Vickers 707 Viscount – c/n 34

With Channel from Dec 1962 to Jan 1970

Viscount Zulu Charlie found her way into Channel’s ownership by virtue of this airline having taken over the economically floundering Tradair, which finally went into administration at the end of 1962. Indeed, it was this very aircraft that would not only start Southend’s almost uninterrupted, four decade relationship with the Viscount, but would also provide Channel with its first turbine powered aircraft, while at the same time she would go on to become one of Channel’s longest serving 700 series Viscounts. By April 3rd 1963, she had been refinished in Channel’s livery and was reactivated from her winter slumber making a test flight, before initiating Channel’s very first turboprop service between Southend and Luxembourg just over a week later on the 11th. While April would see Channel carefully familiarising itself with this new type, the airline would then go on to make good use of their latest acquisition in May and as such Zulu Charlie could be seen traversing the length and breadth of Western Europe making trips to such destinations as Cognac on the 2nd, Rotterdam on the 15th, Jersey on the 18th, Hamburg on the 23rd, along with multiple trips to Ostend and Jersey between the 25th and the 31st.

Indeed, Jersey and the longer continental routes would see much of Viscount ZC over the coming months, being as it was initially considered more economical to operate this turboprop aircraft on these routes than on the shorter, low level hops over to Ostend or Rotterdam. By the end of the year, she was making visits to the Balearics flying the former Tradair route to Palma on September 8th. Zulu Charlie would also be kept moderately busy during the winter period and despite previous economy concerns, she remained available for the scheduled Channel Islands, Ostend and Rotterdam services while also regularly heading off with passengers who wished to avail themselves of some winter sun either in the Mediterranean or on the slopes of the alpine regions of Central Europe. For example, in November she would fly charters to Rome and Munich on the 28th, Basle on December 21st, January 3rd and 24th with a trip to Genoa also being made on the latter date. Nice would later welcome her on February 4th and March 30th. Finally on March 31st 1964, she was withdrawn at Southend having been scheduled for a five week overhaul.

Zulu Charlie flew again on May 9th 1964, operating a service to Jersey and for the rest of the month undertook mostly scheduled work up until the 29th when she headed off to Perpignan on a charter accompanied by Viscount G-AMOJ. On June 3rd, she would inaugurate the very first Channel Viscount service to Basle and made another trip to Palma on the same day. Two days later she would open the Biarritz service and for much of the rest of the summer, she would return to a regular mix of weekend charters and scheduled operations during the week. The following year would see her opening a number of routes too. ZC flew the first Palma service on April 11th with a load of 68 pax and three days later she would open the Manchester-Rotterdam service, which she would then fly on a regular basis until being replaced by Viscount G-APTA in July. However, 1966 would herald in a less frenetic schedule for Zulu Charlie which after flying a summer of services, went off on lease to B.K.S between the end of July and the end of September. She finally returned to SEN on the 27th and would not take to the sky again until the following spring.

It wasn’t until March 22nd 1967 that G-APZC was test flown, entering service the following day by plying her trade between Southend and Rotterdam. Scheduled services would again make up much of her spring, including the popular bulb charters to Holland. However by June of this year, tour operator Hourmont Holidays had transferred much of their I.T work to Cambrian after several breaches of contract by Treffield International who had initially been awarded these services that had previously been flown by two, leased Channel 810 Viscounts. By the end of June, much of this work had in turn been passed on from Cambrian to Channel and as such, the remaining 700 series Viscounts were put to work flying from Cardiff and Bristol. Zulu Charlie flew a good number of these flights operating to: Barcelona on June 30th, Palma and Valencia on July 2nd and Palma, Ibiza and Oporto on the 9th. She would continue to undertake these services regularly, flying to Cardiff on Friday evening and then returning to Southend on Monday morning until October 28th, when she flew the last Hourmont charter of the year to Palma and back.

The winter of 1967-68 would see Zulu Charlie resting for a short period, being activated again in March 1968. She would once again fly a number of Clarkson’s bulb charters in April and May, before heading off to operate Channel’s new route between Liverpool and Ostend which she continued to do weekly from June 1st, operating mostly alongside fellow G-APTA for much of the summer. By this time I.T services were mostly being maintained by the 810 series Viscounts although Zulu Charlie would still fly to a number of these charter destinations up until the end of September. It was on such an I.T charter that ZC would fly her very last service from Southend to Milan and back again, this taking place on September 29th 1968. The following day, G-APTA would also be removed from service and in the process, brought Channel’s 700 series Viscount operations to an end. These two Viscounts were later towed over to the north side and were placed with G-APZB which had been withdrawn the previous year. All three would survive another 15 months before finally being scrapped at the beginning of 1970.


History of G-APZC

4/54 – 2/60

Aer Lingus as EI-AGI

2/60 – 12/62


12/62 – 1/70

TFR to Channel Airways


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


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