NAC delivers a ATR 72-500F to Loganair

Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) has confirmed that it has delivered one ATR 72-500, msn 570, to Loganair on lease. 

Prior to delivery, the aircraft has been converted to freighter configuration by NAC, providing Loganair with a 75m3 cubic capacity / 7.5t payload aircraft to operate on behalf of one of its major customers. This represents the first ATR aircraft to join Loganair’s fleet.

From Loganair:

The story of Loganair’s “Spirit of Sandy”:

By Jonathan Hinkles.

It was a flat calm day in Kirkwall – one of the most magical places in the world on such days – and so I could clearly hear the chatter between the two customers behind me as we all walked towards one of Loganair’s Saab 340s bound for Glasgow.

“Aye, they’ve not spelled that right.”

“No – you’d think they’d know better after all these years they’ve flown tae Orkney.”

I looked around uneasily to see what might have prompted this terribly un-Orcadian expression of opprobrium.  Had we committed some cardinal sin in the painting of our aircraft like missing the “f” out of Cathay Pacific?   Thankfully not.  I saw where my fellow passengers were pointing, and suddenly twigged.

Our Saab 340 aircraft are all named after the destinations to which we fly – so you could be boarding the Spirit of Lewis or the Spirit of Islay for your flight.

The one exception – that we were just about to board – is the Spirit of Sandy. Our Orcadian customers clearly thought we’d missed the “a” from the island of Sanday.  [We’ve flown there since 1967, albeit not with our Saab 340 aircraft which I think would be a shock to the islanders and our wonderful pilots alike if we tried.]

Although any of the Loganair team could have set our customers straight, it struck me that we’d never really told the story of the Spirit of Sandy – and so today of all days, I think it’s probably high time that we do.

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On 21 October 2014, we lost one of our most fantastic colleagues, Captain Sandy Torrance. Barely a month earlier, Sandy had gone home early from work – which he loved and where he was equally loved by all his colleagues – complaining of a headache.

It sadly turned out to be an inoperable brain tumour, which took Sandy’s life just five weeks after that shocking diagnosis.

Sandy is fondly remembered by all who flew with him, and had that rare ability to enliven everyone around him.  You simply knew that a working day with Sandy would be a good day, no matter what happened or whatever challenges you would face.

As we were establishing Loganair’s awards programme three years ago, we were struggling to define that distinctive, cheerful and inclusive member of the team whom we wanted to be able to recognise.  Uniquely, for such a potentially divisive topic, we got there very quickly.  The Spirit of Sandy summed it up perfectly.  What better way to name our award – and one of our aircraft too?

It’s thus been our great privilege at each of the three Loganair team awards ceremonies held so far to welcome Theresa, Sandy’s wife, to personally present the Spirit of Sandy award to the recipients – Captain Eddie Watt in 2017, cabin crew member Colin Hough in 2018 and Captain Simon Carroll in 2019.   It’s a high point of the evening for all of us, and I hope and trust it will continue long into the future.

I didn’t have chance to explain all this in Kirkwall to our two customers chatting away behind me without needlessly delaying our departure – something of which Sandy would never have approved.    Yet five years on, I’m delighted that we can keep his legacy alive with our annual award and keep the Spirit of Sandy plying our routes around Scotland (and a bit further beyond, too).  It’s the least we can do, and is a fitting tribute to a much-missed friend and colleague.

Thanks for reading.