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G-AMSV Returns to Coventry

An old friend returned to Coventry yesterday when G-AMSV, in her striking Indian Air force livery, landed here for extensive maintenance by our engineers. Sierra Victor was part of the Air Altantique fleet here for many years. She'll...

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Baginton Air Pageant

The initial details for the Baginton Air Pageant are up on the website! As we don't have the space for a full-on air show attracting 20,000 or so people, we're aiming for low-key, themed days like this. A couple of thousand people,...

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Newquay Pleasure flights

We promised we'd be back to fly in Cornwall, and here we are. We'll be heading south with a Rapide and Chipmunk to spend a week at Newquay from 25th July, with a further visit planned in August. The flights are bookable in the normal...

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New Dakota Book

Geoff Jones just told me that his new book on the DC-3, released to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Dak's appearance, is now available. The cover sports a lovely shot of G-ANAF, shot by Simon Westwood before her radome goiter was...

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Nimrod Engine Run

We've just confirmed plans by NPT to run all four of the Nimrod's Rolls-Royce Speys on Saturday 9th May. We expect the thunder to start just after lunchtime. Come along and enjoy some audio power - and please dip into your pockets...

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G-ANAF at rest

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G-ANAF (affectionately referred to as ‘Ganaph’ by the Classic Flight team and volunteers) began life in 1944. Built at Douglas Aircraft’s Santa Monica plant in California it was issued the USAAF serial 44-77104 and taken on charge in June 1945, just after the end of the war in Europe. With a diminished need for transport aircraft the aircraft was immediately transferred to the Royal Air Force and became KP220.

After six months in Canada, KP220 arrived in the UK where it joined the strength of 435Sqn Royal Canadian Air Force, coded OFM-R, and operated from the old Croydon Airport. After a year of mundane duties KP220 was selected to become the personal aircraft of the Air Officer Commanding 46 Group RAF. She was clearly in good condition as it was later moved to RAF Bassingbourn (the wartime home of the B-17 Memphis Belle) and allocated to 24 (VIP) Sqn. It was coded ODA-H and served with the squadron until it was finally retired in November 1950.

Like so many ex-RAF Dakotas KP220 was flown 22 Maintenance Unit (MU) at Silloth in Cumbria where it awaited its eventual fate. Unlike many of its compatriots KP220 was saved from the scrap man and after a period of storage at Silloth she was purchased by a BKS Aerocharter Ltd in June 1953. The same month she appeared on the British< civil register as G-ANAF and was named ‘Jean Batten’ in recognition of the famous aviatrix.

The company was later renamed BKS Air Transport Ltd and they operated ‘Alpha Fox’ until November< 1958 when she was sold to Hunting Aero Surveys Ltd (later Hunting Surveys & Consultants Ltd). Hunting operated G-ANAF until April 1973 but it wasn’t until March 1977 that it was finally registered to its subsequent owner - Westcountry Aircraft Servicing Ltd at Exeter. They didn’t hang onto the aeroplane for long though because< in October of the same year it was transferred to the up and coming Air Atlantique Ltd!

Air Atlantique initially used the aeroplane on ad hoc charter work but it eventually found its niche delivering the mail on a contract from the Post Office. G-ANAF continued in this role under the Air Atlantique banner until June 1985 when the post contract – and G-ANAF – were transferred to subsidiary company Air Luton. It was reportedly operated for a short period by Topflight Aviation Company Ltd but the aircraft was never registered to that company, which in any event ceased trading in 1987.

Later in 1987 interest was expressed in G-ANAF by an American company called the Starflite Corporation. The Miami-based company got as far as registering the aircraft as N170GP but the sale subsequently fell through and G-ANAF stayed in Britain. She returned to the British civil register – this time registered to Atlantic Air Transport Ltd (part of the Air Atlantique Group).

After many years successfully plying her trade as a freighter G-ANAF was selected to be converted for use in Radar trials. A large radome was designed and fitted beneath her ‘chin’ and a variety of external aerials adorn the fuselage. On board test equipment was fitted within the cabin and the aircraft has been used< successfully to test Radar systems developed by both Racal and Thales. An auxiliary power unit was also fitted to the side of the fuselage when the internal power supply was found to be inadequate to run the increasingly powerful Radar sets.

Today G-ANAF is finished in a stunning red and black colour scheme and continues to earn her keep as a dedicated trials aircraft.