Aviation Traders ATL.98A Carvair – c/n 5/10365

With BAF from Apr 1972 to Jun 1977

Given Name – ‘Porky Pete’

This particular C-54 came to Stansted during August 1960, by way of the German airline LTU and was given one of Air Charter’s, own, reserved registrations, namely G-AREK. For the time being, the aircraft remained grounded until it was eventually rolled into the ATEL hangar at the beginning of January 1961. Initially intended for Channel Air Bridge, this aircraft was instead built for Intercontinental in the U.S, this company being permitted to jump the queue due to CAB not having a requirement for any further Carvairs until ferry services picked up again in the spring, while at the same time, it would permit Aviation Traders to get a foot into the door of another overseas market. As such, the aircraft was built as an ATL.98A aircraft although it departed for the U.S in November without a rear passenger cabin having been fitted.

Echo Kilo’s Southend history would begin just under a decade later when BAF decided to lease her in April 1972 from Cie Air Transport. It would appear that the rear passenger cabin had already been fitted while she was with CIE, being as her maiden trips for the airline would come on May 3rd F-BMHV(just 4 days after her arrival at SEN) with flights to Ostend and Le Touquet. She was initially employed to bulk up the rest of the car ferry fleet for the up and coming season and as such, she would for the time being, fly the cross-Channel routes in CIE livery but with BAF logos applied to the forward fuselage. In February the following year, BAF finally refinished the aircraft in its own livery having taken the decision to purchase it outright and while she was a welcome addition to the fleet, she quickly became rather unpopular with both crews and engineers alike, being considered something of a pain of an aircraft due to a multitude of faults that kept occurring on a regular basis.

Nevertheless, she would spend the next year or so hauling an ever dwindling number of cars and passengers to the continent until in June 1974, she was sent away on lease with a construction company in the Middle East called Pauling to help with the building of Thumrait Air Base along with crew, spares and a new livery to boot. The contractCarvair G-AREK called for the hauling of materials, supplies and crews between three countries, namely Bahrain, Oman and the UAE and in this warmer climate, EK would begin to behave herself as far as mechanical issues were concerned. Needless to say, both her and her flight crews would be worked to within an inch of their lives, often being sent off overloaded or on extremely hectic, tiring and sometimes even dangerous schedules. After approximately 18 months, the contract came to an end and the aircraft would return to Southend, although no doubt realising that she was heading back to chillier climes, the old Echo Kilo ‘curse’ reared its ugly head, once again forcing the crew to make an emergency landing in Athens due to engine failure. Weeks of toing and froing over money ensued between BAF and the Greek authorities, although finally, the aircraft was permitted to return home in less than perfect condition on Feb 8th 1976 after a rather eventful flight that had necessitated yet another emergency, three day stop over in Nice.

G-AREK storedIt would seem that by this time, BAF and its staff had had their fill of this infernal machine and with ferry services now running at only a trickle, G-AREK was no longer required. She was thus withdrawn from service and left to languish at Southend for the rest of the year, slowly losing a number of her parts to other, more deserving Carvairs. In early 1977, Echo Kilo was put up for sale and a concerted effort was made to restore her to an airworthy condition having attracted more than a modicum of interest from French outfit, UNI-Air. By the beginning of July, she was ready to make her delivery trip to the continent and left Southend on the 3rd, still carrying the Pauling livery, minus the logos.


History of G-AREK

8/44 to 4/46

USAF/USN as 42-72260

4/46 to 11/48

Veteran’s Air Express as N58003

11/48 to 2/49

Matson Navigation Co as N57777

2/49 to 3/51

Air Ceylon as VP-CBD (CY-ACA from 9/50)

3/51 to 3/58

Australian National Airlines as VH-INY

3/58 to 5/58

Twentieth Century Airlines as N5520V

5/58 to 9/59

Transavia as D-ADAL

9/59 to 8/60


8/60 to 11/62

BUA/Aviation Traders

(Converted to ATL.98 Carvair)

11/62 to 12/62

Intercontinental U.S Inc as N9757F

12/62 to 5/65

Interocean Airways as LX-IOG

5/65 to 2/73

Cie Air Transport as F-BHMV

2/73 to 6/77

British Air Ferries as G-AREK

6/77 to 8/79

Uni Air Ltd as F-BYCL

8/79 to 3/82

Falcon Airways as N83FA

3/82 to 5/82

Ruth A May

5/82 to 10/85

Gifford Aviation Ltd

10/85 to 1/93

Robert D McSwiggern

1/93 to 4/97

Academy Airlines


Crashed into a supermarket just after take off due to engine failure at Griffin, Georgia 4/4/97


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