Vickers Viscount. 1962.

Warszawa 2013-04-09

History Vickers Viscount Typ 804

183b Section 6.11.1962 year. Vickers Viscount Typ 804.

Vickers Viscount Type 700-810 aircraft are passenger machines powered by turboprop engines. Airplanes of this type were used in Poland by the national carrier PLL LOT.

Vickers Viscount Typ 700. 1980 year. The work of Karol Placha Hetman
Vickers Viscount Typ 700. 1980 year. The work of Karol Placha Hetman

Vickers Viscount for PLL LOT.

All the reasons why the communists decided to buy Vickers Viscount (1962) are unknown, and this was the time when only the correct technique from CCCP reigned in the Polish People's Republic. It should be assumed that the reason was the problems with accepting Russian planes at Western airports. Russian planes did not meet the standards of the West. At that time, the Polish carrier PLL LOT had the following machines: Ił-2 / DC-3, Ił-12 and Ił-14. The program of the Polish passenger plane WSK Okęcie OKL MD-12 has been canceled. In the period 1957 - 1966, LOT Polish Airlines also had Convair CV-240 aircraft. These were second-hand purchased machines. It was these machines that served the routes to the West of Europe, mainly to London. In 1961, LOT Polish Airlines enriched itself with three new Il-18 turboprops, but they were not allowed to land in Western European ports (at least initially), and Western travelers did not want to board them.

In March 1962, LOT Polish Airlines signed agreements to launch new cruise connections to Rome, Amsterdam and Cairo. There was a rumor that it was a shame to ship Convair CV-240 (?) On new routes, so a new plane was needed. Initially, it was planned to buy new machines (after all, Vickers Viscount was still in production). However, the communists decided to purchase three Vickers Viscount Type 804 machines, from the British company BUA (British United Airlines). The planes were about 5 years old. They flew on the inner lines of the British Isles. They had 56 passenger seats. Their cruising speed was twice that of the Il-12 / Il-14 aircraft. There was a rumor that the deal was a special occasion. But, the occasion was BUA's approval to sell these machines to a communist country. The fact is that the price of the planes included the replacement of passenger seat upholstery with a new one, in the colors of LOT Polish Airlines.

Importantly, the planes had radar stations (weather radars). But the communists were reluctant to pay for this equipment, considering it an excess, so the machines were delivered without this equipment. As it turned out, this had far-reaching consequences. There is, however, a second possibility; that BUA did not obtain permission to sell machines with radar stations, as these could be used for military purposes. In the third possibility it is said; that the radar stations were already obsolete and the planes had to be fitted with new ones, those that were installed in the newly produced copies. These stations were manufactured by the USA and would require approval from the US administration, which would allegedly be lengthy, costly and would require additional crew training. There is also information that the money was allocated to the purchase of radar stations, but was allocated to the purchase of start-up compressors to equip several airports in Poland. How it really was, we will probably never find out.

In September 1962, a group of 15 Polish airmen left for the UK. Almost all of them had air travel of more than 1,000,000 km. There were also those who gained the first million kilometers even before the German army attacked the Republic of Poland. The whole group successfully passed the theory. The flights turned out to be a novelty, because the English used the ILS system as standard. In 1960, the ILS system was purchased for Okęcie Airport, but it was not installed until the end of 1962. Apparently, there was no cable that had to be bought in the West for foreign currency! The English were amazed how Polish pilots landed smoothly using the NDB system, which was archaic there. And in Poland it was used for the next 50 years (!).

After eight weeks (November 1962), the management of PLL LOT arbitrarily stated that "Polish crews are well trained and can return to the country." However, the English said the training was not completed and they did not issue a license. However, they could not stop the transfer of the planes. The English also offered to delegate instructors to Poland. Also, the management of PLL LOT did not agree to such a solution. The whole thing had a second bottom. The management of PLL LOT was afraid that the pilots would like it in the West so much that they would not want to return to the country. In order to improve the mental comfort of the airmen, the management of LOT Polish Airlines decided that the crews would temporarily be three people, although the plane was piloted by a two-person crew as a standard.

Airplanes were assigned registration marks; SP-LVA, SP-LVB and SP-LVC. The first plane landed in Warsaw on November 6, 1962 and received SP-LVA registration. The second one landed on November 27, 1962 (SP-LVB). The third was delivered on December 22, 1962 (SP-LVC). When on November 6, 1962 (Tuesday) Vickers Viscount SP-LVA landed at Okęcie Airport, it was greeted by the party authorities and residents of the capital. Extensive articles on this subject appeared in the newspapers. The airplanes were described very flatteringly. The next day (November 7, 1962) a propaganda flight took place.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman