C/N 150

Mk.101  -  G-APWB, HK-718

Herald C/N 150, a model 101, was the 2nd production aircraft built at Woodley making its first flight on 6th July 1961. Its Certificate of Airworthiness was issued on 27 July 1961 to Handley Page with the Herald being leased out immediately to Jersey Airlines. The lease to Jersey Airlines was required due to Handley Page being unable to meet the delivery deadline of the first Mk.200 Herald ordered by Jersey Airlines.

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G-APWB in the colours of Jersey Airlines at Gatwick sometime in the latter half of 1961. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

Returned to Handley Page in December 1961, along with sister Heralds G-APWC & G-APWD, it was sold on 5th January 1962 to the Ministry of Aviation for lease to British European Airways (BEA) for use on its Scottish 'Highland and Islands' routes, being handed over to them on 8th March 1962 with delivery to Renfrew a couple of days later on the 10th March.

 

G-APWB operated BEA's first Herald service on 16th April 1962 when it flew Renfrew-Edinburgh-Aberdeen-Wick-Kirkwall-Sumburgh. It gave the airline good service but in 1966 BEA decided to replace the Heralds with Vickers Viscounts. G-APWB flew its final BEA service on 29th October 1966, flying Sunburgh-Aberdeen-Abbotsinch.

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G-APWB In BEA colours at Glasgow, date unknown. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

On 17th November 1966 G-APWB was sold to Autair International Airways of Luton and made the ferry flight from Abbotsinch to Luton the next day, being registered to them eleven days later on the 28th November.

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Seen at Luton in late 1966, G-APWB awaits its turn to receive its coat of Autair blue. (Photo © Ian Haskell Collection)  

The Herald was soon painted in Autair's smart two-tone blue scheme and happily flew for them to many locations all over the UK and Europe.

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G-APWB in Autair colours on the ramp at Basel in March 1968. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

The Autair International name disappeared over the winter of 1969/70 with the company being rebranded as Court Line. Registration of the Herald was amended on 5th December 1969 to Court Line Aviation Ltd as owners, being transferred to Court Line Aviation, Luton, as the operators on 1st January 1970. The Herald however was already considered surplus to requirements and was put up for sale by Clarkair International (Services) Limited who had been contracted to dispose of all three of Autair's Herald 101's together with spare engines, parts, air crew and engineering support. Taking up space on the apron at Luton all three Heralds were flown to East Midlands Airport in April 1970 for storage.

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G-APWB seen parked outside the Field Aircraft Services hangar at East Midlands Airport shortly after arrival for storage in April 1970. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

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Now with titles painted over, at the start of the summer G-APWB was moved out the way onto some grass awaiting a purchase. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

During summer 1970, Colombian airline, Lineas Aereas La Urraca showed interest in purchasing all three of the Autair Heralds. A deal was duly agreed and the aircraft were overhauled and painted at East Midlands Airport by Field Aviation Services. Having been placed on the Columbian register as HK-718, G-APWB was the last of the three aircraft to be delivered, leaving the UK for the long flight to South America on 10th November 1970. 

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The first colour scheme worn by La Urraca's Heralds was pretty vibrant as can be seen here on HK-718 taxying at Cortissoz in February 1972. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

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In contrast to the photo above, by November 1972, when this photo was taken at Villavicencio, HK-718 had received a colour scheme alteration. The cheatline position on the nose had been amended with a loss of the painted lower fuselage and engine nacelles. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

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HK-718 at a wet Bogota in May 1973. Note that the company titles had not been reapplied to the lower fuselage, La Urraca instead opting to place them above the cheatline on the forward fuselage. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

Due to the incorrect installation of the starboard main gear lock down mechanism, HK-718 was damaged landing at La Macarena on 30th July 1973 when the starboard main gear collapsed. With work required to ferry the Herald back to Villavicencio complete, it flew back to its home base in order for the permanent repairs to take place.

 

Then, on 2nd November 1973, following replacement of a broken hydraulic pipe, the crew reported a burning smell while operating a sector from Aracua to Cucuta. They also discovered that the undercarriage was still extended even though they had a retracted indication. The crew elected to divert to Villavicencio for some visual fly-overs prior to attempting a landing. During the final approach the No.1 propeller had been feathered and on touch down the pilot advanced both throttles causing the aircraft to swing to port. The wing hit the ground and a fire broke out destroying the aircraft. Three of the crew of four and three of the twelve passengers were fatally injured. The accident report cited a lack of maintenance and poor training procedures as the cause. 

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Sometime before the end of July 1973, HK-718 had received its third and final La Urraca scheme, this rather attractive three-tone green colour scheme which was at the time in line with the bright colours being introduced across all aircraft in their fleet. This rare photo of HK-718 in these colours was taken at Villvicencio in September 1973, likely just a week or two before the aircraft was written off. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

Timeline

1961 July 6                 -   First flight from Woodley Aerodrome, Nr Reading, Berkshire

1961 July 27               -   Leased to Jersey Airlines from Handley Page

1961 December        -   Returned off-lease from Jersey Airlines

1962 January 5          -   Sold to the Ministry of Aviation for lease to British European Airways (BEA)

1962 April 16             -   Operated BEA's first Herald service

1966 October 29       -   Made its last service for BEA

1966 November 17   -   Sold to Autair International Airways Ltd

1970 April                   -   Taken out of service with Autair and flown to East Midlands Airport for storage and onward sale

1970 November 10   -   Departed the UK on delivery to Lineas Aereas La Urraca as HK-718

1973 July 30                -   Damaged when starboard undercarriage collapsed landing at La Macarena

1973 November 2      -   Written off landing at Villavicencio