748 G-ATEH

Hawker Siddeley 748-222 Sr2A – c/n 1585

With Channel from Sep 1965 to Jun 1968

In 1965, Channel started looking for a suitable replacement for its ageing DC-3 aircraft; a replacement that would also have to be capable of landing on the grass runways on its network, such as those at Portsmouth, Shoreham and Ipswich. Thus in May of that year, Channel signed a contract for four Hawker Siddeley 748s, their first new aircraft since Miles Aerovan G-AJKM joined East Anglian almost 20 years earlier. However, a small number of DC-3s still remained in service and with the exception of a single introductory flight, this particular aircraft would instead, head off on lease to COPA of Panama for the winter. So, while she may have been the first 748 to be delivered, she would not be the first to enter service with her new owner.

She finally returned to Southend on May 30th 1966, having spent a short time at Hawker Siddeley for maintenance after the expiry of her lease with COPA. Her first flight would take her to Belfast the following day hauling a load of cigarettes and for the rest of 1966 and 1967, Echo Hotel would be mostly confined to the routes through Portsmouth, although she could be seen operating somewhat infrequently on the Castle Donington to Southend feeder too. The following year would be a bad one for Channel as far as accidents were concerned and on August 15th 1968, no less than three separate aircraft would be involved in incidents with two of them taking place at the same airfield within a few hours of each other.

On this day, G-ATEH was returning to Portsmouth from Guernsey and made a circuit of the airfield before attempting to land. While touch down was achieved, the first attempt was aborted and the pilot initiated a go around, making a second attempt which was initially successful. However, after putting down on the soaking wet, grass runway, the plane began to slow but then began to skid on the sodden surface and as such, left the end of the runway and broke its undercarriage on an embankment before sliding through a fence and coming to a rest on the road that ran along the outside of the airfield perimeter. Thankfully, none of the 66 passengers and crew were seriously injured and as luck would have it, there was no post-crash fire. It was only after leaving the aircraft that the crew were informed of a previous and similar crash landing by G-ATEK several hours earlier.

While both accidents caused a considerable amount of damage to the undercarriage, the underside of the fuselage and the engines of these aircraft, Echo Hotel came off worse, mostly due to a later attempt to lift her which caused further damage to her rear fuselage. It was exactly 9 months before she would fly again, making a ferry flight back to Southend on May 16th 1968 where she would undergo more work before making a test flight several weeks later on June 20th. However, she would never fly for Channel again and on the very next day, she departed from SEN to her new owner – Leeward Island Air Transport as VP-LIW.

Full AAIB Accident Report


History of G-ATEH

9/65 to 6/68

Channel Airways

6/68 to 2/81


2/81 to 2/95

Airfast Services Indonesia as PK-OVB


Crashed in Indonesia 3/2/95


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