Operated from 1900 to 2006

There are undoubtedly very few British people that lived through the 20th century who have not heard of the name Marconi which was for many years, one of the major players in the wireless and later transistor radio markets. This company would also go on to become the world leader in setting up mass communication and broadcasting both in the U.K. and overseas. Starting out in 1897 as the Wireless, Telegraph and Signal Company under the stewardship of Italian inventor and entrepreneur Guglielmo Marconi, the company quickly expanded into a number of other electronics fields such as telecommunications, electrical components, avionics and radar while at the same time, going through a succession of name changes over the years with the Marconi name appearing for the first time in 1900.

Being one of the main pioneers of both radar systems and avionics, it was Marconi that indirectly brought an eclectic mix of rare and not so rare aircraft to Southend for work or upgrades to these systems such as in 1973 when various RAE and RAF fixed wing and rotor craft types descended on SEN to take part in a series of radar tests. However, Marconi aircraft also turned up occasionally to carry out trials, transport in staff, perform demos or even engage in sales drives. One of SEN’s earliest visitors would be Viking G-AHOP (on lease from Airwork) which made numerous visits to the airport in the spring and summer of 1962 carrying out several local flights (possibly on radar calibration tests) while the most unusual visitor would be the company’s Piaggio P.166, this becoming a common sight from the late ’60s to the early ’80s. In 1982, she even spend a short period of time in Southend’s very own Historical Aircraft Museum until being acquired by the Science Museum at Wroughton where she still resides until this very day.


Marconi fleet from 1962 to 1982

Piaggio P.166

G-APWY* – 5/67 to 2/82

To the H.A.M. at Southend


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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.