Heron G-ANCI

De Havilland D.H.114 Heron 1B – c/n 14043

With Channel from Nov 1968 to Feb 1972

De Havilland Heron, Charlie India held the distinction of being the first of another new type to serve with Channel. This Heron came to the airline through T.D ‘Mike’ Keegan who had just recently purchased her through his leasing company ‘Keegan Aviation’. He flew the aircraft from Coventry to Southend on the 14th November 1968 after which several days of crew training ensued. She eventually took to the skies on her first revenue service just four days after her arrival, on a flight from Southend to Rotterdam. The following day would then see her flying one of Channel’s feeder routes between Southend, Ipswich and Norwich and she would continue to operate these flights up until the 2nd of December, when she was was finally taken off of this service.

However, she wouldn’t remain idle for long and by the end of the month, she was flying the Southend-Ostend service although during the quieter winter months, these flights would only operate occasionally. Needless to say, things would pick up again at the end of January and by the 27th, Charlie India was back in regular service flying the feeder routes. On the first day, Ipswich was excluded from the Southend-Ipswich-Norwich service, although by the 28th it was back on the schedule. The 29th would then see this Heron taking on the new route Norwich-Castle Donington-Liverpool which she would continue to serve on for the rest of the year alongside Heron G-AOZM. This new service had been opened with one thing in mind – to act as a shuttle service for those wishing to use Channel Airways’ new ‘bus stop’ service.

In 1969, Channel launched the ‘Scottish Flyer’. This would entail Vickers Viscounts (or an H.S.748 on the odd occasion) being used as airborne ‘buses’ which would make short and frequent stops at selected airports from the south to the north of the country before returning again. In an attempt to provide easy access to these ‘bus stop’ airports, the Herons would be employed to bring passengers in from the smaller airports that were not on the ‘Scottish Flyer’ route. The concept sounded good in principal and it was hoped that this service would attract not only business men and women, but day trippers too. However, this plan failed to meet expectations and was thus suspended permanently in November of that year. Indeed, its failure had now made a number of the Herons superfluous to requirements and two of them (one of which was CI) were WFU during the winter of 1969/70.

G-ANCI would actually make her final flight for the airline at the end of September and by the following month, she had been officially withdrawn from service due to the impending expiry of her CoA in November. Her engines were also out of hours and thus, being of no real further use she would slowly be stripped of spares over the next few years for the remaining Herons. By the time Channel had gone into receivership, all that remained was a fuselage which quite naturally failed to attract any buyers. Eventually, scrap merchants from Staravia were called in to remove the remains which were then transported to Lasham by road where they were subsequently B/U.


History of G-ANCI

6/55 to 3/57

Dragon Airways

3/57 to 3/62

Overseas Air Transport (Jersey)

3/62 to 1/66

Mercury Airlines

1/66 to 11/68

Executive Air Transport


Keegan Aviation

11/68 to 2/72

Channel Airways

2/72 to 7/72

Kenneth R Cork (Receiver)


WFU and stored at SEN 10/69 – B/U at Lasham 7/72


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