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-   -   LUTON History and Nostalgia (https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/527527-luton-history-nostalgia.html)

almost professional 19th Oct 2014 08:27

Ah, watch drinking after the afternoon duty - happy days!

WHBM 19th Oct 2014 12:07

Originally Posted by LTNman (Post 8701087)
Never seen a photo of a Channel Airways aircraft at Luton.

They did of course principally operate their prop aircraft from Southend and their jets from down the road at Stansted. However they were renowned for not getting decent holiday flight series for their fleet (apart from at West Berlin), so should Britannia, Autair or Monarch be an aircraft down they could be the sub-charter to fall back on, anywhere round the country.

The Scottish Flyer hopping service used both Viscounts and 748s; Channel still had one of these (G-ATEI) from their original fleet of four when the service was running, and it was used on the third day of schedule - it didn't take long to realise they were never going to fill a Viscount. The en-route airports were indeed request stops, bookings and loads were advised to ops for each point, with last-minute variances through ATC as described above, and if there was nothing the stop was missed, in fact if every point was called the service ended up well behind time. In the first week journalists turned up at the lesser points like Teesside to see if they could get the flight to drop in just for them.

keepers one 19th Oct 2014 12:45

Re Channel at Luton-my boss there was Mike Kay....any idea of his whereabouts?After Channel at Luton he went to LIAT for a while and then BAF.
(gave me my first job in aviation).
Ps Excellent pics !!

22/04 21st Oct 2014 21:30

[email protected]
I only remember the ex Continental Viscounts on the Scottish Flyer. One was G-AVHK- with dedicated titles and I think there was one other. Doomed to failure but airlines still do this- Virgin Little Red an example today.

More fun to watch was the Saturday Palma in (I think) 1969. Can remember thrust reverser deployed before touchdown and long take off runs outbound Palma on hot days. We got two of each as the aircraft positioned in (I assume from STN) to do the flights and back afterwards.

Anyone got any pics- I've only got the one from the airport brochure of the time (BY steps) and I am not sure I can post that!

vintage ATCO 23rd Oct 2014 18:51

I assume you are talking about the Trident 1E Channel use to operate? The only aeroplane I have seen to kick dust up from the upwind end of the runway.

The CAA Stats Dept rang one day to say we had made a mistake with the pax figure for this flight "as it is impossible to get <whatever the figure was> on a Trident 1". Channel could by taking two sets of toilets out!

WHBM 23rd Oct 2014 19:15

Originally Posted by 22/04 (Post 8707842)
I only remember the ex Continental Viscounts on the Scottish Flyer.

The Channel livery came from these Viscounts bought from Continental, not only the gold and black scheme which was left untouched, but the font for the titling and even the logo of the eagle in the oval. Their later new aircraft like the Trident and the One-Elevens were then painted in the same scheme, even borrowing Continental's strapline "Continental Golden Jet". Incidentally that high seat count (140) in the Trident 1 was achieved by 4+3 seating in the cabin (honestly, and at 28" pitch to boot), which they initially got past the CAA but later some issue arose (possibly charterers got complaints) and they were changed to normal.

Anything to save a repaint, or paying a designer. Did you ever get Channel's later Comets into Luton ? They too were left in their original livery from Olympic Airways, just all the titling and logo were painted over in almost-but-not-quite matching paint, which then partly peeled off :ooh:

I'm surprised whoever got them over to do a Luton to Palma (presumably a subcharter) didn't coach the pax over to Stansted instead, which would have been a bit cheaper.

lotus1 24th Oct 2014 18:29

I remember family flying to Palma on a comet of channels they said when they arrived at stanstead they had to all stand in line outside the terminal to check in and when they arrived at Palma they where parked next to a wreck belive a old transeurpoa dc6 this looked more in a better state then the comet?

LTNman 24th Oct 2014 21:38


I used to wait in the spectators area for the Courtline Tristars. If memory serves me correctly the wing tips almost past over the then 4ft fence.

In the distance can be seen the Courtline 1-11 hangar which today is now 80% knocked down and soon to disappear forever.

Mr Oleo Strut 24th Oct 2014 22:00

How pleasant to see your print of Dart Herald G-APWC in Autair colours. I remember it in BEA regalia when I worked on it at Woodley as a Handley Page apprentice, particularly the fun and games getting it into the hanger due to the high tail configuration and low hanger doors. Pleasant to know that WC is preserved at the Berkshire Museum of Aviation - I wish it were inside - and if I ever visit Woodley again I'll go and see the old girl for a final time. They were happy days, full of hope, no money, long hours of study and no inkling of what was about to overwhelm us and HP. Probably best not to have known all that. Its all history now but nice to see a reminder of those far off days. Wish I was still fit enough to cycle to and from Woodley, and to the Bull at Sonning for a couple of lunch-time pints with the lads, before dollying up for a few hours of afternoon riveting or drilling and reaming. The smell of thinners, hydraulic and degreasing fluids, paint, grease and cellulose, all magically combined with dollops of sweat and pleasure. Happy days, indeed. Many thanks!

Mr Oleo Strut 24th Oct 2014 22:11

Yes, we used to take our young son down to watch the Court Line Tristars (wasn't one called Halycon Days?) from that spot and listen to the eerie wail as they taxied by with their wing tips just overhead. I used to be fascinated to listen-in to some of the regular spotter's airband receivers as I couldn't afford one myself. Now I can track air movements from my armchair and view aviation videos and films whenever I want. That's progress!

Proplinerman 25th Oct 2014 07:35

Dart Herald preserved at Woodley
Aircraft is actually G-APWA, rather than G-APWC: https://www.flickr.com/photos/489750...-93MeFa-8ZrKQT

OUAQUKGF Ops 25th Oct 2014 15:06

Dear Oleo Strut,

All is not lost.

G-APWA can just be seen in the background behind the Twin Pin in the 1963 panoramic of Luton which I posted. She was leased from Handley Page by Autair for the summer pending the arrival of the three Ambassadors from Globe Air of Switzerland.

G-APWB/C/D were purchased from the Ministry of Aviation in November 1966 and arrived at Luton in BEA colours having previously worked the Highlands and Islands network. As a whole they were initially in very poor condition and were not cleared for public transport or pressurised flight. They spent most of the winter parked outside Autair's Hangar (The latter alas R.I.P.) until undergoing extensive refurbishment and repair. Even so they occasionally flew in this fallow period. I can recall the coldest flight of my life. On a winter's evening one of our 748s with Pete Hogg at the helm burst a tyre at Glasgow. Len Prudence flew one of these Heralds with a gaggle of engineers, a spare wheel, hydraulic jack and me (Ops Teaboy) from Luton to Glasgow. There were no seats, no pressurisation and naturally enough no heating. I think we were back to Luton before the 748!

These three Heralds were sold to an outfit in Colombia South America in 1970.

Mr Oleo Strut 26th Oct 2014 01:26

Many thanks for your comments. They reminded me that WA was the Herald that took the Duke of Edinburgh down to South America in 62 on a big sales tour, and I think WC was earmarked as back-up. I worked on them both at Woodley in preparation for the tour and well remember the luxurious fittings we had to fit to WA and how smart the old bus looked on departure. We hoped then that HP would get a contract for a military Herald, but despite very good results at the Martlesham Heath trials against the 748 politics decreed that the contract went to Avro and civil sales did not 'take-off', as it were.

Mr Oleo Strut 26th Oct 2014 02:11

Yes, sadly the Herald was not a commercial success. At grass roots level at Woodley in my apprentice days we were all very optimistic. Sales prospects were said to be good for both civil and military versions, there was much international interest and positive results from the many sales tours. In retrospect I think we were deceiving ourselves. HP were not master salesmen, post-war UK governments were not on our side, the redesign to accommodate two turboprops and the sad loss of the prototype just before Farnborough all added up, and of course the manufacture of the the F27 under licence in the USA by Fairchild just overwhelmed HP. Old Sir Fred was a dear old chap, but he wouldn't agree to amalgamate and we all paid the price. Of course we did many other things at Woodley, including making many Victor bits, and refurbishing Hasting wings, but that early enthusiasm had gone. Strangely, at the very end of my time there we were clearing out old stores and burning documents and drawings, some from Miles days. One day we were told to take a load of old wooden wind-tunnel models out the back and burn them. Amongst them was a beautiful streamlined jet-fighter which much later I recognised as being the ill-fated Miles wartime supersonic jet, the MX52, the plans for which were given to the Americans by the government and resulted in the BellX1. Wish I'd kept that old model!

DaveReidUK 26th Oct 2014 19:55

One day we were told to take a load of old wooden wind-tunnel models out the back and burn them. Amongst them was a beautiful streamlined jet-fighter which much later I recognised as being the ill-fated Miles wartime supersonic jet, the MX52, the plans for which were given to the Americans by the government and resulted in the BellX1. Wish I'd kept that old model!
Happily an M.52 wind tunnel model survives at the Museum of Berkshire Aviation:


Mr Oleo Strut 27th Oct 2014 22:47

Thats it, it was a much smaller wooden model of which we apprentice lads burnt. What an amazing craft that was, though I wouldn't have wanted to be the pilot. After the war my father-in-law to be worked as an electrician at Miles but they knew nothing about it such was secrecy in those days. Many thanks.

LTNman 28th Oct 2014 19:09


Early days for Ryanair

OUAQUKGF Ops 28th Oct 2014 20:13

Another luverly photo from LTNman. In the Summer mornings at about 5a.m. we used to play football there on that very stand waiting for our Autair BAC1-11s to return from Alicante. Our Movement Control Office was just beyond the starboard wing-tip in what was the old terminal.

Mr Oleo Strut 28th Oct 2014 21:10

Yes, indeed, it was all about politics, as this extract from Hansard in 1962 reveals:
I remember the Martlesham Heath Herald/748 rough field trials and the high-altitude paratrooper trials, and worked on the Heralds involved. All successful for HP but of no avail. The politicians had made their minds up.

22/04 28th Oct 2014 23:57

Great picture of the TriStar LTN man!

So does my memory serve me right - the current TOM hangar site was at that time used by Court Line, with some funny docking doors for the TriStar tail.

So were Britannia totally in Hangar 89 ( hope I've got that right!) then.

So at some stage BY/TOM must have re-taken possession of that far side hangar. And my TOM friends tell it has been re-built on the same site.

And is/was it a Corporation hanger available for lease or something else

I'm sure you know - if not Buster or Vintage ATCO.

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