Southend Timeline

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Aviation Traders ATL 98 Carvair

The Carvair a Brief History

The Aviation Traders ATL-98 Carvair was originally based on the Douglas DC4, however the cost of the civilian aircraft was high so production was changed to the military version the C54 Skymaster.

The aircraft was designed by Freddie Laker’s Aviation Traders at Southend Airport as a replacement for the Bristol B170 Freighter and the Aviation traders converted Superfreighter, both aircraft had a limited payload and slow airspeed.

The Carvair was able to carry 22 passengers in the rear cabin and up to five cars in the forward and centre section.

The conversion saw a newly built forward fuselage being replaced by one that was 8 feet 8 inches (2.64 m) longer, with a raised flightdeck in a bulbous "hump" a design later used by Boeing on the 747.

The new fuselage was to allow a sideways hinged nose door, the increased height of the flight deck resulted in the main upright tail having to be increased in height, the breaks were also upgraded with a whole new system.

The first flight took place from Southend Airport on 21st June 1961, once test flights were completed and certification approved production on a further 20 aircraft was undertaken, however most of these were undertaken at Stansted.

The fuselage sections were built at Southend and then taken by a specially built road transporter to Stansted were the aircraft was put together, it was then flown to Southend for final fitting out.

In total three aircraft were bult at Southend the first, the middle and the last.

There are only two Carvairs left complete in the world today one in the USA and the other in South Africa.

Fat Annie.

Fat Annie originally started off as a Douglas C-54B-20-DO Skymaster, she was constructed at Santa Monica and delivered to the USAAF on 11th January 1945 coded as 44-9023, her time with the USAAF was relatively short as in November 1945 she was declared surplus to requirements and struck off USAAF service.

The aircraft was bought back by Douglas for conversion into the civilian DC4 configuration.

She began her civilian flying carrier in the US, before passing through various operators in north and south America, she was bought by Aviation Traders in October 1964, and flown to Stansted for conversion to Carvair, undertaking her first flight on 8th June 1964 as G-ASHZ.

She spent most of her time with British United Air Ferries before being retired in 1976 and put up for sale or lease, she did not sell so went out on lease, after the lease contract ended she returned to Southend where she was converted into an all freight configuration in 1977.

The aircraft was once again retired on 24th December 1978 and again put up for sale.

She was deregistered as G-ASHZ on 14th May 1979 and was transferred to the US register as N89FA, she departed Southend for the US on 3rd June 1979.

The Lego Carvair

This unique specially commissioned Lego ATL98 Carvair, was designed and developed by Knickerbrickerglory at the request of the Southend Timeline.

The model has a total of 1,590 pieces. 



The Build...

The Parts, parts and more parts, how the parts arrived, first task was too sort in to colours and then further break them down into brick type. 

1. The first three parts make up the first wing. 

2. After a couple of hours work  the first wing is complete.

3. Constructing the inner engine on the first wing.

4. The "firewall" on the first engine is completed.

5. The first engine nears completion. 

6. Another angle on the engine.

7. and its fitted. 

8. With both wings complete by this stage, it was time to start on the centre box section, this is where the wings and fuselage attach to each other. 

9. The centre box section nears completion and is almost ready for the wings to be attached. 

10. The inner engines are fitted, with space provided for the undercarriage to be fitted later. 

11. Both wings and the centre box come together for the first time. 

12. The first stage of the fuselage begins construction. lots of little yellow bricks! 

13. Fitting the first elements of the flooring, it gets very fiddly! 

14. The two sides of the lower half of the fuselage are joined together even MORE little yellow bits!

15. Panelling up the lower half of the fuselage making sure to leave a gap for the wings to fit into later.  

16. Work underway on the upper side of the fuselage.

17. The upper-side of the fuselage, lots of white bits this time! 

18. Work underway on the "hump" a design feature that would soon be adopted oy Boeing on the 747. 

19. Flight deck fitted and more of the "hump" in place.

20. The two fuselage halves come together, the classic lines of the Carvair  really start to emerge. 

21. With the last of the panelling fitted work now moves to the nose door. 

22. The complete nose door waiting to be fitted. 

24. Nose door fitted in the closed position.

25. Nose door fitted in the open position. 

26. The completed Carvair. 

27. Another view as you can never have too many! 

28. A Lego Hi-Lo lift delivering a car 

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