04/30/2007. Remarks by Jack Mckillop: "In the early 1950s, Washington, D.C.-based Capital Airlines, the fifth largest airline in the US in terms of passengers carried, decided to enhance its capabilities and compete with the ‘Big Four’ US airlines. To do this, they decided to purchase a new aircraft in large numbers very quickly in order to set new standards of speed and service. The aircraft selected was the Vickers 700-series Viscount.
Capital ordered 60 Model 745D Viscounts, three aircraft in May 1954, another 37 in August and 20 more in November. The first aircraft was delivered in June 1955 and entered service on the Washington to Chicago, Illinois, route. As additional aircraft arrived, they were added on routes to New Orleans, Louisiana. By the end of 1955, eight aircraft were in service and another 46 were delivered in 1956.
On 24 July 1956, Capital ordered 14 de Havilland Comets and another 15 Viscounts, including the pictured one. It was registered N7471 and assigned the fleet number ‘389’ and made its first flight on June 27, 1957. However, Capital’s financial report in 1957 was not encouraging and the airline canceled the orders for the 15 Viscounts and 14 Comets.
This aircraft was retained at the Vickers plant until sold to Boston, Massachusetts-based Northeast Airlines. Like Capital Airlines, Northeast wanted to increase its share of the market by introducing new aircraft and they ordered ten Model 798Ds in July 1957; this aircraft was one of the ten. It was delivered to Northeast on August 8, 1958 and entered service. However, like Capital, Northeastern was not in good financial condition and by June 1963, action was taken to repossess the Viscounts and the bank holding the loan on this aircraft repossessed it on September 11, 1963.
Between February 1964 and May 1992, the aircraft was owned by several corporations and had three different registrations, N820BK in March 1964, N1898T in June 1969 and N555SL in August 1978. The final owner is the Mid Atlantic Air Museum which purchased it in May 1992 and re-registered it to its original registration, N7471, in August 1992. This Viscount was restored in the original Capital Airlines markings as shown in the photo above. The one error is the fleet number ‘384' displayed on the vertical stabilizer. This fleet number was assigned to 745D N7466 c/n 228."