A question about Channel Airways

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My question is: which year did East Anglia Flying Services first paint their aircraft in “Channel Airways” markings? I have read that the official name change to Channel Airways was in 1961 but I know I flew Channel Airways before that, from Southend to Jersey and return. It could not have been 1960 (the family holiday was in North Wales - I have notes on Llanbedr and RAF Valley) and, similarly, not 1961 either (the holiday was near Bournemouth with my noting visits to Hurn and Tarrant Rushton). I’m pretty certain that it was not as early as 1957, so that leaves 1958 and 1959. I’d probably plump for the latter but wondered if the adoption of the Channel Airways livery might provide a clue. Is there a website or some other source that might provide the answer.
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Profile picture for user Moggy C

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Wikipedia says October 62 was the legal name change but it seems the Channel Airways name was used on some aircraft and publicity from 1952 http://saadonline.uk/eafschannel Moggy
Profile picture for user ChrisD

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You may already be aware but just in case you weren't the Norwich Aviation Museum has an exhibition dedicated to Channel Airways so the answer to your question might be found there.

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Thanks for the replies. I wasn't aware that the Norwich Aviation Museum has a Channel Airways display, so that's useful to know. Though it's not exactly on my doorstep and it's many years since I've been in Norfolk, perhaps I'll get the chance to visit it some time. I had seen the SAAD webpages before but it was some time ago and I certainly hadn't picked up that the 'cheat' line came from the purchase of aircraft from BWAA. I got the '1961' date from another website, though I had doubts about its accuracy - as I recall, it said that Channel Airways' Vikings had previously been in the King's Flight, though I have no idea if that is correct. Our outbound journey from Southend was in a Viking. As it was my first flight, I can recall being taken into the cockpit. In Jersey, we first stayed in a hotel and went to the Battle of the Flowers, which was on the last Thursday of July in those days, I believe. The second week was spent in a holiday camp, which I recall being in the north of the island. There was a problem getting a taxi to the airport and we missed our flight back but were put on the next flight to Southend, which was in a Bristol Wayfarer. I had always assumed that this was simply because we had missed our flight but there is another possibility. Channel Airways' Viking G-AHPH crashed on 28 July 1959. If the holiday was in 1959, we would have gone to Jersey on Saturday, 25 July 1959 and returned on Saturday, 8 August 1959. The change in aircraft type could have been a consequence of that crash. Just a thought. Thanks again. Any other help would be much appreciated.
Profile picture for user Moggy C

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Some Vikings were indeed Kings / Queen's flight. I travelled in one in its later airline days. Moggy

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Thanks for the information, Moggy. I am not up-to-date with recent research or relevant publications but the March 1947 issue of THE INTER-SERVICES AIRCRAFT RECOGNITION JOURNAL has an article entitled "Return of the Vikings". It says, "The King's Flight is equipped with four Vikings C.Mk.II" and has a photograph of VL245 (bare metal, with just roundels and fin flash) The serial number is very large on the rear fuselage and is painted as "VL-245", rather in the style of civilian registration marks of that era. The editorial in the same issue says the Vikings in the King's Flight are similar to the Viking 1B airliners, differing in internal furnishings and external markings. It then mentions the large serial numbers, as if these were the norm. However ..... ... the next month's issue of AIRCRAFT RECOGNITION JOURNAL had a photograph of another Viking on the cover. The caption says, "H.M. The King's Viking" but the serial number, VL246, is quite small and further back along the fuselage, just in front of the tailplane. I can find no reference to this change of style in the text. Looking up Channel Airways' Vikings from the late-1950s, I have found four so far (G-AGRU, G-AHOZ, G-AHPH and G-AJJN) and none seem to have been bought from BWAA, though one was formerly with BWIA. Of the two Bristol 170s (G-AICT and G-AIFO), one was from BWAA. As these are the two aircraft types of direct interest to me initial question, I haven't looked for information on their D.H. Doves.
Profile picture for user Moggy C

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As an aside. The Viking in which I flew had a curved window at knee-level in the toilet, which meant you could sit on the 'throne' and watch France go by underneath. As at the time I was a spotty schoolboy you can imagine .... Well, make it up yourselves ;) Moggy

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A "loo with a view", no less. Incidentally, AEROPLANE SPOTTER for 5 April 1947 had a photo of a King's Flight Viking on its cover, too. It is also VL246 but it's a different photo from that on AIRCRAFT RECOGNITION JOURNAL. VL246 was apparently the Viking used by the King. It goes on to say that VL247 was used by The Queen, VL245 by 'passengers of State accompanying the Royal Party", and VL248 was "fitted as a mobile maintenance workshop for servicing the passenger carriers". AEROPLANE SPOTTER adds that, since the cover photograph was taken, "the Royal Crown crest has been painted on each side of the fuselage, just below the pilot's cockpit".

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This is getting a bit muddled. The company purchased 5 Doves & 2 x B170 from West African Airways Corpn. Initially just 2 Doves were placed in service in the light green cheat line of WAAC and near the nose a yellow ball (Elephant deleted). Then one of the B170 entered service in the same WAAC livery with 'CHANEL AIRWAYS' in quite small letters above the trim line. They then purchased 2 x Vikings from Eagle and these arrived with bottle green cheat lines - progressively the fleet assumed the bottle green cheat line & lost the 'yellow WAAC ball'. The 3 x ex Royal Flight Vikings were purchased & civilianised by Tradair - only when Tradair were taken over did they enter CW service. By this time the Channel cheatline had assumed the BEAC trim-line following the purchase of many BEAC Dc-3.

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Thank you, rochford, for the information. Sorry for the 'topic drift' but I found that interesting, too. Is it possible to say the dates (which year even) when these various livery changes took place? An Ian Allan publication (undated but apparently published in August 1959), says that the Channel Airways fleet, as at 1 June 1959, consisted of: >> Bristol 170 Mk.21: G-AICT and G-AIFO >> DH89 Dragon Rapide: G-AEMH and G-AKRN >> DH104 Dove: G-ANVU, G-AOBZ, G-AOZW and G-APAG >> Vickers Viking: G-AGRU, G-AHOZ and G-AHPH According to G-INFO, the first two Doves listed, G-ANVU and G-AOBZ, were acquired by EAFS in November 1954 and May 1955, being officially transferred to Channel Airways in November 1962, while G-AOZW and G-APAG were acquired in March 1957 and August 1957 respectively but were never officially transferred to Channel Airways ownership. May I ask which pair of Doves bore the light green cheat line? In 1957, roughly around the same time as the second pair of Doves was obtained, the two Bristol Freighters/Wayfarers were acquired, G-AIFO in April and G-AICT in September. Both were officially transferred to Channel Airways ownership in 1962. Of the two Bristol 170s, were both Wayfarers rather than Freighters and could you please advise which one bore the green stripe and the Channel Airways name? Of the three Vikings listed above, G-AHOZ and G-AHPH were bought from Eagle (in May and April 1958 respectively). I assume these were the two with bottle green cheat lines. G-AGRU was bought a little later, February 1959, from British International Airlines, a name that means nothing to me. Its address was Airways House on the Great West Road in Brentford, a name that I do seem to recall, however. Can anyone help me with British International Airlines Limited?

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The first Dove was G-AHRB which operated in the WAAC colours as did the other four & G-AIFO. G-AICT lingered for a while & entered service in the bottle green. The G-INFO dates are not really relevant as the Doves /B170 all came in VR-N marks & sat in the grass until needed. G-AGRU came from Kuwait Oil Co.

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oops - all 6 Doves operated in WAAC green

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Thanks, once again, rochford. I do understand that G-INFO gives the dates of British registration, not necessarily the dates when the aircraft were obtained, but presumed that the G-INFO dates were some indication as to when EAFS/Channel Airways started to use them in service. Was G-AGRU leased by Kuwait Oil or was British International Airlines a shell company they owned (no pun intended)?

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The first Dove in EAFS service was G-ANVU in the spring of 1955, followed shortly thereafter by G-AOBZ - Contemporary East Anglian Daily Times has a nice photo of NVU being prepared for service in the hangar at Southend. Goldilocks

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Yes, sorry but G-AHRB always gets forgotten.

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I did a bit of "internet trawling" a while back and one of the things I found was this postcard. It shows Viking G-AHPH, which was only in Channel Airways service from Spring 1958 to Summer 1959. It came from Eagle Airways and the stripe along the fuselage, presumably bottle green, is quite wide and at window-level. There is also a Union Flag on the fin, which does not appear to have been that common with Channel's aircraft. Was this livery used for just a brief period?
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And this is the Bristol 170 G-AIFO at Southend in the summer of 1963. There is a similar bold green stripe at window-level along the fuselage but it wraps round the nose and the registration is now within the width of the fuselage stripe. The airline name is smaller, the high wing making it impossible to paint it as on the low wing aircraft, and there is the large yellow and green 'flash' is on the tail

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I wish my Brother-in-Law would post on here. He worked on so many of the aircraft mentioned here, and has some fascinating stories to tell. With fond memories of Jackie Moggridge flying the Rapide and Dove.
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Not sure if this fits the timescales, but British International Airlines was the originally preferred name for British Latin American Airlines. Companies House vetoed the British International name, and of course BLAA actually started operations as British South American Airlines. BIA was retained as a dormant identity within the group, and was for a time the operating identity of the outfit better known as British West Indian Airlines, in which BSAA had a significant stake.