G-APEY

viscount-g-apey

Vickers 806 Viscount – c/n 382

With BAF/BWA from Apr 1981 to Nov 1997

Given Name – ‘Viscount Shetland’

As with her sister ship G-APEX, Viscount G-APEY would arrive at Southend during the spring of 1981 and while they had both shared very similar pasts, having operated for the same airlines for virtually the same length of time, their futures would be very different indeed. While Echo X-Ray would only spend three short years working for BAF before being permanently withdrawn due to severe corrosion issues, Echo Yankee would in direct contrast, go on to serve with the airline for 16-1/2 years before being one of the last three Viscount to be withdrawn by BAF and the very last to be sold off and go directly into service with another airline, rather than end up in storage at SEN for more than a year before a buyer came forward.

Initially flown in the base colours of British Airways without the titles, Echo Yankee was put onto the traditional BAF routes, appearing at Dusseldorfbaf-occid-visc-g-apey during May. The next year or so would see her operating a number of short leases in North Africa, the first to Occidental Oil which would see her heading out to Libya adorned in this company’s titles for a few weeks, moving workers, consumables and supplies around before returning during mid-August. It would seem that she received the unpopular ‘reverse bee’ livery shortly after her return, after which, she then returned to Africa in October for a two month stint with Air Algerie before again, making her way back to SEN some time around Christmas 1981.

Her third and final lease commenced on February 1st 1982 and she would spend four months again in baf-sirte-visc-g-apeyLibya, although this time with Sirte Oil. From June 1982, she would be based mostly in the UK back on regular services from Southend and Manchester. The year 1983 would see her heading north to take over the oil contract charters that BAF had procured from the now defunct Alidair. Two older 700 series Viscounts used by Alidair subsidiary Guernsey Airlines continued to service the route until Echo Yankee turned up on September 17th to replace one of these aircraft, namely G-ARER, while Viscount Hotel Mike would turn up on the 30th to replace G-ARIR. Needless to say, G-APEY would spend the winter in Scotland and would eventually be replaced by G-AOYI on February 12th 1984.

The next two years would see a return to scheduled and charter services with BAF and after a short period of baf-g-apey-1st-rwbsummer maintenance and the application of the first red, white and blue BAF livery, this aircraft would emerge in August to carry on where she had left off. This Viscount would make a number of trips to Basle during the winter of 1984 and 1985, possibly on ski charters while the spring and summer would see her flying on the shorter, cross-Channel routes to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The season would then culminate in a short lease to Manx between November 7th and 11th before returning to SEN to be stored for the winter. The following year would get off to an extremely short start and as such, G-APEY operated only a small number of services. By the summer, she was in desperate need for a major overhaul which kept her out of service for a time.

Normal services would be resumed however in 1987 with APEY heading north again for several more months on the Aberdeen-Sumburgh route. The summer would then see her back on charters with Jersey receiving a small number of visits during August and September.However, 1988 would see visc-g-apey-virginher engaging on her longest lease to date and a complete livery change. In February of this year, Echo Yankee became the second Viscount to be leased out to Virgin Atlantic although this would be the first to be painted in an all white scheme and red titling. This Viscount would subsequently be put to work flying on Virgin’s route between Luton and Dublin, although the flights themselves would be operated by Irish charter airline Club Air. Financial woes would however, see Club go into administration during October and thus APEY would stand idle over the winter until she was put back into service by Virgin itself. This Viscount was eventually returned to SEN in May 1989.

While Echo Yankee may have been returned to BAF, she would remain in Virgin livery for more than a year,baf-visc-g-apey-3rd-rwb possibly as a result of several very short leased that may have occurred later that year, this Viscount being seen back at Luton during July for example. Otherwise, by September 1990 she was back in the last of BAF’s liveries, having had a busy year on a multitude of charters for other airlines, a few such examples of which include May 30th when APEY flew Jersey European’s route between Bournemouth and the Channel Islands, on June 8th and 11th when she flew for Air UK on their Stansted-Amsterdam route and on June 15th and 18th when she flew between Manchester and Edinburgh for Loganair. This Viscount was also seen operating a charter to Prague during August, although it is unclear who she was operating for.

Operations would continue in much the same vein up until the end of 1991, when she would once again be despatched for a chilly winter on the Scottish oil route. Needless to say, she found herself being pulled away for other work from time to time, such as on November 20th when she flew an Air UK charter between Aberdeen and Stansted and on November 29th, when she flew a plane load of Shell employees to SEN for a couple of days of Christmas shopping in London, flying them back on November 1st. She returned to Southend again at the end of December carrying out several ‘Santa’ trips on the 22nd before making her way north again to Glasgow on the 26th via Londonderry where she dropped off a load of newspapers due to Belfast being shut for the holidays.

Indeed, this newspaper flight would seem to set the scene for 1992 as far as charter work was concerned, with another such flight being flown by Echo Yankee between Newcastle and Aldergrove on January 18th. While the Sumburgh route would take up much of this Viscount’s time up until May, operations from this point onwards would consist of a lot more freighting. For example, on the night of July 6th and 7th, APEY would fly Air Atlantique’s Coventry to Brussels cargo flight due to their DC-6s both being unavailable and then go on to fly another freight charter between Tours and Saarbrucken on the same day. By the autumn, she had once more returned to Scotland to resume oil flights until December 14th when she flew back to Southend to receive a well earned overhaul that would keep her out of service until March 1993, the test flight of which you can see by clicking on the link to Robin J. Pinnock’s video below…

G-APEY Test Flight at Southend

As far as BAF and the Viscount fleet were concerned, 1993 would witness triple whammy of major changes. A few days into the new year, the future of the Viscount fleet at Aberdeen became clear when an ATR-72 turned up to carry out three days of proving flights and as such, this type would eventually go on to replace the much loved Viscounts to vociferous protestations by the oil workers one might add. Then during the following month, BAF transferred all of their night operations to Stansted. Then in April, the biggest change would come in the form of a company shake up and a new name – British World. While most of BAF’s Viscount were being sent off on Parcel Force operations, G-APEY was one of only four Viscounts to be retained, one of only three to receive the actual company name on her fuselage and would be the very first aircraft to use the ‘British World’ callsign, thus laying 26 years of ‘Air Ferry’ usage to rest.

G-APEY Circuit Training at Southend

By now it was becoming clear that the Viscount fleet had little in the way of life left in it and while G-APEY would continue to soldier on with multiple charters and the usual Scottish diversions, by the winter of 1995 and with British World’s two ATR’s due to take over in March 1996, she was slowly but surely becoming redundant. Thus from April 1996, Echo Yankee became one of the prime candidates for a large number of ‘Farewell Flights’ that would take place up and down the country, while she would also put in a couple of appearances at airshows. Her first jaunt would take members of the Brooklands enthusiasts group for a flypast of Heathrow and Brooklands itself which you can see by clicking on the link below. Commercial flights would of course continue to be undertaken until late October and early November 1997 when a Echo Yankee with all titles and logos removed was reserved primarily for such flights, before finally being sold to Heli-Jet Aviation in December.

G-APEY Farewell Flight to Heathrow & Brooklands

 

History of G-APEY

7/58 to 4/68

B.E.A

4/68 to 11/70

B.K.S

11/70 to 4/74

TFR to Northeast Airlines

4/74 to 4/81

TFR to British Airways

4/81 – 4/93

British Air Ferries

4/93 – 12/97

British World Airways

12/97 to 9/99

Heli-Jet Aviation

9/99 to 5/01

Interflight – Re-reg as 3C-PBH 11/99

5/01 to 1/03

Air Ogooue as 3D-JAP

1/03 to 3/08

Global Airways – Re-reg as 9Q-CON 1/04

Fate

WFU and for sale at N’djili, Kinshasa, Congo – Likely scrapped although fate ultimately unknown

 

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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.