G-AOHL

Viscount G-AOHL

Vickers 802 Viscount – c/n 161

With BAF/BWA from Feb 1981 to Dec 2001

Starting life as one of the first batch of 800 series Viscounts for BEA, Hotel Lima had given her owner more than 23 years of faithful service before she was finally removed from operations during early 1980. Indeed, as far as British Airways was concerned, turboprops were out and jets were in and thus eventually, the entire Viscount Viscount G-AOHLafleet was withdrawn and stored with a good number of them retiring to its engineering base in Cardiff to be stored. Meanwhile, BAF were looking for a larger alternative to their Herald fleet and eventually, almost 20 ex-BA Viscounts found their way into BAF’s ownership including Hotel Lima. Flying into Southend on February 6th 1981 from Wales as flight no. BA9707M, she was immediately withdrawn from service (with rumours persisting of spar corrosion issues) and retaining her British Airways colours, she was initially used by the BAF Engineering School for training before later becoming a seldom used cabin trainer and a source of spares for the rest of the Viscount fleet. Over the years, the airframe was alleviated of more-or-less all useful parts while the cockpit was stripped of its instruments and rumour has it that they were eventually replaced with photographs or cardboard cut-out drawings.

Over the years she was unceremoniously shunted around the airport. She could initially be seen outside the former Jadepoint hangar until being placed upon a brick plinth in front of the old BAF car park. It was during the early 1990s that she settled in her final resting place at the rear of the airport where for more than a decade, she became a familiar part of the SEN skyline. However, with the collapse of BAF at the end of 2001, she found herself without an owner and as such, the aircraft passed into the hands of the airport. By the turn of the century, she was starting to look worse for wear, slowly falling apart and having been stripped of any useful parts for Viscount G-APIM (another, former Southend resident) her life had effectively come to an end. In April 2004, she was finally scrapped, thus bringing a sad end to the Viscount’s almost uninterrupted, 45 year relationship with Southend, although having languished at a Hanningfield scrap merchant for several years, her cockpit survived and is now used as a paintballing hide/obstacle.

 

History of G-AOHL

4/57 – 4/74

BEA

4/74 – 4/80

British Airways

(Stored at Cardiff, Wales – 4/80 to 2/81)

2/81 – 12/01

BAF/BWA

(Never entered service and WFU – 2/81)

Fate

Scrapped at Southend – 5/04

Cockpit still extant as of 2018. Used as a hide at Mayhem Paintball Centre, Essex

 

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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.