Canadian Airplanes: Vickers Viscount

e Vickers Viscount

(Alain Rioux Photo)

Vickers Viscount 757 (Serial No. 270), CF-THI, 8 May 2005. Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Rockcliffe, Ontario.

The Vickers Viscount is a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs. It entered service in 1953 and was the first turboprop-powered airliner. The Viscount was well received by the public for its cabin conditions, whichincluded pressurisation, reductions in vibration and noise, and panoramicwindows. It became one of the most successful and profitable of the firstpost-war transport aircraft;[445 Viscounts were built for a range ofinternational customers, including in North America.

TCA becamea prolific operator of the type, placing multiple follow-up orders foradditional Viscounts. By 1958 TCA had an operational fleet of 51 Viscounts.Aviation author Peter Pigott later wrote that: "For TCA and Vickers, theViscount was a public relations coup. Passengers loved the quiet ride andpanoramic windows. No other airline in North America flew turbo-prop airlinersthen, and no other British aircraft was bought by American airlines in suchquantity." TCA operated the Viscount for two decades until Air Canada (TCArelabelled with a name equally at home in English and French), ended Viscountservices in 1974. The type was replaced by the McDonnell Douglas DC-9.[58]RoutineFlight (1955) featured the TCA introduction of the Viscount in thisNational Film Board of Canada documentary.

TCA'sprocurement of the Viscount generated considerable interest from airlines andindustry figures across the United States, including American aviation pioneerHoward Hughes; Hughes purchased 15 Viscounts immediately after personallyflying one. (Wikipedia)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584762)

Vickers Viscount, Rockcliffe, 23 Mar 1953.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo 3580129)

Verna Kirkness, Rosalie Kirkness and an a flight attendant standing by the ramp of an Air Canada Vickers Viscount, April 1967.

(Nino Blazanovic / ConcordeNick ArtPhoto)

Vickers Viscount 757 (Serial No 279), 637, CF-THS.  Trans-Canada Air Lines was the first airline in North America to use turboprop aircraft. Not long after, many other American passenger airlines discontinued the use of piston-engined aircraft in favour of this new technology.  This British-built aircraft was operated by Trans-Canada Air Lines (later Air Canada) and entered into service in April, 1955, on scheduled flights between Montreal and Winnipeg.

The turboprop Viscounts were favoured for their speed, quietness and lack of vibration. The fleet of 51 Viscounts were used on all of TCA’s short-haul routes. This Viscount is likely intimately familiar with its home, as it operated from TCA’s Winnipeg hangar (now the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada) for many years.  The tail fin is higher than the hangar doors, so in order to move the aircraft in and out of the hangar, the nose wheel had (has) to be jacked up. TCA had a special jack for this purpose. It is on display adjacent to the Viscount. The aircraft on display was delivered to TCA in February, 1958 and was used until May, 1971. It found its permanent home at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada in 1984. (RAMWC)

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