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TAA and the Viscount

Old 12th Sep 2010, 00:41
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TAA and the Viscount

After the introduction of the Electra, F-27 and eventually the 727s and DC-9s, what sort of route network were TAAs Viscounts operated on? And, were they in an all-economy, all-first or mixed class seating layout?
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 01:31
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TAA Vicounts

This may not be much help but I am sure the Viscounts were used on the Perth to Port Hedland Route and also operated around Winton in Queensland. Sorry thats all I can offer, although I am interested in any results you get especially if anyone has any photographs. Cheers GCAFINAL
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Old 28th Sep 2010, 06:10
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I think you are confused with two Ansett Group Vicount crashes:
  • 22 September 1966: VH-RMI Nadjayamba Station, Winton Queensland. Ansett. (Left wing spa failure following a fire.)
  • 31 December 1968: VH-RMQ Indee Station, Port Hedland, WA. McRobertson Miller (leased from Ansett. Right wing spa failure.)

(VH-RMQ originally went into service with TAA [Trans-Australia Airlines] in 1954 as VH-TVB "Gregory Blaxland". MMA named VH-RMQ "Quininup" after they leased it from Ansett in September 1968.)

The third Australian Viscount crash occurred 30 November 1961, VH-TVC Sydney, Ansett Airlines.

Jack, I vaguely recall travelling in a Viscount Brisbane - Port Moresby (via Townsville?) around 1963 (when the scheduled Electra went U/S) and seem to recall it was in mixed class seating. Don't recall if it was Ansett or TAA.

The Viscounts also operated Melbourne - Hobart well after the Electras went into service.
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Old 28th Sep 2010, 07:26
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I had the dubious pleasure of flying Viscounts with Ansett from intake in 63 till 67....the cockpit was an ergonomic disaster!!

The a/c flew all the mainline ports including ADL-PER on occasion which according to Bill Kennedy our Nav Officer was the longest Visc run in the world.

Other ports serviced were Wynyard, Devonport,Mt Gambier,Alice Springs,Tennant Ck,Longreach,Mt Isa,Rocky,Mackay,Townsville,Cairns,Canberra and occasionally Cooma.
Even did a special into Mildura once.

A dreadful a/c for the tropics.

AN had 3 models..720c(ex TAA)..747(ex Butler) and the 810/832.

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Old 28th Sep 2010, 08:30
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I flew in a TAA Viscount with my family from Brisbane to Sydney in February 1966 ...we were catching a ship to the uk after 4 years in Oz.

Sadly I don't remember any details - I was a fresh-faced 12 years old at the time!
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Old 28th Sep 2010, 17:29
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Typical to see "emeritus" having a poke at the Viscount. This from the country that brought you those aeronautical wonders the Nomad and the Airtruk !
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Old 29th Sep 2010, 02:19
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There is no doubt the Viscount had a measure of commercial success but it had a very sad history in Aus. You can't be too hard on us. TAA lost one at Mangalore (Victoria) during an assy detail. I also know Ross Cooper quite well who's father was the skipper of the Winton accident. (Ross is an airline captain now). Many of my early captains, when I was an F/O, flew the Viscount and none of them had anything nice to say about it.
I always remember Captain Jack Gillies who made an emergency landing into Mangalore with a bad fire and they only just made it. Jack was very laid back and would lean on the bar with both elbows and talk slowly into his beer like an old farmer. Mention the word 'Viscount' and boy did Jack come to life.
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Old 29th Sep 2010, 04:43
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Lets have another "poke"

Apart from a certain amount of passenger appeal what were the Viscounts good atributes?

I cannot think of any except that the 700 series was nice to handle
. The type was acknowledged as having a high workload induced by a lack of ergonomics. The cockpit to me seemed like an afterthought.

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Old 29th Sep 2010, 09:09
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Don't want to start thread drift here VictorGolf, but the Airtruk was developed from the Bennett Airtruck designed in New Zealand by Luigi Pellarini. Blame the Kiwis, not us Aussies, for the world's ugliest aircraft!

The Nomad was designed and built by the Australian Government Aircraft Factories (GAF) at Fishermens Bend, Melbourne and for a public service committee, tax payer funded effort, at least it had some flight capability!

I'll remind you that many of us Aussies with any General Aviation experience, view the BN Islander as Britain's revenge on the Empire!

Don't be so touchy! The Viscount did an excellent job in Australia but, for various reasons, did not have a good accident record.
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Old 29th Sep 2010, 11:06
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Victor Golf, I must come to the defence of emeritus.

I did 20 years in Ansett, and flew with a lot of ex-Viscount pilots. All I ever heard was about the lousy cramped cockpit and the incredibly high workload consistently over and over again. Remember too that Ansett, with only a modest fleet, lost three aircraft (and came terrifyingly close to a fourth at Mangalore).
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Old 29th Sep 2010, 12:08
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I had the great pleasure of flying the Viscount for 1800+ hours in the late 60s.

Having completed a sponsored CPL course with exactly 200 hours under my belt I joined an airline and was put on the HS748. Some two months and 100 flying hours later I was given a very brief conversion to the Viscount spanning a week either side of my 21st. birthday and after 5 hours base flying (no simulator for the 700 in those days) was sent on my way rejoicing – all pilots had to fly two types with the outfit I was in, sometimes on the same day!

Having had a brief acquaintance with the 748, the Viscount was a delight. In the early days we had a mix of four 700Ds, built for the American market and an ex Bahamasair 702 and, very briefly an ex Aer Lingus 707. The only problem was that Vickers outfitted the types according to the customers requirements and since all the 700Ds came from different airlines the only things in the same place on the flight deck were the throttles and HP cocks. (Thrust levers and HP valves to the cousins – the latter was much too vulgar).

The 700D was much heavier on the controls as apparently the Americans liked it that way but were to a much better spec with heated windscreens and automatic changeover from fast to slow with the engine deicing. Unfortunately the CAA (or was it the ARB in those days?) wouldn’t approve the Janitrol cabin heater, the Freon cooler or the slipper tanks we had on one of them so it was hot in summer and freezing in winter until we got airborne.

After a couple of years later we also acquired some ex BEA 806s which had the same Dart 510 engines on the 700D, consequently the 700Ds (smaller and lighter) were much better performers.

Flying all these sub-types was somewhat of a challenge because apart from all the knobs and switches being in different places we had the Collins FD 101 flight director, a zero reader (never did get to grips fully with that), one with no flight director at all and the Smiths Fight System on the 800s. I still have my certificate from Collins stating I completed the official FD 101 course.

Certainly in the UK it was enjoyed by pilots and passengers alike and was far superior to the piston types it replaced. It was smooth in flight with huge picture windows to survey the passing countryside and was faster than the then new HS748, Herald and F27.

Of course the autopilots were different too, they being Bendix and Smiths as far as I remember. They were a joy to fly though, responsive and stable and by then their peculiar vices had been discovered due to past accidents, such as avoiding tailplane icing which could produce a fatal dive at the ground.

Possibly the conditions in Oz were not good for the old girl, I never flew her in very hot weather and our sectors generally were between 1 to 3 hours but for a 21 year old it was gripping stuff and a great learning platform. I finished with her four years later in 1970 and have never flown an airliner with a prop since, progressing to the 1-11 – but that’s another story!

Caveat. This is written with the rose tinted spectacles of 40 years ago!
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Old 29th Sep 2010, 16:22
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Thanks for coming to my rescue Flightwatch, these Ozzies are sensitive little souls aren't they? The point is taken about the cockpit arrangements but was "ergonomics" a word in 1946 when the Viscount was designed? I think 444 sold is an indication of the success of the breed and as a happy passenger on an Air Malawi 700 series I can vouch for the excellent view of the African bush from those big windows. Central African Airways seemed to manage quite well with them in the Tropics so perhaps it was a question of the operating procedures. With regard to the Australian crashes, ASN has one down to pilot error/inexperience and two were maintenance related which led to catastrophic failures. This must have helped to blacken the type's reputation.
The irony in all this is that I own and fly an Australian product, that well known near success the Victa Airtourer. It just proves that you can get it right Down Under even if it was designed by a Pole!!
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Old 29th Sep 2010, 23:41
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My former airline operated 700 series for many years with an excellent safety record and flew some very long distance trips in trying conditions. eg. Antigua Idlewild (JFK now). None of the skippers I flew with had anything bad to say about it, was lucky to get my first command on the 748 with the same company and as a twenty eight year old captain, enjoyed it very much. Now a late fifties wide body captain I sure miss those simpler times.
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Old 30th Sep 2010, 18:00
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With over 4000 command hours on the Vicount 700/800, no compaints except for the fact that Vickers allowed every airline the decide its own spec! We often went on 3/4 day company jollies without engineers, and never expected any tech problems. It cerainly bred happy pax. Then of course the Aussies never liked the 146.
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Old 1st Oct 2010, 09:11
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Only flew it as an F/O and you worked like a drovers dog. The 700 series always seemed to have pressurisation problems and Visc f/o's became very proficient at manuallly controlling the pressurisation.

Yes the view out the pax windows was as good as the cockpit was bad. Two of our a/c had the barred side windows and was no place to be if one was claustrophobic !!

The a/conditioning system was unable to cope during summer in the outback where it was not uncommon to have ISA +30. Under those conditions with a reasonable load you would be lucky to reach FL150.

Many's the time the air con would not go into refrigerate for the first hour to hour n half of the trip and because the pax had all the eyeball vents open the was no air for the drivers. I recall one day holding my cigarette up to the vent and the smoke drifted into the vent!!

There is no doubt the a/c had passenger appeal and was a good choice for the Airlines but it was a poor envionment to work in.

Re the 146...don't recall it was disliked by those who flew it. There were some initial teething troubles as I recall mainly because it was req to operate at a higher level due to stage lengths and also a lot of engine problems initially.

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Old 4th Oct 2010, 19:36
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I spent a lot of time in the former Air Canada Viscount two axis sim -- no visuals.

Yep, it was a typical British cockpit of the times with stuff every which where.

In those pre-FADEC days, knowledge of the fuel trimmers was required.
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Old 5th Oct 2010, 02:01
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"The irony in all this is that I own and fly an Australian product, that well known near success the Victa Airtourer. It just proves that you can get it right Down Under even if it was designed by a Pole!!"
You've just confirmed my statement about Australian built aircraft. When we get a good one, it gets no Government support and is sold to another country - as occurred with the Victa. And once sold to New Zealand, it's future was assured by the RAAF buying a fleet of Plastic Parrots!

Ah, the Airtourer, a really great little airplane - best use I've seen for a Ford Anglia McPherson Strut and Ford Falcon fuel cap.
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Old 5th Oct 2010, 13:55
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And don't forget the only Victa lawnmower bit on it i.e. the trim lever handle which I believe was the height adjustment lever for the lawnmowers! I just picked mine up this morning from it's C of A and it's always a pleasure to get back in to such a nice handling little aeroplane. Oh for another 40 horsepower as mine's a 115.
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Old 5th Oct 2010, 18:44
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Many's the time the air con would not go into refrigerate for the first hour to hour n half of the trip and because the pax had all the eyeball vents open the was no air for the drivers. I recall one day holding my cigarette up to the vent and the smoke drifted into the vent!!
In BEA 800s there was a cockpit a/c unit fitted every summer and removed come winter, it fitted in the position where the navigator's seat was (yes - there really was provision for a nav!).

Apparently it made life a lot more bearable but unfortunately when the aircraft were sold on the purchase didn't include the unit. Nor did it include the Decca - still, saved us poor cos' having to lug the Decca box around with us.
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Old 10th Oct 2010, 21:45
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Emeritus,could you please tell me why 2 a/c had the side windows barred.

I have seen photos of viscounts with horizontal bands on the rear cockpit windows....I guess they are the bars. But why? And only 2 a/c?
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