It might be worth posting your request on here
A lot of current and former aircrew frequent this group.
Seeking the whereabouts of Captain Harry Chang who was with Lloyds International before he joined Macedonian Aviation at Southend in the 1970s to establish Dakota and Dove ops. I particularly remember him rescuing 30 British wedding guests from Beirut airport in 1972 immediately after the Munich massacre and Israeli aircraft were attacking the airport. He flew Macedonian DC3 G-AMPO from Gatwick via Brindisi to Beirut to collect the passengers who were hiding in beach huts by the airport perimeter fence. With engines still running and a scramble on board was escorted by Israeli aircraft towards Nicosia
and the wedding continued at the Dome hotel in Kyrenia Cyprus. Harry must be getting on by now so I hope someone has information on him.
It might be worth posting your request on here
A lot of current and former aircrew frequent this group.
Its not dripping oil ! She is marking her territory
I may be getting older but I refuse to grow up
Flight to Beirut sounds like a great script for a film !
I will do just that.
Argonaut. You are right about a potential film script! The flight from Beirut to Nicosia was seriously scary as I was one of the wedding party pinned down by gun fire on the beach and what a wonderful sight see the Macedonian Dak with the Union Jack emblazoned on it's side swooping low over the beach and landing on the perimeter track at Beirut airport. Harry Chang kept the engines running and I have never seen 30 passengers embark an aircraft so quickly EVER!! Great celebrations at the Dome hotel Kyrenia that night. Harry was the star.
Brilliant story, great that you all made it out safe. One exciting wedding, I don't fancy anybodies chances in the same circumstances these days. Can't see a B737 or Airbus doing the same thing !! Maybe the BBMF Dakota.
I lived to see another day but certainly the incident is clear in my mind.
You are right. Only enterprising and courageous pilots the like of Harry Chang
would fly into a situation like that. It only took one call from Beirut to Harry in the UK and the DC3 G-AMPO was on it's way within an an hour. As you say with H and S and 'you can't do that' today this would never happen now.
Photo of G-AMPO in its earlier life with Starways, sorry don't have a photo in Macedonian colours. Thought you would like to be re united !
Many thanks for Starways photo of G-AMPO.
I have one here of her at Southend in 1973. I also have an original oil on canvas painted by the well known aviation artist John Young of G-AMPO leaving Beirut for Nicosia in 1972 which was specially commissioned by one of the passengers who was a reporter at the Daily Express.
Very good, well done.
It was interesting reading about G-AMPO's flight from Beirut under gunfire after the Israelis attacked the airport following the massacre of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. I have attached a painting by the renowned aviation artist John Young of that event. It depicts Dakota G-AMPO fleeing Beirut and the Corniche seafront can be seen in the painting
Roger Byron-Collins and I became good friends whilst his father Arthur was stationed with 78 squadron flying Twin Pioneers in Khormaksar Aden between 1960 and 1962. I have followed his career in dealing with ex military housing over the past 35 years and his involvement in Aviation. He loved his Doves and Daks and here is some information about his history in this sector.
Roger Byron Collins wished to obtain a PPL when he was just 17 years old and decided shortly after he started his course at Denham airfield Uxbridge that it was only for professionals as he nearly had a nasty accident on landing. However he always maintained an aviation interest being the son of a former RAF aircrew officer who served in the RAF from 1939 to 1982. His father, Arthur flew Devons at RAF Northolt flying the then prime minister Harold Wilson and this prompted Roger into buying his first Dove 6 G-APZU c/n 04511 at the ripe old age of 24 from Lulsgate Aviation Services of Bristol airport. Initially he leased it to McAlpine Aviation at Luton and it was placed on their Air Operator's Certificate for ad hoc charter work and passengers at that time included the Jackson Five and the Osmonds. Shortly afterwards he was approached by Harry Chang, a pilot of the then recently collapsed 'troop carrier' airline, Lloyds International who had available two contracts with Conoco and The Ford Motor Company. The first was to move offshore oil rig workers around North Sea ports and the second to convey spare parts for the recently introduced Ford Capri between Dagenham and Dusseldorf. With these contracts Roger secured a loan from his bank and formed Macedonian Aviation, a subsidiary of his London based property company Macedonian Securities Ltd and immediately established their first base at Southend airport. Roger went before the Civil Aviation Committee in the summer of 1972 to obtain their own AOC and the CAA chairman at the time was Lord Boyd-Carpenter and when it was granted he passed comment that "Mr Collins must be one of the youngest persons in aviation history to be awarded with an AOC".
Dove G-APZU was relocated to Southend and Roger purchased the 'workhorse' of BAE Filton a Dakota DC3 G-AMPO cn 33186 in 30 seat configuration which was used to fly the engineers working on Concorde production between Bristol, Filton and Toulouse. Dove G-APZU went into service for passenger charters from Luton and Southend in the October with several flights to Hamburg,Copenhagen and Oslo. G-AMPO was put through a pre-service check with Dan Air at Lasham and re sprayed at Eagle Air Services at Leavesden, as was the Dove. The Dakota crew underwent training with Dan Air at Lasham and it paid many visits to Gatwick and Southend during this period. However in September 1972 G-AMPO undertook a very eventful trip. Roger's business partner married an Indian diplomat's daughter at the Anglican Church in Beirut, Lebanon and a wedding party of 25 guests flew out on an MEA scheduled flight from Heathrow. The day after the wedding Palestinian Terrorists murdered Israeli athletes at the Olympic games in Munich. The Israelis retaliated by attacking and besieging Beirut Airport which was closed and there were no scheduled flights to get the guests out of Lebanon. Roger telephoned his pilot Harry Chang who said he would take the Dakota from Gatwick to extract the party. Harry Chang knew Beirut airport well and advised the guests to remain on the beach by the airport which he would overfly and once he had landed to run to the aircraft and they could embark. Some 12 hours later after refueling at Genoa and Brindisi G-AMPO landed at Beirut airport escorted by Israeli military aircraft. The entire 25 wedding guests climbed over the perimeter fence and sprinted for the aircraft which did not shut down and it took off again within minutes for Nicosia Cyprus with the Israeli escort. The wedding party and reception continued their celebrations at The Dome Hotel in Kyrenia ( before the island was divided). The wedding guests returned to the UK with Cyprus Airways and Roger and the crew returned in the Dakota 2 days later to Gatwick via Genoa.
Later in September 1972 after completion of crew training G-AMPO returned to Southend to commence operations. On November 5th it took its first paying passengers to Amsterdam. The Dove G-APZU finally arrived at Southend on November 24th. Over the winter season the Dove operated a multitude of charter fights to Belgium, France, Germany and Holland. Finally the Dove G-APZU was sold to Shackleton Aviation in February 1973. By the spring 1973 G-AMPO was busy flying almost daily to Jersey, Ostend, Brussels and Saarbrucken. On May 3rd 1973 it flew a service to Groningen - Bergen - Birmingham - Brussels - Southend. By the summer that year the Dakota was working flat out on regular flights between Coventry - Jersey, Birmingham - Cologne, Southend - Castle Donnington - Stornoway. It also undertook many flights for Intra Airways. In November and December it was flying to Brussels, Calais, Cologne, Coventry Exeter, Geneva, Glasgow, Lisbon, Malta, Marseilles, Newcastle and Saarbrucken. During these months it was carrying various car components for the Ford Motor Company and transferring gold bullion for the UK Treasury to and from Germany, Belgium and France. In December 1973 Macedonian commenced oil rig support business for the first time and as a result the Dakota was then relocated to Aberdeen in connection with this contract. With this massive increase in work load Macedonian looked for more DC3s to buy and in March 1974 they purchased from Jersey, British Island Airway's last 3 Dakotas. The first 2 aircraft G-AMHJ c/n 13468 and G-AMRA c/n 26735 arrived at Southend March 8 1974. They were in a convertible cargo/passenger configuration and were moved to Aberdeen on April 27th 1974 for transportation of crews and equipment to Sumburgh on the Shetland Islands. Dakota G-AMPO arrived in Aberdeen also in April but was moved back to Southend that spring for services to Amsterdam, Belfast Gibraltar, Hamburg, Hurn, Heathrow, Le Havre ,Lisbon, Ostend, Rotterdam, Saarbrucken and Teeside. Then in September the third ex BIA DC3 G-AMSV c/n 32830 arrived at Southend. In April 1974 Macedonian Aviation acquired the former Dutch Limburg Airlines route from Rotterdam to Le Havre replacing their Fokker Friendships with Dakotas. Then during summer of 1974 Roger was hearing that the oil companies were going to insist on turboprop operations so he opened negotiations to acquire 3 Aer Lingus Viscounts and 6 Air Canada Viscounts or 3 Eastern Provincial Heralds. These negotiations were not successful and having appraised the cost of running a turboprop operation which he was sure would not be profitable he sold the entire Macedonian Aviation as a going concern. On November 6th 1974 all the aircraft returned to Southend and the new owners were unable to raise finance to support turboprop operations by the end of the year they ceased all flying. The aircraft went to Humber Airways followed by Eastern Airways who operated the Heathrow - Norwich - Humberside scheduled service.
Roger went without another aircraft until 1995 until he acquired his second Devon/Dove VP961 G-HBBC c/n 04211 constructed at Hawarden in 1948 and was the former personal aircraft of HRH Prince Philip in which he learnt to fly twins whilst with the Royal Flight. HRH piloted this aircraft on 67 flights and Roger reintroduced it to him at RAF Northolt in 1998 and he commented on such a wonderful restoration and brought him many happy memories.
As a back up for it's operations he purchased an ex RNAS Sea Devon XK896 G-RNAS c/n 04473 built 1956 originally at HMS Heron RNAS Yeovilton. Both Doves were based at Bristol Filton until 2002 when he relocated G-HBBC to Compton Abbas. G-RNAS was stolen from Filton and ended up in a quarry at Chepstow being used by a diving club. In 2001 Roger also acquired 4 Cessna 150 and 172s which were leased to Compton Abbas airfield for flying training.
Three and a half years late on the scene with this thread here but for what it is worth is my contribution.
I knew Harry Chang at British Air Ferries in the mid 1980's.He went by the name of Henry and was initially a Captain on the Short330/360 fleet having come from the Viscount which he subsequently operated when BAF sold Guernsey Airlines and disposed of the Sheds.By the late 80's Captain Chang was with Gill Air then the short lived British Independent at Lydd who operated HS 748s.
I know little of Harry's Previous movements other than that he was with Manston based Air ferry Circa 1965-1967 as an Fo then Captain on the DC4/6.Having left for a post with Lloyds he subsequently became Chief pilot for Kestrel aviation. Interestingly at some time in the late 70's Harry was a production test and delivery pilot with Shorts.
I personally remember him as a very slight intense individual never without a cigarette who was was very charming on the ground but did not suffer fools and could be very hard on inexperienced co pilots.
Sadly many of the great personalities from that era of British aviation have now passed away.If Harry is still with use I am guessing he would be in his late 80's now(2016).
Don I really am most grateful for your response on Harry Chang albeit 8 months later. I knew Harry with Macedonian Aviation between 1972 and 1974 after he left Lloyds International to join Macedonian. I flew with him on three occasions to Oslo Fornebu in the DH104 Dove G-APZU and the DC3 G-AMPO to Beirut Lebanon and Nicosia Cyprus in 1972. An excellent pilot and wouldn't it be wonderful if he were still alive.
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