British Eagle DC-6 heading to Wales

One of the most signiicant propliners to have survived, Douglas DC-6A G-APSA is pictured at Coventry recently, wearing its glorious British Eagle livery, which it has now sported for a decade.

The former British Eagle Douglas DC-6A G-APSA, which was threatened with scrapping at Coventry during 2018, has been acquired by aircraft relocation and restoration specialists GJD Services and is scheduled to be moved by road to St Athan, south Wales, during the summer. It will then become one of the star exhibits in the South Wales Aviation Museum, which is being set up by GJD in conjunction with Horizon, a Cardiffand St Athanbased light training and aircraft engineering company.

GJD founder Gary Spoors says, “We have already been to Coventry and started to prepare the DC-6 for the move, taking out the loor and disconnecting all the engine controls. We will go back in April and start dismantling it for the move, which is dependent on inding the funding.”

Among the aircraft previously moved by GJD was the RAF Museum’s BAC VC10 C1K, XR808, from Bruntingthorpe to Cosford during the summer of 2015. GJD also owns VC10 K3 ZA147, which made the last ever light of the type from Brize Norton to Bruntingthorpe on 25 September 2013. It is hoped that this will also move to St Athan, funding permitting, along with Avro Shackleton MR3 WR974, which is owned by GJD and currently located at Bruntingthorpe.

The museum complex, at the Picketston Aerospace Business Park at the former RAF St Athan, will include education and training centres, the latter providing an opportunity for one-year post-GCSE and A-level placements, and a conservation centre for aircraft restoration. A visitor centre will display the history of RAF St Athan and aviation in Wales, and will incorporate a range of interactive displays.

Already at the Picketston site are a wide range of post-war RAF and Fleet Air Arm types, including de Havilland Sea Devon C20 XK895, Panavia Tornado GR1P ZA326,

There is plenty of land to accommodate these aircraft at St Athan. We would like this to develop into a national museum

McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG1 XV582 ‘Black Mike’, Hawker Hunter T7 XL573, and Fairey Gannet AEW3 XL500/ G-KAEW, which is being restored to lying condition.

Gary continues, “There is plenty of land to accommodate these aircraft at St Athan. We would like this to develop into a national museum sometime in the future.”

The GJD DC-6 was rolled out at the Douglas plant at Santa Monica, California in June 1958, and acquired by Eagle Airways in September of that year. It went on to ly with Cunard Eagle Airways from 1960-63, before Eagle founder Harold Bamberg bought back control from Cunard in the spring of 1963, forming British Eagle International Airlines.

Sold in Saudi Arabia in February 1964, G-APSA took up its original registration again in early 1987 when it was ferried back to the UK and put into service with Air Atlantique. Following use on freight and pollution control work, the machine was to become a popular sight on the airshow circuit, and in early 2008 was repainted in British Eagle colours. During July of that year, Bamberg was reunited with G-APSA at Blackbushe, the old Eagle Airways maintenance base, while in October it visited Berlin for the closure of Tempelhof Airport. Sadly, the ‘Big Doug’ was grounded at the end of the 2008 season after corrosion was found in the tail.

Tornado GR1P ZA326 and Phantom FG1 XV582 in one of the three hangars currently occupied by GJD/Horizon at the Picketston Aerospace Business Park at St Athan.