Aviation Traders ATL.98 Carvair – c/n 2/10311

With CAB/BUAF/BAF from Mar 1962 to Aug 1970

Given Name – ‘Chelsea Bridge’

G-ARSD would come to Aviation Traders via California Eastern, who had stored this aircraft externally in the colours of its previous lessor Resort Airlines, after its return to the airline in 1956. Needless to say on inspecting it, the engineers were not overly enthralled with the condition of the aircraft, however, the decision was taken to purchase it anyway and a couple of weeks were spent getting her ready for flight, before being ferried to Stansted around the 20th July 1961 to undergo conversion. Having already completed Carvair One, the second build went slightly quicker, the Southend built nose being subsequently transferred to Stansted during October and by March 25th 1962, she had taken to the air for the first time.

However, her registration (albeit one letter off) turned out to be rather prophetic and the aircraft began to throw up a number of mechanical and electrical faults from the outset. Even during her certification flight a small number of minor niggles would emerge although these would not be serious enough to warrant the refusal of her CoA. Thus, at the beginning of April, she was summarily passed on to Channel Air Bridge who put her straight into service, flying the very first Carvair services to Geneva (along with G-ANYB) and then inaugurating the second route to Basle over the next few days. A third ‘deep penetration’ route would be added at the end of May and as such, she would begin to fly to Strasbourg in June.

With the advent of 1963 came another shake-up within the British United giant and with the acquisition of Silver City Airways at the end of 1962. It was then decided to merge the two car ferry services into one separate entity and a new name emerged, that of British United Air Ferries. Most of its aircraft would receive the new, dark blue striped scheme with G-ARSD being the very first Carvair to do so. As such, nothing much would change service wise and much like her Bristol 170 stable mates, Sierra Delta found herself plying her trade between Southend/Lydd and the Continent on the popular car ferry services. However, a number of interesting charters would come her way, including one where she would be called upon to move a considerable number of armoured cars on behalf of British Forces Germany during 1963.

At the end of 1966, another reorganisation within BUA would see yet one more scheme being applied to a number of its aircraft, however, operations and ownership would remain under the BUAF name. This new sandstone and blue striped scheme would be applied to Carvair G-ARSD only plus a number of the Bristol 170 Superfreighters that remained in its fleet. However, Sierra Delta would not fly in these colours for long and with the permanent withdrawal of the ‘Deep Penetration’ routes at the beginning of February ’67, there was instantly less work and as such, this aircraft would be the only Carvair to fly during the 1967 summer season, after which, she was WFU at Lydd. A short reactivation would see her making a small number of flights for the next name in this hierarchy of airlines, namely BAF, but by the beginning of October she had again been retired to Lydd where she would remain until August 1970 when she was B/U.


History of G-ARSD

3/62 to 1/63

Channel Air Bridge

1/63 to 10/67

British United Air Ferries

10/67 to 8/70

British Air Ferries

(Spares use only)


WFU at Lydd 10/67 and B/U 8/70


Do you have any other, interesting snippets of information about this aircraft or indeed, any pictures that you would like to share? If so, then please contact us on saadinfomail@gmail.com

Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.