G-APKW

Heron G-APKW

De Havilland D.H.114 Heron 1B – c/n 14046

With Channel from Jun 1969 to Feb 1972

This particular Heron was the last of her kind to enter service with Channel, arriving at Southend after a two week overhaul at Leavesden. From the outset, the aircraft was adorned with ‘Air England’ titles although this new entity would never actually get off the ground and effectively remained a paper airline only. Meanwhile, Kilo Whiskey was put to work on Channel’s routes flying her first service on the 3rd of September 1969 and would see out the year spending some time operating on the Portsmouth to Channel Island routes. Little would change with the onset of the 1970 season and for the most, the Herons were confined to the Southend or Portsmouth to Channel Island services. By this time, low passenger numbers at Southend were causing Channel to struggle and Herons were increasingly replacing Viscounts on what were previously, the airline’s premier routes. On February 4th, only 9 passengers turned up for a flight to Jersey and as a result G-APKW replaced Viscount G-AVJL and flew the passengers to the island instead.

By the end of 1970 only two Herons were left in the fleet, these remaining firmly on British soil. However, the following year Kilo Whiskey would see more in the way of variety, undertaking a small number of continental trips and the odd ad-hoc charter. On May 12th 1971, KW took a trip to Berlin ferrying a flight crew while two weeks later, she was selected to carry out pleasure flights for three groups of school children on 40 minute jaunts around the skies of Essex and Kent. By the end of May, normal service had been resumed and she was back in the skies over Norfolk traversing the Norwich-Southend route while on June 1st, Ipswich was added to the schedule with KW flying the year’s first service. She would continue to operate between these towns and cities until October 15th when KW also flew the last service of the year from Ipswich.

With the withdrawal of G-AXFH on the 20th, Kilo Whiskey was the only operational Heron left in the Channel fleet and although the winter would mean little in the way of work for her, she still occasionally flew to Ostend and Rotterdam as and when the need arose. Christmas 1971 saw passenger loads pick up a little with extra flights to Ostend and the Channel Islands although at most other times, KW stood idle at SEN for days on end. As the fateful year of 1972 opened, Channel’s woes were beginning to multiply and a receiver was eventually appointed on February 1st in what would ultimately turn out to be a vain attempt to either rescue the airline or sell it on as a going concern. Needless to say the little Heron flew on regardless, spending much of February making quick hops across the Channel between Southend and Ostend. It would be on this service that Kilo Whiskey would make Channel’s last ever flight on Feb 29th 1972, landing at Southend just a few minutes before 8pm and in the very act of doing so, placed a full stop at the end of the final chapter in the annual of East Anglian’s and Channel Airways’ operational history.

 

History of G-APKW

3/54 to 2/58

PLUNA as CX-AOV

2/58 to 8/59

Eagle Aircraft Services as G-APKW

8/59 to 1/67

Gulf Aviation

1/67 to 6/67

Aerocontacts

6/67 to 2/69

Mid-Fly

2/69 to 6/69

Cogeair as 9Q-CRL

6/69 to 2/72

Channel Airways

(‘Air England’)

2/72 to 5/72

Kenneth R Cork (Receiver)

5/72 to 7/77

Peters Aviation

7/77 to 3/80

Fairflight

3/80 to ?/86

Sky of Siam as HS-EAA

Fate

WFU at Bangkok during 1986. Ultimate fate unknown

 

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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.