IT SEEMED such a good idea at the time in the pub over a few pints of McNasty's Revenge.
"Why don't you mark Red Nose Day by featuring lots of planes with red noses in Fly Past?" said a friend a few weeks ago.
Like all ideas concocted amid the convivial atmosphere of an alcohol- induced haze, it had an immediate attraction.
"It'll be easy. There must be loads of photographs of aircraft with red noses," added another one of my well-intentioned drinking companions.
I liked the concept, particularly when I began to realise that publishing a montage of such appropriately painted aircraft would mean not having to bother producing my usual over-written slab of text for Fly Past. I might even be able to get away with just a motley selection of captions.
Well, as you can see from the solitary picture and the swathe of accompanying words you are cur- rently casting your eyes over, the quest proved more difficult than anticipated.
I realised it was probably going to be an arduous task when my bid to locate a book with a title resembling anything like Planes With Red Noses drew an immediate blank.
An enquiry at my local library induced a startled response from the assistant which also seemed to involve the pushing of what I perceived to be some sort of panic but- ton.
No joy there then.
I waded through my own collection of publications, from The Boy's Book of Frightfully Wonderful Planes to Airline Colour Schemes of the 1970s (yes, such things do exist) and, though I saw liveries of every conceivable hue, not a single one had a red nose.
An innocent trawl of the internet brought some unexpected, and totally inappropriate images to my computer screen. I can only think I mistyped one of the words but, as several of these were likely to have set the alarm bells clanging at head office in Canary Wharf, I decided to halt that line of enquiry too.
Then, just as I feared Fly Past would have to go without an appropriate Red Nose Day photo, what should appear in my emails but this delightful image of a Vickers Viscount of Cambrian Airways?
It was sent by reader Tony Simpson, whose lack of a mention of anything remotely Red Nose Dayish indicates it was a complete coincidence that he should provide it at this particular time.
The plane is G-AMOH, one of a fleet of Series 700 Viscounts delivered new to BEA in 1953/4. Named after the explorer Henry Hudson, it went on to serve the state airline for 10 years before going on to operate with Channel Airways, British
Eagle, Starways and finally Cambrian. It was withdrawn from use at Cardiff in November 1971 and broken up the following year.
I was lucky enough to fly aboard fellow fleet member G-AMOP on the Cambrian service from Heathrow to Liverpool in 1970 on a packed-to- the-rafters early morning flight when I appeared to be the only passenger not wearing a suit and clutching a briefcase.
My other memory is of watching the stewardesses desperately rushing to serve the coffee and biscuits before the Viscount began its descent to Speke Airport, what seemed like only 20 minutes after taking off.
My thanks to Tony Simpson for the opportune arrival of the picture. I've promised to buy him a pint or two of McNasty's Revenge as a reward.
And I shall be making a donation to Red Nose Day in honour of this magnificent old Viscount - perhaps you'd care to do the same.