C/N 163

Mk.204  -  G-ASBP, PI-C869

Herald C/N 163, a model 204, was the 7th built at Radlett making its first flight on 22nd September 1962. Ordered by British United Airways (BUA) on 16th March 1962 as their first VIP fit aircraft, following completion by Handley Page it was flown to Southend on 9th October 1962 as the cabin work had been contracted to Aviation Traders Ltd (ATEL). Once completed, the aircraft ferried back to Radlett from Southend on 22nd November 1962 with formal handover made to BUA on 26th November 1962. It entered service in the scheme seen below, notable for not carrying BUA titles

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G-ASBP wearing its BUA VIP scheme at Gatwick on 14th May 1964. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

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The original BUA VIP painting plans as draw by Handley Page (Reading) Ltd. (image © www.british-caledonian.com)  

In May 1963 G-ASBP flew newly-wed Princess Alexandra (first cousin of HRH Queen Elizabeth II) and the Honourable Angus Ogilvy on the second part of their honeymoon. BUA made a press release which stated:

 

"BUA Press Release

The newly-wed Princess Alexandra and the Honourable Angus Ogilvy will leave Dyce Airport, Aberdeen, on Saturday 4th May on the second part of their honeymoon.

The Aircraft

The Royal couple will fly in an executive Handley Page Dart Herald owned by British United Airways. The aircraft is handsomely appointed; its fuselage is divided into two main compartments - forward is a crew and staff position; to the rear is the executive suite which Princess Alexandra and the Hon Angus Ogilvy will occupy.

 

The furnishings of the executive compartment include a large sideboard unit; incorporating a cocktail cabinet; a reclining seat with its own writing table and a dining table with four adjustable arm chairs. The suite has its own separate washroom. The dominant colour is white, the fitted carpet is mushroom.

 

 

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Herald luxury! The VIP cabin of G-ASBP. (Photo © www.british-caledonian.com)  

The twin-engined turbo-prop Herald aircraft has a crusing speed of 275mph and in a normal configuration carries 50 passengers on short-haul routes. The interior of the British United Executive aircraft was designed and installed by Aviation Traders (Engineering) of Southend, a member company of the British United Group.

The Crew

Captain Leslie Matthey - is a Viscount Training Captain with British United; whom he joined in 1954 when Transair became members of the Group. During his career Captain Matthey has flown over 3 million miles and last year he flew King Hussein and Princess Muna of Jordan on their honeymoon.

First Officer William Mitchell has been with British United Airways for 12 years.

Engineer Officer Alan Daley is employed by Handley Page and kindly seconded by them to assist with the operation of the Herald.

Flight Hostess Joyce Ambler has been flying with British United for 10 years. Joyce is the sister of Eric Ambler, the well-known novelist and film writer."

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Captain Leslie Matthey, Flight Hostess Joyce Ambler, First Officer William Mitchell and Engineer Officer Alan Daley pose next to G-ASBP at Gatwick just before they flew to Scotland to host Princess Alexandra and the Rt. Hon Angus OgiIvy. (Photo © www.british-caledonian.com)  

In late 1965, Air Manila signed an agreement with Handley Page to acquire two Heralds. One of the requests made by Air Manila was that both aircraft should be delivered quickly but with this not possible as Herald production had slowed at Radlett due to the work being undertaken to upgrade some of the Victor bombers to tankers. In an attempt to satisfy Air Manila's request, Handley Page proposed the first aircraft order was fulfilled via the supply of a used Herald. Air Manila agreed to this and on 17th March 1966 Handley Page purchased G-ASBP back from BUA to become the first Herald for Air Manila.

With the aircraft back at Radlett, an overhaul, repaint and cabin reconfiguration was carried out. This took longer than expected but had been completed by late August 1966 which presented an opportunity to display the aircraft at the forthcoming Farnborough Air Show. The aircraft was placed on both static and flying display and having completed these duties finally made its way to the Philippines arriving in Manila on 21st October 1966. Upon arrival in the Philippines it was placed on the filipino civil register as PI-C869.

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G-ASBP in full Air Manila colours at the September 1966 Farnborough air show. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

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G-ASBP being put through its paces at the September 1966 Farnborough air show. (Photo © Martin Fenner Collection)  

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Now carrying the name 'Maguindanao' and its Filipino registration, PI-C869 is seen here at Manila on 17th January 1967. (Photo © Adrian Balch Collection)  

On 19th Novmeber 1970, Typhoon 'Patsy' or 'Yoling' as it was known locally, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines since records began in 1865 made land fall. PI-C869 was in a hangar at Manila airport at the time undergoing work and preparation for Air Manila to apply its latest colour scheme.  

 

With wind speeds of 130 mph or more recorded and Manila taking a direct hit, PI-C869 didn't stand a chance as the hangar collapsed around and on top of it. With the typhoon over it was clear PI-C869 had suffered extensive damage with Air Manila deciding it was uneconomical to repair. The battered Herald hung on to life though as it was used for spare parts to help keep sister Herald PI-C866 (later RP-C866) flying, finally being broken up in 1978.

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Screen shots taken from a local TV news station clearly show the damage inflicted on PI-C869  

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With the damage caused by the hangar roof collapse clearly evident, PI-C869 is seen at Manila in February 1975 slowly being robbed of useful parts to keep sister Herald        RP-C866 flying. (photo © Brian G Nichols)  

Timeline

1962 June 22              -   Placed on the British register as G-ASBP

1962 September 22  -   First flight from Radlett Airfield, Hertfordshire

1962 October 9         -   Flown to Aviation Traders Ltd (ATEL) Southend for installation of VIP cabin 

1962 November 22   -  Flown back to Radlett Airfield, Hertfordshire, following completion of VIP cabin fit

1962 November 26   -  Delivered to British United Airways (BUA) as G-ASBP

1963 May 4                -   Carried Princess Alexandra and Rt.Hon Angus Ogilvy on the second part of their honeymoon

1966 March 17          -   Purchased by Handley Page for onward sale to Air Manila

1966 September       -   Displayed at the Farnborough Air Show

1966 October 21       -   Arrived in the Philippines and registered PI-C869

1970 November 19   -  Damaged beyond economical repair when hangar collapsed on it during Typhoon 'Patsy'

1978                            -  Broken up at Manila International Airport