, thanks mostly to the arrival of the Viscount fleet which had effectively, put many of these aircraft out of work.

She remained at SEN in her Agoco colours for the duration, although a lease to Aero Turbo of Panama seemed destined to awaken her from her G-BAVX plainslumber. However, the lease fell through and she wouldn’t be reactivated again until the summer of 1983, being seen at both Luton and Basle in August, although still bearing the Agoco tail fin logo. Needless to say, by September, this had been removed and for the next few months she would carry a plain, black and while livery with BAF titles applied to the fuselage only, being seen in Dusseldorf (9/83) and Basle (11/83) bearing such colours. In January 1984, the BAF titles were removed and replaced with those of Dan-Air who used Victor X-Ray to operate winter flights to the Channel Islands, before being returned in March.

After a short stint in the Southend hangar, this Herald emerged in the first of the three, red, white and G-BAVX LBAFblue liveries and for the next year, she went back into regular service for BAF. Scheduled services would again see her turning up in the usual continental destinations while during the summer of 1984, she appeared with British Caledonian titles on the nose and would occasionally fly their Rotterdam services from Gatwick and Manchester. Charters would also be undertaken too with VX turning up in Tours during July with a plane full of pilgrims. Needless to say, it wasn’t long until more leases beckoned, although this time Victor X-Ray would remain in the UK. So, in April, she went off for a stint with Janus Airways flying summer passenger services out of Coventry and Lydd, finally returning to Southend in October.

With Janus getting into financial difficulties during the early part of 1986, Euroair stepped in and took over their services and as a result, hired back G-BAVX EAG-BAVX to mostly maintain their Lydd – Ostend route, although she would be used for other purposes too and could be seen at destinations as far apart as Teesside and Palma during the summer of 1986. In July, she would also wow the crowds at the Badminton Air Day when, while inbound to Bristol with a cabin full of passengers, she made an extremely low pass over the event followed by a couple of circuits before heading off to her destination. Rumour also has it that during the latter months of 1986, G-BAVX would turn up at a number of major airports around the UK to carry out trooping flights to Germany (can anyone confirm this?).

The end of this final lease, would eventually see her being returned to BAF where she would spend the rest of her career with the airline, although during this final period, she would for the most, be confined to cargo services with BasleHerald G-BAVX 1 being one of her most common destinations, The year 1990 would then see her being adorned in ‘Datapost’ titles and as such, she carried out a good deal of work for the post office. Her finally year with BAF saw her flying a mixture of freight charters for Ford to various locations around the UK and for Federal Express between Birmingham and Dublin, while in June another Ford charter would see her flying between Liverpool and Dusseldorf. Finally, in November, she was sold to Channel Express who flew her to Exeter where she would be stored without engines until early 1992. She was then, temporarily reactivated as G-DGLD until December, when she was again WFU. Unfortunately, she would never fly again and in February the following year, she was sold on to the Dart Group who slowly broke her up for spares.

 

History of G-BAVX

1/68 to 4/73

SADIA as PP-SDN

4/73 to 1/77

British Midland Airways as G-BAVX

1/77 to 11/91

BAF

11/91 to 2/93

Channel Express as G-DGLD

2/93 to 1/96

Dart Group PLC

Fate

WFU at Exeter – 12/92 and B/U by 1/96

 

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