Aviation Historian 23
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B.Turpin - 748 into Africa
A very welcome diversion at Yaounde was Boeing B-17G F-BEEA of the French Institut Geographique National (IGN), which was engaged on aerial survey work at the time. The aircraft, originally built as 44-85643, was operated by the IGN during 1947-89. Sadly, it was destroyed in a non-fatal take-off accident at RAF Binbrook in the UK during the filming of the 1989 film Memphis Belle.
A typical bird’s-eye-view of the apron at Douala Airport, the French influence being much in evidence with the presence of a Nord Noratlas, Dassault Flamant and Max Holste Broussard, alongside a pair of Cameroonian Air Force Douglas DC-3s.
Southwest Airways DC-3 ZS-DJZ clatters overhead at the airstrip at Rosh Pinah before landing. The 748 took off from Windhoek before the Dakota, but overtook it en route and had landed, shut down its engines and disgorged its passengers by the time the DC-3 arrived.
INSET Probably the most remote airstrip of the whole African tour was Rosh Pinah in South West Africa, an important settlement for the mining of zinc, lead, copper and diamonds.
A typical bird’s-eye-view of the apron at Douala Airport, the French influence being much in evidence with the presence of a Nord Noratlas, Dassault Flamant and Max Holste Broussard, alongside a pair of Cameroonian Air Force Douglas DC-3s.
A typical bird’s-eye-view of the apron at Douala Airport, the French influence being much in evidence with the presence of a Nord Noratlas, Dassault Flamant and Max Holste Broussard, alongside a pair of Cameroonian Air Force Douglas DC-3s.
One of the 748’s rare visits to Yagoua in northern Cameroon, with the locals taking a keen interest in the aircraft. Having made its maiden flight on September 5, 1967, G-AVRR was used extensively by the manufacturer for trials and demonstration duties throughout 1968, during which it paid visits to numerous countries including Eritrea, Egypt, Italy, France, Cyprus, the USA and Canada.
With the Outeniqua Mountains rising majestically in the background, 748 Series 2A c/n 1635 - by this time wearing South African civil registration ZS-IGI in order to satisfy local legal requirements - awaits its next flight at George, on South Africa’s Western Cape, in December 1969.
INSET: One of the more remote airfields visited by 748 demonstrator G-AVRR during the 1969 sales tour of Africa was Yagoua in far northern Cameroon. The 5,340ft (1,630m) north-east/south-west grass runway was largely dust and scrub during the author’s comparatively few visits to the airfield.
Painted with Air Afrique’s legend on the fuselage and at this point still flying under its British registration, G-AVRR, the 748 made its first landing in Cameroon at Maroua, where various items were loaded and unloaded via the generously-proportioned forward freight door.
One of the regular stops on the Cameroonian routes flown by the 748 team during the November-December 1969 sales tour was Batouri, which, as seen here, offered rather primitive facilities, but which presented as few problems for the aircraft as the other "up-country" airfields it visited during the West African leg of the expedition.
Good use is once again made of the 748’s forward freight door during a stop at Ondangwa in South West Africa (Namibia), as the tour's chief pilot Harry Fisher looks on during the second half of the sales tour.
Southwest Airways DC-3 ZS-DJZ clatters overhead at the airstrip at Rosh Pinah before landing. The 748 took off from Windhoek before the Dakota, but overtook it en route and had landed, shut down its engines and disgorged its passengers by the time the DC-3 arrived.
INSET Probably the most remote airstrip of the whole African tour was Rosh Pinah in South West Africa, an important settlement for the mining of zinc, lead, copper and diamonds.
Wearing its South African registration, ZS-IGI, and with the legend “Hawker Siddeley 748” replacing its Air Afrique titles for the South African part of the sales tour, the 748 offloads its behatted passengers, and all the possessions they need for a year in the nearby copper and lead mines, at Ondangwa, South West Africa (Namibia).
Another item of interest photographed along the way was the Cameroonian Presidential Convair 440 TJ-AAD (c/n 440-439), which still retained its Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp piston engines. It was acquired by the Cameroonian government in September 1963 and later saw service with Belgian airline Delta Air Transport as OO-VGJ from 1974 and American Airlines Inter-Island as N44829. It remains on the "active" list in 2018 as XA-TFZ with Mexican airline Aero Cedros.
A typical bird’s-eye-view of the apron at Douala Airport, the French influence being much in evidence with the presence of a Nord Noratlas, Dassault Flamant and Max Holste Broussard, alongside a pair of Cameroonian Air Force Douglas DC-3s.
While visiting some of the more out-of-the-way locations during the sales tour, the author took the opportunity to photograph some of the exotica to be found at local airports, including Air Algerie Convair 640 7T-VAO, named El Oued, seen here being refuelled at Zarzaitine in eastern Algeria. Originally built as a piston-engined Convair 440 (c/n 440-409), it was re-engined with Rolls-Royce Darts in December 1968 and later went to the USA as N866TA.