Viking G-APOR

Vickers 623 Viking C Mk2 – c/n 178

With Tradair from Aug 1958 to Dec 1962

Given Name – ‘Wessex’

G-APOR was the second of the three ex-Queen’s Flight Vikings to be delivered to Southend on the 12th of August from RAF Benson. Having been fitted out with a high density interior during the winter months while being named ‘Wessex’, Oscar Romeo would take to the air again on June 5th 1959 and would then go on to fly her first Tradair service from Southend a week later on June 12th 1959. Indeed, she would be a welcome addition to the fleet and as such, joined the other Vikings on the busy scheduled and I.T charter routes even infrequently using other airports to fly services, a number of which were flown between Manchester and Ostend at the end of July. She would continue to fly without much in the way of a let up until October, one of her last flights of the season involving the return of a group of tourists from Rome to Blackpool, before finally ferrying back to Southend for the winter. Needless to say, she would still make the odd flight over the Christmas period.

The beginning of 1960 would see Oscar Romeo take to the skies again with aplomb and from March onwards, work had again become plentiful for the trusty Vikings. In fact, some days would see individual aircraft making several flights, such as on June 24th when OP flew to Gothenburg and Munich on the same day. While the ex-Queen’s Flight Vikings were mostly reserved for the transportation of passengers, they would from time to time be called upon to haul freight and in July 1960, she made a frenetic series of flights between Glasgow and Belfast, making eleven return trips between the 19th and 20th July. By August, she had returned to the passenger routes and would continue to operate much in the same way as she had done the previous year.

The winter of 1960/61 was once again a reasonably quiet one, but May 15th 1961 would see the addition of yet another new route, the opening of which had previously been put back during 1960. By a twist of fate, Oscar Romeo would end up flying the inaugural Manchester-Southend-Maastricht service when G-APOP went tech after landing at SEN, leaving G-APOR to take up the torch instead. As such, she would eventually go on to fly a considerable number of direct flights between Manchester and Ostend. However, as in the year before, July would bring a welcome change in operations for APOR with a strike at BOAC providing a number of independents with the task of hauling trans-Atlantic passengers between Prestwick and London.

While Tradair’s financial woes had become clearly apparent by the end of 1961, 1962 would still open on a rather optimistic note. Spring charters to the bulb filled fields of Holland kept three Vikings (including OR) busy during April, while new routes were still being opened too with Oscar Romeo inaugurating Tradair’s IT charter service to Clermon Ferrand on May 12th. The summer season would again see a multitude of destinations being serviced although new names would still appear on the schedule from time to time, Luxembourg being a new addition that was visited by OR at the end of August. Even with the onset of October, the aircraft were still in demand and OP would go on to participate in the hauling of post and papers between Exeter and Gatwick due to a rail strike on the 3rd and 4th, while on the 6th she would carry pilgrims from Southend to Tarbes. However, despite this glut of work, Tradair could not be saved and Oscar Romeo would fly her final service from Copenhagen to Southend on November 9th 1962 after which, as the result of a deal struck with the receivers, she would be transferred to Channel Airways approximately 6 weeks later.


History of G-APOR

2/47 to 8/58

RAF King’s Flight as VL247

(TFR to RAF Queen’s Flight 5/52)

8/58 to 12/62

Tradair Ltd

12/62 to 2/65

Channel Airways Ltd


WFU at Southend and later B/U 2/65


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