Continuing from his previous looks back at scans from Heathrow Airport, Paul Filmer delves into his 1981 file.
Boeing 707-300 G-AXGX is seen here freshly painted and still carrying its old British Airways registration while being leased to the State of Qatar. A few years later it became A7-AAC when it was bought outright, and continued to be a regular Heathrow visitor afterwards. She was sold again as VR-BZA and flew in this basic scheme, with the titles and symbol blanked out, and was eventually sold to Grumman as part of the E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS) programme. This airframe was never used and was eventually scrapped at Lake Charles Chennault International Airport in Louisiana.
Viscount 806 G-APEY happens to be the same aircraft that carried out a series of flights for enthusiasts around the UK in October and November 1997 after the last scheduled services had stopped.
The aircraft ended up with Global Airways in the Democratic Republic of Congo as 9Q-CON in 2004. She was put up for sale in 2008, and was broken up later in that same year in Kinshasa.
Trident 1E G-ASWU is seen here sometime in June 1981 in a very sorry state before being fully scrapped and swept away.
I’m glad I was able to at least document some of the last sorry days of its history.
Syrian Air Force – marked as Syrianair – Il-76M YK-ATB may well still be active and was last reported at Vnukovo, Russia as recently as 2011.
Boeing 737-200 VR-BOX, as you can tell from the colour scheme, was ex-Kuwait Airways (9K-ACV). After serving with WestJet she was stored and eventually scrapped at Walnut-Ridge Regional Airport in Arkansas.
P-51D Mustang N6340T is seen here in one of the British Airways paint shops, to be painted up as “Moose“. She still flies as G-BTCD “Ferocious Frankie” in the UK, and is operated by the Old Flying Machine Company at IWM Duxford.
British Airways Super VC-10 G-ASGL is seen here ready to be towed out of the BA maintenance area to perform the very last VC-10 passenger flight for the airline. Below is a direct quote from the commemorative document that British Airways has in their archives.
“”The last scheduled British Airways VC-10 flight landed at LHR from DAR, JRO and LCA at 2250 on Sunday 29 March 1981; the aircraft was G-ASGF. On the following day (30 March) a special farewell flight was operated by Super VC-10 G-ASGL commanded by Captain W. Outram. The farewell flight was seen off by many LHR staff together with the BA band. It flew first to MAN, where a slow low-level fly-past was made, then to PIK for a fly-past then to Bristol and Farnborough, the weather preventing the planned salute to the Vickers factory and Brooklands. It landed at LHR on R10L at 1525.”
This aircraft then went on to serve with the RAF as a K.4 tanker and was eventually scrapped at St. Athan in 2006.
Iraq Air Force Il-76 YI-AIP, in Iraqi Airways colours, was returned to the Soviet Union in the late-’80s and became an engine test bed based at Zhukovski, and was used to mostly test propfan engines. After a long period of inactivity and with no engines, it was seen inside a hangar in 2013 being worked on.
Government of Papua New Guinea Gulfstream II P2-PNG is seen here at the old Bealine maintenance base. It was later converted to a Gulfstream IISP in 2001, but now currently sits parted out in Rantoul, Kansas as N89TJ.
This was almost all I shot at Heathrow in 1981, and goes to show that even when living very close with access, because of the cost of film and processing I didn’t make many trips, focusing more on military airfields in the UK.