Heron G-AXFH

De Havilland D.H.114 Heron 1B – c/n 14022

With Channel from May 1969 to Feb 1972

Purchased primarily to fly Channel’s feeder routes on both its continental and Scottish Flyer services, the Heron fleet would grow considerably during the late ’60s, being cheap, readily available and capable of operating from all of the remaining airfields on its network with grass runways. Foxtrot Hotel arrived at Southend on May 21st 1969 and within three days had gone into service on the Norwich-Castle Donington-Liverpool feeder route which provided a cross country link to the aforementioned Scottish Flyer Viscounts. However, she would only spend a short time on this service, after which G-AXFH moved south for the rest of the season, flying mostly between Portsmouth (later Southampton) and the Channel Islands until being withdrawn for the year on October 20th.

With the permanent withdrawal of the unsuccessful Scottish Flyer route (unofficially in November 1969 and officially at the beginning of 1970), the Herons became somewhat superfluous, leading to the withdrawal of two operational aircraft and the abandonment of two others that had never even entered service. Also, being as all jet operations had been moved to Stansted and Viscount services were being run down at Southend, the remaining two Herons (G-AXFH and G-APKW) were instead put to work on the established feeders and on low traffic services. As far as FH was concerned, 1970 would see her mostly crossing the Channel to Ostend and making infrequent visits to the Channel Islands until again being withdrawn for the winter.

Channel’s last year would see passenger numbers dropping further still, although this Heron would nevertheless have quite a mixed year. Charters to Quimper on April 2nd 1971, Berlin on July 7th (returning on the 9th) and Shannon at the end of July would be intertwined with the occasional return trip to Ostend and an increase in feeder services, bringing in what few passengers there were from Norwich and Ipswich to the waiting Viscounts at Southend. Indeed by this time, about the only services that were still operating were the old favourites of Ostend, Rotterdam and the Channel Islands, while Dusseldorf was the only I.T. charter still being flown from SEN. As 1971 drew to a close, Foxtrot Hotel flew the last ever feeder from Norwich on October 17th and on the following day, she would make her last flight from Southend to Ostend after which she was WFU and later sold on roughly three months after the demise of Channel.


History of G-AXFH

11/53 to 5/60

Garuda Indonesia as PK-GHG

5/60 to 12/61

C Itoh & Company as J6161

12/61 to 8/63

Fujita Airlines

8/63 to 5/69

All Nippon Airways


Shackleton Aviation as G-AXFH

5/69 to 2/72

Channel Airways

2/72 to 5/72

Kenneth R Cork (Receiver)

5/72 to 11/79

Peters Aviation (Conv to Heron 1C)

11/79 to 8/81

Universal Aircraft Services

8/81 to 7/84

Hurst Rent-a-Car

7/84 to 1/91

Topflight Ltd


WFU at Exeter during 1986 – Scrapped at SEN in January 1991


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