February 7, 2023

The sad story of 5B-DAB Trident Aircraft

Old Nicosia International Airport


By Margaret Sheard….

As a result of a recent trip to Wayne’s Keep in the Buffer Zone and a drive around the old Nicosia International Airport as part of our tour, I was contacted by Maj Bowen, an ex-Royal Horse Guards veteran, regarding the sad remains of the Trident aircraft which didn’t manage to take to the sky in 1974.


Trident 5

Trident Nose

During a trip to Wayne’s Keep in 2013, our party was allowed to view the aircraft at close quarters and we took some photographs at that time.   My feeling on the recent visit was that the aircraft has deteriorated even more, but maybe there is good news as the son of Maj Bowen is a Trident enthusiast and he is proud to mention that he runs the (HTC) Heathrow Trident Collection at the bottom of his garden in a double garage!

Following is the reply Kevin made to his father when he was aware of the recent visit of some of the Royal Horse Guards veterans to Wayne’s Keep in November 2015 where he had noted our visit to the old Nicosia International Airport.

That Trident still survives.  He’s protected by the UN, but still owned by the (now defunct) Cyprus Airways.  Not much left of his interior (surprisingly, the control columns have not been removed by souvenir hunters).



Interior 3

On a positive note, the slowly fading Trident is under review to be preserved as a ‘national monument’ by the son of CYs first pilot.  The UN is aware, and supportive of the cause, and he is investigating transfer of ownership.  He has approached the HTC for technical support.

Incidentally, 5B-DAB was our Trident for our Cyprus holiday.  If you look carefully on some of the shots, he sports an ‘on loan’ radome, finished in BEA grey as opposed to the white finish normally carried by CY Tridents.

There have been many pictures of him, derelict, still wearing it, though sometime during the last decade, or more, it was removed (properly, latches, and hinges, with supports) God knows why, as it will only fit on another Trident.  Maybe someone has it!  This is one of the items that the HTC has been asked to loan/donate, as I have a radome (I repainted in BA livery) that was from G-AWZN, but with a 1961 manufacturing date, tying it to originally flying on the front of a Trident 1C!

The Bowen family actually flew on that very same aircraft 5B-DAB, which now sits sadly alone at the abandoned Nicosia International Airport, when they had a holiday in Cyprus and Kevin had his photograph taken with one of the pilots and crew by the side of the aircraft, this was on 2nd July 1973.  Maybe this is where Kevin’s enthusiasm for the Trident originally started.

Kevin Bowen - Trident 5B-DAB 2nd July 1973

Following are some more comments from Kevin from the time the Trident was in a sorry state in a hangar at the airport, prior to being moved outside, where it still sits.

Here’s DAB, when he was happily nested in a hangar.

Trident in hangar

Trident in hangar 2

Trident in hangar 3

Note in one photo, one of his over wing exit doors rests on his wing, this door has since vanished, though may be in his hold, The holds are full of junk, and it’s leaning on the doors, hindering access, but the holds can be accessed via hatches in the cabin.

Check out his BEA grey Radome! Check out (in the same picture) how shiny his paint used to be, under all that dust.

Due to the ‘dry’ heat out in Cyprus, corrosion shouldn’t be an issue, so, (ha ha) with a few cans of WD40, his flap’s could be wound back in.

If he was to be preserved, as opposed to the (impossible) restored, I have suggested all cowlings be closed up, panels and furnishings re-fitted where possible and a good deep clean carried out. Ideally, if new tyres can be sourced (apparently, according to Dunlop’s, Nimrod tyres will fit his MLG’s) I’d shove him back undercover to avoid any further fading (though the Tail logo still is hanging on!).

It would be so good if this piece of Cyprus heritage was saved.  Whether a large or small task it would be nice to think that something could be done to save this old Trident aircraft from eventual collapse due to deterioration.

Below: photos of interior taken in 2013 through an open doorway


Interior 2

18 thoughts on “Trident Aircraft 5B-DAB at old Nicosia Airport

  1. Margaret.
    What a superb article. Thank you so much. Kevin is thrilled to bits & thanks you for your support.

  2. As a teenager in the early 1970s I practically grew up at Nicosia Airport. Took a lot of photos from the viewing terrace at the terminal. I have a very nice one for you of 5B-DAB in happier days. (Winter 1973) Please let me know how I can send it to you so you can post it here. Best Regards. Emre

  3. I have a nice photo of 5B-DAB which I took from the viewing terrace at Nicosia Airport in 1973.
    Please let me know how I can send it to you or post it here. Best Regards.

    1. Thank you Emre Unel. My Son Kevin would most appreciative (g-awzk@msn.com) & me at
      My son is the little boy in the photo with a CY Captain.
      Warm Regards

  4. Actually I own the plane it was transferred to me by the insurance company about 10 years back with the ok of Cyprus Airways who technically did not own it as they were paid by the insurance company as a complete right off,I have the letters to prove this

    1. Thank you for your comment, very interesting, although sad. I will pass your comment and contact details to others who are very interested in this old aircraft which played a big part in Cyprus Aviation History.

    2. Hello, Theo,

      I remember you. Having looked through my correspondence, I have found that you contacted me when I was running the Trident Preservation Society, with the prospect of preserving/restoring 5B-DAB. This was going back to 2008! Due to unfortunate circumstances, with other members of the original group, I left the society, and now run a small, though, even though I say so myself, rather impressive museum, the privately owned Heathrow Trident Collection. Whilst running the museum, I am still available to all people concerned with the ongoing upkeep of Trident aircraft, wherever they may be. As you can see by the article, I am still very much a supporter of the Trident that bought me to Cyprus, decades ago, and would willingly offer help in looking after the preservation of 5B-DAB.

      Best regards

      Kevin Bowen

      1. Thank you Kevin for this offer to Theo. It would be lovely if something could be done, however, I would think access to 5B-DAB would be an issue but maybe liaison with the UN might get around this. Of course this is if Theo is keen on the idea of part restoration. Good luck.

      2. Hi Kevin,you are right I did contact you, at the time the idea was some form of preservation with a view to moving it to the roundabout before the main airport road ,a sort of monument for kids from both sides to see this piece of history ,it had withstood time and the terrible goings on at the airport in 1974 ,and still is there a sign of hope ,I am still interested and perhaps we can talk.I assumed ownership of it at the advice of Cyprus Airways then, to stop some very silly people trying to take it over for ridiculous purposes!They put me in touch with the insurance company ,and I followed it from there.The UN at the time were no problem and allowed me full access as I did challenge them that I had the right to visit as a Cypriot when I requested a permit from them.I am happy that there are people who share such affection for this plane,for me I grew up on the balcony at nicosia airport!
        Rgds to both of you

      3. Thank you Theo, we have received all of your comments and apologise for the delay in approving them. As a Brit living in Cyprus I have visited the airport and seen the Trident in its current sad state as you will have noted from the articles written. It would be so nice if something could be done to at least partly restore the aircraft for future generations to see as part of Cyprus Aviation History. If you have any memories or photographs you would like to share we would be pleased to publish on your behalf.

      4. Hi Kevin
        You are right, I did contact you at the time as my proposal was to restore it as best we could , and display it if possible by the roundabout before the airport road commences ,this was for all school kids from all over the island to visit and appreciate the history of the plane ,and like the island, despite all the setbacks, it survived and is still there.At the time Cyprus Airways advised me to assume ownership to stop the plane ending up in some persons hands to turn it into a restaurant and God knows what.They put me in touch with the insurers at the time, and I managed to achieve it.I have informed the UN on a number of occasions as to the ownership as from time to time I still hear about schemes which are nothing to do with me. As to visiting the airport, I did not have a problem previously, as I told the UN authorities it is my right as a Cypriot to visit despite all the issues related to Nicosia.It still interests me and perhaps we can discuss it at some stage,good to hear you are still involved,I basically grew up on that balcony!
        I am glad other people have the same affection for this plane it is encouraging to read all the information from everybody

  5. Thank you once again Margaret for your kind support.
    Much Love.

    1. Dont know if my previous msg got through ,but you are correct Kevin, did contact you a few years ago ,the idea was to renovate as much as was possible and to display the plane near the roundabout prior to the airport road.Cyprus Airways at the time advised me to take control of the ownership to avoid the plane being involved in silly schemes such as being converted to a restaurant,they put me in touch with the insurance company ,and they agreed to give me legal ownership.At the time Cyprus Airways offered to put me in touch with retired Cypriot engineers who worked on the Trident fleet ,they might have assisted with the project then.A long time has now gone by, but I am still very much interested in the plane project,perhaps we can discuss it?The UN gave me access as I did say as a Cypriot I have the right to go to the airport legally.it is good to know others have the same affection for this plane,I spent many an afternoon on the balcony at NCA !This plane stands for what the island does,it is still there despite what happened to the airport in 1974.The idea was kids from all the island could come and visit it as it has historical value for everybody
      Kind regards

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