Boeing 707-323C G-BFEO (c/n 18691) was leased to Tradewinds in October 1977, previously having operated with Simba Air Cargo as 5X-UWM from 1975, before which it served with American Airlines as N7557A. It was in G-BFEO that the author had the unexpectedly exciting flight in March 1978 that he describes in this article.
Sub-leased to Sudan Airways in January 1980, G-BFEO was returned to Tradewinds two months later and operated with the company until it was withdrawn from use in 1985 and broken up for parts for KC-135s. The remains have been in storage at Davis-Monthan, Arizona, since April 1986.
Cut-price cargo operators based in the developing world and new UK regulations requiring the expensive hush-kitting of its 707s forced Tradewinds to cease trading in January 1986, when G-TRAD made the company’s last flight from Gatwick, as seen here. The company was acquired by new owners but lasted only until 1991.
One of Tradewinds’ 707s loads up at Gatwick. The company operated 707-300C-series aircraft, the “C” indicating "Convertible", a combined passenger/cargo variant which incorporated a 7ft x 11ft (2-1m x 3-4m) freight door in the port forward fuselage, as seen here. The Tradewinds examples had the cabin windows painted over.
The author in the left-hand seat of Sudan Airways 707-3J8C ST-AFB during a London-Frankfurt-Rome-Khartoum flight in November 1979, with copilot Jack Murrell.