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On this date in aviation history… January 20, 1959…

The inaugural flight of the Vickers Vanguard; a Type 950 prototype G-AOYW, was a transfer to Wisley, 3 miles away.

BEA Vickers Vanguard G-APEC at London Heathrow Airport England

The Vickers Type 950 Vanguard was a British short/medium-range turboprop airliner.  It was introduced in 1959 by Vickers-Armstrongs, and designed to a BEA requirement for a 100-seat aircraft to replace their Viscounts.

V953C Merchantman of British Airways Cargo at Heathrow in the late 1960s

(Source – Wikipedia – photo attributed to John M Wheatley)

The Vanguard was introduced just before the first of the large jet-powered airliners; only 44 aircraft were built – ordered by Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA) and British European Airways (BEA).  Some years later, TCA successfully converted one of theirs to a freighter configuration, calling it the Cargoliner, and by the 70’s, most of the Vanguards were converted to freighters, those from BEA becoming the Merchantman. The freighters remained in service for a number of years, with the last one retiring in 1996.

Invicta International Vanguard G-AZRE at Pisa Airport in 1974

(Photo attributed to Pergiuliano Chesi)

Merchantman of Air Bridge Carriers, in DHL colours, landing at Manchester Airport in 1992

Vickers Vanguard 953C Merchantman Superb at Brooklands Museum, Weybridge

(Except as noted, all photographs are in the public domain)

Additional information may be found at –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vickers_Vanguard

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