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.
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).
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.
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.
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