Viscount G-APZC

Vickers 707 Viscount – c/n 34

With Tradair from Feb 1960 to Dec 1962

Zulu Charlie was one of the first two Viscounts to make Southend their permanent home base arriving at Southend on February 6th 1960, four days prior to the arrival of sister ship ZB. However, she would not make her maiden flight for the airline until the 19th, thus permitting ZB to make the first operational flight by a Southend based Viscount which took place 5 days earlier. ZC’s inaugural flights for Tradair would actually see her operating from Stansted both on the 19th and on March 21st to Rome and Treviso respectively. However, by the beginning of April she was flying charters from Southend, operating to Rome on the 2nd, Le Bourget on the 8th and Copenhagen on the 11th. Indeed every few days afterwards, ZC would be busy hauling passengers back and forth across the Channel, which culminated in a flight to Munich on May 26th.

While work was reasonably plentiful, there was still not enough to keep one Viscount fully operational, let alone two. So, rather than allowing them both to sit idle for days on end, ZC would be leased on a short-term contract to Kuwait Airways, while ZB would remain to fly Tradair’s summer I.T. schedule. Zulu Charlie left on the 1st June carrying 1500kg of essential parts and spares that would likely be required to keep her operational and wouldn’t return back to Southend until July 19th. Needless to say that on her return, she was put straight back into service on I.T. work which included a flight to Nice on the 23rd. The rest of the summer would continue in much the same vein as both ZB and ZC made infrequent but regular I.T. flights to a good number of Continental and Mediterranean destinations. However by September 1960, things were again beginning to wind down and as such, Zulu Charlie was once again dispatched to Kuwait for yet another five week stint in the desert heat.

The winter of 1960 would see little in the way of operations for this Viscount, although on her return to Southend she was used primarily to ply the regular routes between Southend-Jersey, Southend-Tenerife and Southend-Palma, the latter of which was closed for the year by ZC on October 22nd. Other flights did occur, such as on November 14th and January 15th 1961 when ZC flew charters to Amsterdam and Jersey. However, for much of the winter she would stand idle while ZB did most of the work and as such, after flying the aforementioned Jersey service she was pulled into the Tradair engineering facility for an overhaul and spar check and would not fly another revenue service until March 29th 1961, when she made a visit to Rome. In contrast, the first week and last of May would bring a flurry of work for ZC, her being sent to supplement two of the company’s Vikings that were flying trooping flights between Dusseldorf and Belfast, while I.T work would invariably fill in between.

Indeed as with Zulu Bravo, Zulu Charlie would settle into a busy season of I.T flights, with bi-weekly services to Athens being added in May 1961 while the summer would see this Viscount heading off to Berlin, Catania, Munich, Naples, Nice, Palma, Perpignan, Pisa, Rimini, Treviso and Zagreb at weekends with the odd charter and some sub-contracting work for the national airlines being undertaken during the week. Mid-July became a particularly hectic time for ZC, her being sent to Prestwick to haul passengers back and forth to Manchester and Heathrow due to an industrial strike at BOAC. Yet despite all this work, financially the airline was beginning to flounder with debts that had reached £160,000 (much of it for fuel) and by November 1961, Tradair’s creditors Barclays had called in the receivers to either put things in order or wind the airline up within a year. As such, both Viscounts were removed from service and put on the market although initially, they did not sell.

The two Viscounts sat forlorn and unused for many months although ZC would eventually gain a reprieve at the end of June 1962 when she was ‘dusted off’ and put into service flying a number of internal domestic flights within Germany on behalf of BEA, this contract having been secured by the receiver who still retained some hope of saving the airline or at least selling it on as a going concern. This Viscount would remain in this role until October 7th 1962 when ZB was sent to replace her for the last few weeks of the contract and she flew back to Southend for a period of servicing and maintenance. Yet despite this last minute surge of work, it was not enough to save Tradair and Viscount Zulu Charlie would never fly again for the airline. However, she would remain at Southend and with the winding up of Tradair, its equipment and other remaining assets would be transferred to Channel Airways with whom ZC would take to the skies for in April 1963.


History of G-APZC

4/54 to 2/60

Aer Lingus as EI-AGI

2/60 to 12/63

Tradair Ltd as G-APZC

12/63 to 1/70

Channel Airways Ltd


WFU at SEN 9/68 and later B/U during 1/70


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