Aviation Historian 20
N.Stroud - Heathrow. The Roaring Forties /The John Stroud Archive/
Delivered to the USAAF in December 1943 as 42-100826, C-47A c/n 19289 participated in Operation Market Garden with the 92nd Troop Carrier Squadron in September 1944. After the war it became one of a batch of surplus C-47As supplied to Polish national airline Polskie Linie Lotnicze (LOT), with which it served as SP-LCE.
Proudly flying the Icelandic flag, Douglas C-54 TF-RVH (c/n 7485) of Loftleidir is refuelled at LAP in August 1948. Named Hekla in honour of one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes, the aircraft joined the Icelandic airline in June 1947. Leased to Seaboard & Western Airlines in 1951, it was destroyed by fire at Pisa in January 1952.
Sabena DC-4 OO-CBP (c/n 43009) trundles along the taxiway at LAP in 1948 with its outer Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines shut down. The aircraft came to an unusual end when it was destroyed by a bomb dropped by a Katangese Air Force Fouga Magister at Elizabethville, Congo, in September 1961, during political unrest there.
Another unusual type photographed at LAP by John Stroud was de Havilland Hornet F.3 PX396 in May 1948. The sleek but pugnacious-looking fighter may have been on its way to Linton-on-Ouse to join No 64 Sqn, with which it served with the codes SH-O. Note also two other de Havilland types in the background; nearest is a Mosquito, behind which is a Dove.
In April 1949 Pan American World Airways Boeing 377 Stratocruiser N1028V, named Clipper Flying Cloud, made the type’s UK debut at LAP, to great fanfare.
In April 1949 Pan American World Airways Boeing 377 Stratocruiser N1028V, named Clipper Flying Cloud, made the type’s UK debut at LAP, to great fanfare. John Stroud was invited aboard a flight down to the French coast, during which he got some "hands-on" experience of the Strat at 20,000ft, as seen in the photograph.
A veritable haven for propliners, Heathrow was a bustling hub of activity for the "big fours" of numerous airlines in the late 1940s, including the SNCASE SE.161 Languedocs of Air France (right) and the Lockheed Constellations of Air-lndia International.
A splendid shot of BOAC L-749A G-ALAM (c/n 2554), named Belfast, beside the BOAC hangars during one of John Stroud’s 1948 visits to LAP. Originally EI-ADA St Bridget with Aerlinte Eireann (Aer Lingus’s subsidiary for transatlantic services), the aircraft joined BOAC in June 1948. It crashed at Kallang, Singapore, in March 1954.
Thick smoke billows over the leading edge of Air-lndia International Lockheed L-749 VT-CQR’s port wing as its No 1 Wright R-3350 twin-row 18-cylinder supercharged radial piston engine is run up before departure from Heathrow in 1949. Named Rajput Princess, this Connie was delivered to Air-lndia International in February 1948.
Panair do Brasil was the first airline outside the USA to operate the Constellation, and received its first examples in March 1946. Originally serving with Pan American as N88865, L-049 c/n 2066 was sold to Panair in October in 1947 to become PP-PDA. Sadly, it crashed near Sao Paulo, killing all 17 aboard, on June 17, 1953.
An imposing view of Trans-Australia Airlines Convair 240 VH-TAQ, which became the first of the type to visit Europe when it arrived at LAP on August 28, 1948, on its delivery flight from San Diego to its new owners in Australia.
Named John Forrest in honour of the Australian explorer, Convair 240 VH-TAQ (c/n 64) was the first of five to be delivered to Trans-Australia Airlines. Fitted with extra fuel tanks, it was flown by TAA’s chief pilot, John Chapman, on a route through Europe and the Middle East to Melbourne, where it arrived on September 7, 1948.
Avro Yorks framed by the fin of a Trans-Canada Air Lines North Star at Heathrow in 1948.
It was not all scheduled arrivals and departures at LAP in the late 1940s; among the numerous piston­liners could be found the occasional item of real exotica, including the Rolls-Royce Nene-engined Vickers Viking, VX856, the world’s first pure-jet-powered transport aircraft, which John Stroud snapped at LAP on August 31, 1948.
Bearing Norman Rissen’s distinctive “speedman” logo for BSAA on the nose, Avro York G-AHFE awaits another flight to South America. Named Star Vista in BSAA service, the aircraft joined the airline in 1946, but was transferred to BOAC in the summer of 1949. After a move to Skyways in 1955, it was scrapped at Stansted in 1960.
The vast majority of Air France’s post-war European routes were served by its fleet of SNCASE SE.161 Languedocs, which entered service with the airline in 1945. The Gnome-Rhone 14N engines initially fitted to the type proved troublesome, and in 1946 were replaced by Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasps. This example, F-BCUB (c/n 28 ), joined the Air France fleet in November 1947.
Delivered to the RAF in March 1946, Avro Lancastrian C.2 VM738 served with No 231 Sqn before being sold to BSAA on February 18, 1948. Bearing civil registration G-AKTB and named Star Glory, it is seen here at LAP on August 31, 1948, in an unsual colour scheme. It went to Flight Refuelling Ltd in 1949 and was scrapped in 1951.
Lancastrian 1 G-AGMJ, named Naseby in BOAC service, was one of 20 taken from the tail end of Lancaster production and converted for civil use for the airline. The type was far from economical, being fitted with only nine seats, but earned a high degree of prestige by offering a three-day service from London to Sydney.