Vickers 623 Viking C.2 – c/n 177

With Channel from Dec 1962 to Jan 1970

As with all of Tradair’s serviceable aircraft, G-APOP found herself becoming part of the Channel Airways fleet and would in the end, go on to become the longest serving of the ex-Tradair Vikings. The three ex-Queen’s Flight aircraft however, stood idle during the winter of 1962/63 and Oscar Papa would not enter service with Channel until the spring of ’63, making her first flight to Jersey on March 13th after which she would then go on to more than make up for her winter idleness during the summer season, on the highly trafficked routes to Ostend, Rotterdam and the Channel Islands, while from time to time she would pop up on the busy Manchester-Ostend service too. However, having already operated Vikings since the beginning of 1958, these aircraft were beginning to look out of place within Channel’s increasingly modern fleet and by September more than half of them had been removed from service, although APOP’s excellent condition would see her soldiering on for several more years with the airline.

The 1964 season got off to another roaring start in March with OP operating on the Southend-Beauvais service and then in May as per usual, the Channel Island, Ostend and Rotterdam routes began to quickly pick up with a multitude of tourists looking to make their way to slightly warmer and sunnier climes. These scheduled flights were also supplemented by the odd charter, one of which took Oscar Papa off to Geneva on July 14th. However, with the arrival of a number of vastly superior Viscounts which occurred during the winter of 1963/64, all of the Vikings in the fleet bar G-APOP had been removed from service by September of that year. Indeed, only after a few weeks rest at SEN she would growl back into service on the Ostend and Rotterdam routes during late September and early October, although by November she was confined mostly to the latter route with the odd charter to Le Bourget thrown in at the end of the month just to make things a bit more interesting.

Needless to say Oscar Papa refused to capitulate, just about making it into 1965. During December 1964, she flew charters to Guernsey and Nuremburg while continuing to serve Rotterdam until the very last day of the year. January however would be a much quieter month, although she g-apop-wfuwould still operate a small number of services which included a skiing charter to Basle on January 6th. Her final trip finally came on January 30th, which took the form of a short ferry flight from Stansted where she had deposited a load of passengers returning from a charter to Munich. However, unlike the rest of the fleet which had already been disposed of or was about to be scrapped, the aircraft itself would hang on a little longer initially being retained for use as a trainer for Channel’s cabin crew. She remained at Southend for another 5 years, eventually being offered to the Southend Historical Aircraft Museum although by this time, she was missing a large number of parts and was at the time not considered historically distinct enough to warrant either preservation or a place at the museum and as such, scrapping began at the very end of 1969 and by January 1970 she was no more.


History of G-APOP

1/47 to 8/58

RAF King’s Flight as VL246

(Transferred to RAF Queen’s Flight 5/52)

8/58 to 12/62

Tradair Ltd as G-APOP

12/62 to 1/70

Channel Airways Ltd


WFU at SEN 1/65 and used as a cabin trainer – B/U by 1/70


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