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Vickers Viking

Old 20th Oct 2004, 21:34
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Question Vickers Viking

Do any PPruners have any recollections to offer on the allegedly appalling Vickers Viking. On consulting so far published works on the type I am staggered to discover that it appears to have been operated by at least twenty British independent airlines between the forties & sixties.
From various historical works I have in my library, I deduce that the type was not only operated by a high proportion of long bankrupt names (Pegasus; Orion; Air Safaris: Overseas Etc) But was also operated by downright dangerous names such as Independent Air Travel & Falcon Airways both under the dreaded Captain Marian Kozubski.
Any recollections of a long past period in British aviation history?
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Old 22nd Oct 2004, 14:57
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Was it really that appalling?

I think one flew back to Northolt in the late '40s with some heavy damage after a bomb exploded in the hold.

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Old 23rd Oct 2004, 14:36
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The Viking was no more a "bag of nails" for its day than any others of the period. It suffered mostly by comparison with its stablemate, the Varsity ... tail wheel v 'trike' and lower performance.
We operated the military version, the Valetta, and, given what was asked of it, it served us well. Operating into and out of the pretty basic 'up-country' strips in and around Aden and the Middle East the job got done. A whole different 'kettle of fish' from today's vastly overpowered equivalents and which needed a bit more crew input to arrive safely at 'B'.
It was a good learning experience but maybe more so for one of my colleagues who survived no less than 6 (yes, SIX) crashes during his two year tour. His emergency drills became immaculate!! I only managed one, which was quite sufficient, thank you!
Airborne, it handled nicely but, like a great many 'tail-draggers' it needed skilled hands and a great deal of luck to 'grease it on'. Unlike our civilian contemporaries, we operated single pilot with the Signaller (radio operator) as 'Pilot's Assistant'. Comms was courtesy of the abominable T1154/R1155 and navigation was in the hands of the hardest worker in the crew - the navigator ... sextant for star shots and three line fixes from dubious MF beacons ... Aaah, nostalgia isn't what it used to be!
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Old 24th Oct 2004, 18:28
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While in its later years it flew for a large number of small operators, it was the mainstay of BEA for several years before the arrival of the Ambassador/Elizabethan and the Viscount. BEA had little alternative , although they had a large number of surplus RAF C47/DC 3s as well, as they were forced by the UK Government to buy British to conserve post war foreign currency. Vikings also flew the long distance Colonial Coach services for Airwork, Hunting Clan and Central African Airways in the early/mid 50s until replaced by the Viscount. In this role they few both the West African coastal route to Lagos and the East and Central African routes to Nairobi, Entebbe and Salisbury, the latter nightstopping twice en route. So far as I know there were no serious accidents on the Colonial Coach services, although circa 1953 a CAA aircraft suffered an inevitably fatal wing spar failure near Tanga between Dar es Salaam and Nairobi on a regional service originating in Salisbury.
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Old 25th Oct 2004, 17:30
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Interesting snippet on the CAA wing-fold.
Obviously the RAF Valettas were essentially similarly sparred but, while, after the CAA accident, the Vikings had their spars strengthened (doubler plates??), the Valettas were unmodified - until, that is, we lost one, again to a wing-fold, coming out of Aqaba. All were then grounded and examined. From memory, out of our fourteen aircraft, 12 had cracked main spars and/or wrinkled wing skins!!
We were night-stopping in Bahrein when the grounding was signalled. The local engineers checked it over and S Eng O declared that it was serviceable for a one-time trip back to Khormaksar. This was agreed to - as long as S Eng O came with us! I seem to recall a considerable interest in the condition of the visible bits of the wing while en-route, especially bouncing around at 8K in the usual turbulence

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Old 28th Oct 2004, 09:36
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Some excellent reminisces about the Vikings operated by BKS can be found in Arthur Whitlock's book 'Behind the Cockpit Door'. I got it from Transair a few years back but it seems to have disappeared from their catalog since then. Excellent book if you can find it, also includes quite a few stories on DC-3s, Ambassadors, Britannias and Tridents.

I recently did some research on three Vikings which have been used as a restaurant in Holland, the results of which can be found here: http://www.vc10.net/History/vikings_of_soesterberg.html
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Old 28th Oct 2004, 10:30
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During period '55 - 57, my old man was ATCO at Tabora in western Tanganyika;

Amongst regular callers were TREK Airways(?) running between SA & and Europe/UK with Vikings and DC-3's + DC-4's (?)

PZU - Out of Africa
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