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Old Timer's Airline Quiz and Discussion.

Old Timer's Airline Quiz and Discussion.

Old Jun 24, 2024, 10:58 am
  #29206  
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Originally Posted by KT550
I hadn't realised the Maastricht flight lasted so long.

I took that flight in August 1985. I must have booked soon after the route was launched and paid GBP 50 return. That was so cheap for a flight to Europe in those days; maybe it was a special offer when the route opened.

The Viscount was operated by British Air Ferries. Only one was painted in VS colours, if it was broken or on maintenance a standard BAF aircraft was used.
Well, it appears that British Air Ferries (BAF) did operate several other Viscounts painted in the Virgin Atlantic livery, one of which featured a partial VS paint scheme.

In addition to "Maastricht Maiden" (G-AOYP) which I included with my post above, here's "Dublin Lady" (G-APEY).....

https://www.airliners.net/photo/Virg...ount/7418721/L

And here's G-AOYG....

https://www.airliners.net/photo/Virg...ount/1756284/L

Plus here's G-AOHT in partial VS livery....

https://www.airliners.net/photo/Virg...ount/1415949/L

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Old Jun 24, 2024, 4:06 pm
  #29207  
 
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BAF, British Air Ferries, were a longstanding Southend airport, go anywhere any time, operator, with a few schedules which came and went, but also a lot of charter work. Not just in Britain, they had major contracts with oil companies in North Africa, flying out into the Sahara.

Power behind them was domineering character Mike Keegan, who had a range of carriers behind him, often several at once. The 1950s-60s airline BKS was one, the K being from you-know-who. Sold out to BA, Mike wanted royalties for his one initial in the name, that is what led to the name change to Northeast.

In Spring 1981 I was doing regular business trips to Southend, staying at the Airport Hotel. Mike had bought the entire fleet of recently-retired British Airways Viscounts, including all those featured above, which had been stored at Cardiff. Every day of that week a BAF light aircraft took a crew over to Cardiff, and they brought one of the Viscounts back. They found an amazing range of work for them all. The UK quarterly magazine Propliner had a regular column describing their current exploits.

They did contract feeder flights for a range of others, both Virgin and British Caledonian had them painted up in their colours. They also stood in for BA’s own Bae ATP fleet in Scotland. Oil workers from the North Sea, touring rock bands, or politicians at election time, were always seen coming down the steps of a BAF Viscount.

Maastricht was actually a Virgin Atlantic operation, but other flights, such as the Viscount on Luton to Dublin, were independent initiatives, who franchised Virgin’s branding – an approach Richard Branson has used on 101 enterprises ever since. We even had Virgin Bae146s operating London City to Dublin for a short while in the 1990s. Note the Viscounts shown just say “Virgin”.

I believe Virgin Atlantic was daily on London to New York from the start. They only had one 747, if it was off for maintenance a Martinair 747, and I believe once or twice a Sabena 747, would position over to stand in. Fortunately that first 747 was reliable. The less said about G-VMIA, which came later, in this respect the better,
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Old Jun 24, 2024, 5:17 pm
  #29208  
 
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Originally Posted by jlemon
Well, it appears that British Air Ferries (BAF) did operate several other Viscounts painted in the Virgin Atlantic livery, one of which featured a partial VS paint scheme.

In addition to "Maastricht Maiden" (G-AOYP) which I included with my post above, here's "Dublin Lady" (G-APEY).....

https://www.airliners.net/photo/Virg...ount/7418721/L

And here's G-AOYG....

https://www.airliners.net/photo/Virg...ount/1756284/L

Plus here's G-AOHT in partial VS livery....

https://www.airliners.net/photo/Virg...ount/1415949/L
Good job that wasn't a quiz question!
There's a big date range in those photos; I suspect they weren't all in VS colours at the same time.
G-AOYP (my outward flight) was still in full BAF livery in Aug 85.
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Old Jun 24, 2024, 7:36 pm
  #29209  
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Originally Posted by KT550
Good job that wasn't a quiz question!
There's a big date range in those photos; I suspect they weren't all in VS colours at the same time.
G-AOYP (my outward flight) was still in full BAF livery in Aug 85.
I suspect you are absolutely spot on with that observation, sir!

And many thanks to WHBM for his informed commentary concerning BAF!

Plus there was yet another Viscount with the Virgin name appearing only on the tail of this particular airplane. Here's a photo of a forlorn looking G-BAPG....

https://www.airliners.net/photo/Balt...ount/6030145/L

I've no idea what this was about with regard to Baltic but would love to know.

However, as this photo was taken at Southend, I have the feeling that BAF was involved.

Last edited by jlemon; Jun 25, 2024 at 8:23 am Reason: added photo link
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Old Jun 25, 2024, 9:15 am
  #29210  
 
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Baltic started up around 1989 with a group of ex-British Midland Viscounts. Initially it was a British investor joint with those in Sweden, hence the name, but it fell through and the Swedish registrations booked for the aircraft were never taken up. They didn't have any schedules in their own right but did contract work for others. They certainly had some tie-in with BAF as they were parked together in the same area at Southend, along with a further carrier named Hot Air; these latter two seemed to have common directors and passed aircraft back and forth between them. Baltic did take over the Virgin Atlantic Gatwick to Maastricht flights, hence the logo.

The derelict Baltic aircraft pictured is by no means the worst that could be found at Southend, then or now. When I was in the hotel there the last Carvair was in the weeds just outside the window (how I wish now I'd taken photographs). No engines, and the big front car door had been changed over to that from a different aircraft in a different colour scheme. BAF operational fleet then was principally Handley Page Heralds, there was a mass departure of these at about 1am each night for an express freight forwarder, one to Paris, one to Brussels, one to Amsterdam. Not much sleep in the hotel until the last of these had run up their Dart engines right outside, and gone. Also there was most of the onetime RAF fleet of big Short Belfast freighters for a new airline, Heavylift, which was yet ANOTHER Keegan enterprise. Believe it or not there was no fencing, and you could just walk across to all the aircraft and the hangars there.

That hotel was something else, supposedly called The Airport but on the wrong side of the runway, it was a couple of miles around. Southend airport also by then had minimal passenger service out season, so our international employer, with a training centre in the town, had "done a deal" for all there. It was a combination of Fawlty Towers, the Bates Motel, and an investor with excessive ideas. Putting in there groups of (mostly) graduate trainees straight from college, one or two weeks at a time, inevitably led to a range of excesses . The restaurant was not only named The Concorde Room (yes, at Southend), but had a huge cardboard Concorde model suspended by hooks from the ceiling. Well, that was a challenge, so late one night a small set of ladders were found and it was "borrowed". A very down-at-heel white horse we had noticed, tethered in an adjacent field, was also once unhitched and led to be tied up to the front doors, where to our glee it ate the flower display and produced an "exhaust". Ah, youthful times. Both bringing us up to date and back on aviation topics, here's the hotel parking lot and outdoor bar seating today, with a couple of derelict HS748 sticking their noses out of the weeds towards all.

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Last edited by WHBM; Jun 25, 2024 at 9:21 am
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Old Jun 25, 2024, 11:29 am
  #29211  
 
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Originally Posted by WHBM
That hotel was something else, supposedly called The Airport but on the wrong side of the runway, it was a couple of miles around. Southend airport also by then had minimal passenger service out season, so our international employer, with a training centre in the town, had "done a deal" for all there. It was a combination of Fawlty Towers, the Bates Motel, and an investor with excessive ideas. Putting in there groups of (mostly) graduate trainees straight from college, one or two weeks at a time, inevitably led to a range of excesses . The restaurant was not only named The Concorde Room (yes, at Southend), but had a huge cardboard Concorde model suspended by hooks from the ceiling. Well, that was a challenge, so late one night a small set of ladders were found and it was "borrowed". A very down-at-heel white horse we had noticed, tethered in an adjacent field, was also once unhitched and led to be tied up to the front doors, where to our glee it ate the flower display and produced an "exhaust". Ah, youthful times. Both bringing us up to date and back on aviation topics, here's the hotel parking lot and outdoor bar seating today, with a couple of derelict HS748 sticking their noses out of the weeds towards all.
Can we please get a book of your life in aviation exploits?

The anecdotes you share on here are just fascinating!
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Old Jun 26, 2024, 5:15 pm
  #29212  
 
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This week at London City a midair engine problem on the WW2 era DH89A De Havilland Dragon Rapide which, still, does periodic sightseeing flights from Duxford down over Central London led to an unexpected house visitor for several days, which received a great deal of courtesy and attention (and photo taking, and refreshments being comped for the engineers - but seemingly when tools were willingly offered for loan, none of the current ones fit any more ...)

Lovely comparison-of-eras photo courtesy of PPRuNe


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Last edited by WHBM; Jun 26, 2024 at 5:20 pm
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Old Jun 27, 2024, 12:43 pm
  #29213  
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Originally Posted by WHBM

Maastricht was actually a Virgin Atlantic operation, but other flights, such as the Viscount on Luton to Dublin, were independent initiatives, who franchised Virgin’s branding – an approach Richard Branson has used on 101 enterprises ever since. We even had Virgin Bae146s operating London City to Dublin for a short while in the 1990s....
And here's one at London City with the operator actually being Dublin-based CityJet.....

https://www.airliners.net/photo/City...6-200/923557/L

Last edited by jlemon; Jun 28, 2024 at 9:41 am Reason: fixed photo link
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Old Jun 27, 2024, 5:23 pm
  #29214  
 
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As with a number of other Virgin-franchised carriers, the caption of the Cityjet BAe146 mistakes Virgin Group, the franchising business, with Virgin Atlantic, the long-haul airline. This arrangement with Virgin didn't last long as it was not exclusive, and Virgin Group moved on to franchise the branding as well to Virgin Express, a Brussels-based low cost 737 operator, so Cityjet terminated the agreement, which in all truth did really nothing for promoting the route. Since then both Air France, and more recently Aer Lingus have had their brands on the fleet as well. Still around, still based in Dublin, but now mainly an SAS franchise out of Copenhagen.

Maybe we could have a quiz question of just how many airlines, worldwide, Virgin Group have had their tail logo and image applied to.
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Old Jul 3, 2024, 7:00 am
  #29215  
 
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While we are pondering the Virgin variations, here's a different one.

This photo was taken within the last year. What does it show (straightforward) and where might it be (more challenging).


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Old Jul 3, 2024, 8:02 am
  #29216  
 
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Originally Posted by WHBM
This photo was taken within the last year. What does it show (straightforward) and where might it be (more challenging).

Clearly TriStars. Ex-AmTran? And as for location, is it Fujairah, UAE?
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Old Jul 3, 2024, 9:00 am
  #29217  
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Originally Posted by Spongthrush
Clearly TriStars. Ex-AmTran? And as for location, is it Fujairah, UAE?
My current best guess is Royal Jordanian, but I'm not super happy with that.
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Old Jul 3, 2024, 10:30 am
  #29218  
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I like ATA also

based on some of WHBM’s family travels that he has recounted here over the past ~10 years, I’ll guess the photo was taken at Palma/PMI
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Old Jul 4, 2024, 3:41 pm
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Good tries all. Bonus points for not saying it's in Arizona !

And it's not Palma (where nowadays the surroundings look like Manhattan), but the others are nearer. It's actually at an obscure "international" airport called El Alamein, indeed at the desert location of the defining British-German battle of North Africa in WW2, on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. Doubtless hopeful for tourist traffic, it hasn't worked out at all, some days one flight, others none at all. Today there is one holiday flight 737, in from, of all places, Prague.

A number of the few remaining Tristars early this century fell into the hands of grey market Middle-East operators, tending to change hands every year. There was some Tristar maintenance skill in the area as Gulf Air, Saudia and Royal Jordanian all were operators of them. The residual market was the annual huge pilgrimage traffic from all over the Muslim world into Mecca, via Jeddah, which has been increasingly tightly controlled by Saudia but has long been a bottom-bucket carrier flow. One is indeed ex-American Trans Air, last Tristar operator in the USA when they closed down in 2008. Shortly before this ATA put it through an expensive D-check with UK Tristar specialist Marshall at Cambridge (who also maintained the RAF Tristar fleet), which must have been costly, and I think that's the one at the back. The other two have an adaptation of the livery, but were I think principally with Royal Jordanian. The various operators seemed to change names and registration nationality, though not necessarily ultimate owner, and had a history of leaving unpaid debts around the place.

Mentioned above was Fujirah, a further oddball location in Oman, and all three aircraft seem to have been stored there before 2010, when they were moved on.
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Old Jul 4, 2024, 4:38 pm
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speaking of Arizona, at the bottom center of this photo is the boneyard at Kingman/IGM (taken from 34000 ft on AS277 IAD-LAX) a couple weeks ago

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