Those Were the Days!!!! Aviation from the Archives 1967 part 3

In the third of a 4 part series branch chairman Brian Richards takes a look back at the Aviation events of 1967 from July to September.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS!!!!  July 1967

As always STN visitors in July 1967 were varied with F-BJLQ a Jodel DR1050 on the 9th bound for Toussus, recently registered HS125 G-AVGW crew training on 10th, short-term resident Cessna SX-ADN departing home after overhaul, RAF Comet 4C XR396 in from Germany 23rd and another light single PA-28-235 SE-FMU on the 27th. Southend residents would have been rudely awaken on 3rd when Shackleton MR.2 WG555 visited from Ballykelly, and even more noise followed 2 days later when it returned with WL755. Another military visitor was Scout XV121 on 5th which day also saw PA-28-180 HB-OYO on the ramp. Two rotorcraft arrived 10th with S-61N G-ATBH of BEA from Rotterdam and Hughes 500 G-ASTZ. The next day two French visitors were a wonderful Twin Bonanza F-BAUA and DC-3 F-BAXR.Elsewhere in the London area 3 Sudflug DC-7C were at LTN; D-ABAS (16) D-ABAN (24) D-ABAR (30). The Mahdi of Sudan’s Beagle 206 ST-ADA graced the tarmac 26th and 5N-AET HS125 made the short hop from Hatfield 5th.  LHR saw 4 new B707s in the month; EI-APG Aer Lingus, N5771T TWA, N422PA and N423PA of PanAm. Likewise 4 new Iberia Caravelle visited, EC-BDD,BIB,BIC.BID. Sadly EC-BDD crashed just a few months later on 4/11 when flying from Malaga to LHR. It descended well below its assigned altitude and flew into Blackdown Hill in West Sussex killing all 37 on board. Also at LHR two unusual GA visitors were 5Y-AGL Cessna 185 airfreighted in by Seaboard World DC-8 and 5H-MNK, a Twin Otter on its delivery flight to EAAC. Finally Pacific Western Hercules CF-PWO arrived on a Trans Mediterranean charter – this also went to LGW in the month which airport witnessed two Beavers on the 19th, EL-AGA and 9L-LAB. Very tasty!

On the UK Register it was much the same as always as the US manufactured GA influx continued unabated with 15 PA-28 for new Piper Distributor Finance & General Hire who, I am delighted to say, just happened to have taken over the Air Couriers hangar at my then local airfield, Biggin Hill. On the British side a batch of 7 125s were registered, interestingly four as DH 125 Ser 3A and the later 3B models designated as HS 125 Ser 3B. Of local interest G-APTA Viscount 702 was restored (ex VP-BBW) for Channel AW at SEN, and of considerable excitement to airliner enthusiasts were the 4 allocations G-AVRL-VRO as Boeing 737-204 for Britannia AW at LTN which caused much negative comment in Westminster with many MPs believing the airline should have been as patriotic as its name and bought the BAC 111.

However, UK built aircraft were stilling selling quite well with DH/HS125s being exported in this month to the USA (N1025C and N12225) and HB-VAY to Switzerland. HS748’s CC-CEC and CC-CED for  LAN-Chile were using Ringway for ILS runs pre-delivery, Super VC10 G-ASGG was handed over to BOAC and standard VC10 XV104 to the RAF. An earlier “nostalgia” reported 3 ex Bavarian DC3s going to SEN; these were sold in July to the South Arabian Air Force as 201,202,203 with 202 (ex G41-1-67) the first to be converted and rolled out. Without the political intervention suffered in the UK, orders for US built airliners were reaching astonishing levels. BOAC itself sought government permission to buy a second batch of 6 B747 (at a cost with spares of just £56 mio!), British Eagle ordered the B707, on 25/7 United alone exercised 25 options plus placed 54 new orders with Boeing (61) and Douglas (18).

Mid-67 witnessed the Montreal Expo and the new phenomena of Travel Clubs was most evident –  these used young in age and hours, multi-engine piston airliners that were no longer attractive to mainline airlines. Those visiting Dorval included DC-7Bs of Voyager Detroit (N835D), Nomads (N836D), Pegasus Club (N826D), Sky Safaris (N842D), Carolina Vagabonds (N51700),and Travelaires (N51701) and even more recent ex-Airlift DC-7C (N7006) of Club Internationale. Some of these made their way to the UK with their affluent members – I recall seeing at least one Nomads Travel Club aircraft at Gatwick.

On the military front the RAF announced this month that in 1968 Bomber and Fighter Commands would amalgamate into the new Strike Command. Transport Command would be re-organised and named Air Support Command. Regardless on name changes the RAF continued to receive its C130K’s at an impressive rate with a further 3 delivered ex-Marshall’s. A Royal Navy advert of the time for aircrew quotes “as a married Lieutenant pilot of 25 you can earn up to £2,300 pa). Seems paltry by today’s standards – but at least the RN had planes to fly then! – but another advert in the same Air Pic quoted just £957 for a fully qualified ATCO salary.

Overseas, on duty in the Gulf of Tonkin in support of the Vietnam conflict, a fire breaks out on carrier “USS Forrestal” on 29/7 which destroys 21 aircraft: sadly 134 men perish and a further 161 suffer injuries. Back in the USA on 18/7 the F-111 Aardvark entered service with 6 aircraft at Nellis AFB – this was solely for training purposes with initial operational capability not being achieved until 28/4/68 with 428th TFS. Somewhat oddly, 6 aircraft were detached to Vietnam a month earlier than operational capability being formally declared for testing under real combat conditions. Three were lost in the first month but through a malfunction of the horizontal stabiliser and not through enemy action. It was not until 3 years later that the modified F-111 became fully operational with 474 TFW. The following year, 1972, the F-111 was redeployed to Vietnam where this time it was a great success as it could carry 4 times the bomb-load of a F-4, and F-111s suffered just 6 operational losses in over 4,000 missions.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS!!!!  August 1967

August started well at STN with the arrival on the 1st of N190Y and N400E, On Mark Marksman executive conversions of the A.26 Invader and both owned by Occidental Oil and based in Tripoli. To me one of the sexiest biz props ever and I was fortunate to see both at LGW.  New STN based biz turbo was the arrival on 8th of Fords Gulfstream I G-ASXT, but of more relevance to our foundling branch was on 22nd when Hastings TG581 arrived from Colerne for the Fire School thereby being in the grounds (until burned) of our original branch meeting premises. A few days before was Martin Air (the then name) DC-6 PH-MAM on a charter and crew training saw British Eagle BAC 111 G-ATPI on 28th and the following day Ghana A/W VC-10 9G-ABP. OE-FLT Aero Commander 680FLP also on 28th made a brief transit en route Vienna to Lulsgate.

SEN witnessed many GA visitors during the month including D-EJFY Bo 207 and D-ILDI Queen Air 65 (both 3/8), D-EMSE Rallye (11) D-EJNI Cessna 172 (16) OE-DOR Cessna 210 (25). Bigger traffic were Air Ferry DC-4 G-ASFY (25), Transavia DC-7 PH-TRC and Spantax DC-4 EC-AUY (both 26). LTN on 6th saw Sudflug DC-7s D-ABAC and D-ABAS, with Condor Viscount D-ANIP on 5th .  LGW visitors were mainly an amazing volume of single and light twin GA including HB-TRS Stinson 108, VQ-ZIW Cessna 180 and AP-AUY McKinnon Goose conversion. First time visits at LHR included N5772T Boeing 707 TWA, N8777 DC-8 Eastern, DC-9s I-DIKA and SE-DBE of Alitalia and SAS respectively. Lighter visitors were Cessna 310L CN-TZN, Baron F-BMCT and Gulfstream I N18N.

The UK Register had the usual batch of new Cessnas for Rogers at Cranfield, 5 new AB206s for Bristow, a rare Hiller FH1000 G-AVTG, Piaggio P166B G-AVSM (delivered to its LTN base 25th), demobbed Anson G-AVTA, Bensen gyro with floats G-AVST and the final production Heron G-AVTU destined for the RMAF. Cancellations in the month included no less than 3 from my then local BGN – Cessna 172 G-ARWC (overshot DBR), Cessna F150F G-ATRJ (T/O incident DBR) and Aircoupe G-ARXR (T/O accident DBR).

Halfpenny Green hosted the Goodyear Trophy Air Race and saw winner Bo208 G-ASFO closely followed by one week old Rollason Condor G-AVOH (hopefully not a new engine at max revs). Some 3 Ansons were present.

On the manufacturing front Mohawk’s BAC 111 N1122J F/F 10th with Engelhard’s N270E maiden flight just 2 days earlier. Three DH 125 deliveries were G-AVRI and VRJ via Prestwick to the USA and F-BOHU LTN to Marseilles (24). Just two HS748 delivered, )Y-DFV for Falckair (4) and VQ-FAL to Fiji A/W (27) but Philippine A/L announced an order for 6 plus 15 options and two more for Mount Cook A/L.. The other way saw the sale for 9/67 and 10/67 delivery of 4 TAA Viscounts to Keegan Aviation at LTN. In the US Cessna delivered a its 75,000 aircraft ( a 337 model) just 39 years after its founding – this included; over 14,000 172 and nearly 10,000 each of the 150 and 182 types.

A notable first flight on 18th was prototype Jetstream G-ATXH orders were reportedly 165 so far with Handley Page stating it was tooling up for a production run of at least 500; history show this to be overly optimistic. Also totally optimistic was BAC announcing potential sales of its drawing board Two-Eleven twin jet of up to 500 with BEA ready to order 12 for 1972 delivery. In the end politics played a major part in the premature failure of both types. Another BEA plan not to materialise – but not too surprisingly – was to purchase 10 Polish built Mil Mi-2 helicopters “as they are cheaper than Western equivalents”.

On 25th the Royal Navy re-commissioned 890 Squadron at Yeovilton, equipped with Sea Vixen FAW.1s but soon to be replaced by the upgraded FAW.2 version.  Overseas at Khormaksar, Aden. 84 Sqdn RAF began re-equipping with Andover C.1s to replace the long obsolescent Beverleys. These joined the Andovers already with 46 Sqdn at Abingdon and 52 Sqdn FEAF in Singapore. The MoD entered discussions with Sweden for the possible purchase of SAAB 37 Viggen, and overseas the Imperial Iranian AF doubled its orders for the F-4 Phantom to 32.

Another Phantom story is that on 10th an F-4B of VF-142 flying from USS Constellation shot down 2 MiG 21s over North Vietnam using its Sidewinder missiles. The following day F-105s of the 355 TFW dropped over 100 tons of bombs to cut the Paul Doumer Bridge in Hanoi. Elsewhere U.S. Marine Corps Captain Stephen W. Pless, piloting a UH-1E attack helicopter near Quang Ngai, South Vietnam, drives Viet Cong forces away from Americans stranded on a beach and then lands under heavy fire to rescue them. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions, and his crew received the Navy Cross

This month the US government announced that so far in the Vietnam war its forces had lost a staggering 2,393 aircraft and helicopters but only 612 of them actually in action over North Vietnam. Some 193 aircraft plus 337 helicopters had been lost over South Vietnam and a staggering 672 aircraft/579 helicopters lost in Viet Cong raids on US airfields in the South.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS!!!!  September 1967

September 1967 saw more crew training flights at Stansted with Qantas 707s being particularly active; VH-EBM(13), EBK (19), EBF (20) and EBE (27) plus Ghana VC-10 9G-ABP on the 12th. British registered GA visitors were varied to say the least, ranging from Messenger G-AKKG (2) Hornet Moth G-ADUR (3), Spitfire G-AVAV (4) to PA-30 G-AYPF (22). A rare biz-jet movement for those days was inappropriately registered Fan Jet Falcon  F-BOLX (23). The month had started with Viscount G-APPC diverting in from SEN; reason not reported.

Elsewhere in the area LTN saw US Army Otter 55-3304 and Cessna 172F N17012, both on 12th, ex G-ASUW Riley Dove OO-BPL (28) and PA-24 F-BMST (7) and Fournier RF-4D G-AVNX on delivery. Airliners on the 3rd were more Sudflug DC-7s D-ABAK and D-ABAR plus Emerald AW DC-3 EI-ARR.  Gatwick saw its usual plethora of GA including 5 D- registered on 16th clearing customs en route to Redhill, I-ALJH Cessna 206 (24), I-UDEX PA-30 (9) EC-BJF Beagle 206 (30) and on the same day SV-4C G-ASHS and Zlin G-AVPZ to Biarritz (via a few stops I’d imagine). Coca Cola’s JetStar N679RW arrived 27th with HS.125s OY-DKP (24) and G-ASSM and G-AVPE (6). Military types were Israeli AF Stratocruiser 4X-FPZ (5) and Noratlas 4X-FAE (3), plus Imperial Iranian AF C-130E 5-110 (10).  LHR had a mixed collection including FAF Bretagne 24 (3), Queen Air G-AVNA delivery to Eagle’s, PA-30 N8422Y to CSE, and Gillette’s Gulfstream N15GP (22).  Three new B707s reported – AP-AUP (24), VH-EBV and N320PA.

The UK civil register was much of the same with 4 new Cessna for Northair G-AVUF-VUI, a batch of PA-28-140 for CES G-AVUP-VUU  and not much of real interest. G-AVUM Enstrom F28 was air-freighted via LHR, and Hughes 300 G-AVUM was registered to a Colchester owner. G-AMYV arrived at SEN 1st for conversion to Saudi Arabian AF as 204 and was duly cancelled from the register. Prentice G-AOMK was cancelled as wfu but sister ships G-AOPL and G-AOLU  were  exported as ZS-EUS and EI-ASP respectively. Two new residents at Stapleford were rebuilt PA-32s G-ATRX and G-AVTJ.

On the display front at Kidlington on 2nd spectators witnesses the rare sight of 6 Twin Comanches in formation, with Kaman HH-43B 24533 from nearby Upper Heyford amongst over 50 visitors. Blackbushe  hosted “Europe’s Biggest Air Show” the same weekend – this had no static display and featured the Tiger Club plus the Red Arrows and a few other mixed military and civil, but overall the title was a misnomer. Worse still at Booker the following weekend when 10,000 people turned up for an Airways Aero event, paid £1 for the privilege of parking and couldn’t get anywhere near the aircraft which happened to quite an impressive line up plus low runs by B707 G-APFF. The complaints about parking arrangements and no view sounds rather familiar to an event 50 years later at this airfield!

Not much reported about production lines but new orders announced were 1 B707 each for Sabena and TAP, the former also ordering another B727 as did Transair, a B737 for Canadian Pacific  and B747 for Alaska (was it ever delivered?). DC-9 orders included 1 for LAV Venezuela and 6 for Trans Australian. Braathens were the sole new customer for the F28 with 5 signed for, and likewise Philippine AL was the single order for 6 HS748. In the USSR the IL-62 entered service with Aeroflot, and at the lighter end the 1st Hansa entered service with Italcementi  and the US Army introduced its 1st Bell UH-1H.

As always my news sources for the military scene are rather thin so maybe a summary of Yeovilton’s Naval Air Day on the 9th is of interest. The static was Buccaneer S2 XV338, Hunter GA.11 WV256, Sea Vampire T22 WV256, Sea Devon XJ350, Jet Provost T4 XR660 and Sea Vixen FAW.2 XP956. Overseas visitors in the line up were USAF F-4C 40897 (from 81st TFW Bentwaters) and 3 Luftwaffe, F104G VA+120, G91R-3 BD+234 and P149D BD+392. The RN put up a formation that must have wowed (and deafened) the crowd, comprising 16 Sea Vixen, 6 Sea Venom and 3 Hunter T8. Other formations there included the Red Arrows and the Hunters of Rough Diamonds from Brawdy. The report states that the star attraction was the first public appearance of a Sea King, XV372!

I also have full reports for 9 separate Battle of Britain displays if anyone is interested  – I would have been at Biggin’s in case of any civvie visitors – where highlights included, at selected venues,  first appearances of 46 Sqdn’s Andovers, and 36 Sqdn’s  C130s and the emergence of camouflage on some Canberras and Argosies. At Abingdon to mark the imminent phasing out of the Beverley the heroic efforts of the ground crew meant 47 Sqdn managed to put up a formation of 5 of the type – quite a sight I’d imagine, and at St. Mawgan 4xShackleton T.4 took to the air before their retirement and the Nimrod took their place. Elsewhere there were the odd Hastings, Vampire T11 and Meteor T7 which still lingered on in service.