Tudor G-AGRI

Avro 688 Tudor 1  –  c/n  1257

With Air Charter from Feb 1954 to Jul 1959

Given Name – None Known

Having been stored at Tarrant Rushton for almost three years along with several other Tudors, G-AGRI would be the first of these aircraft to once again take to the skies, doing so on September 17th 1953 on a short, 15 minute test flight. The following day, she was ferried to Southend with her undercarriage locked down after which she was pulled into the ATEL hangar for an overhaul and modification to ATEL standards. Work went quickly and by October 3rd she was back in the air again, making a short ferry flight to Stansted from where she would spend a short period of time carrying out a series of test flights before being passed on to Air Charter.

By October 10th, she had received the military serial number XF739 for trooping work, although this was later transferred to York G-AMRI due to the War Office’s refusal to permit ACL to use Tudors for trooping contracts, thanks in part to their poor safety record. However, not to be deterred Laker instead employed this aircraft as a freighter on the trooping routes to Malta and Aden, while a small number of performance and proving flights were flown to Nairobi during October and November. However, the government nevertheless remained unconvinced and any further attempts to gain trooping approval with these aircraft were subsequently dropped. However, she would still carry out some work for the military, being seen at RAF Northolt on a small number of occasions during the early part of 1954.

While Air Charter had clearly been operating this aircraft from the outset, the official transfer would not take place until February 1954 although this was mostly academic as she would go on to have a very short career with the airline. On March 4th 1954, she was outbound from Heathrow on a freight charter to Malta when she experienced an uncommanded, spiralling dive over France and fell some 7,000ft which ultimately led to a significant amount of buckling to the airframe and some structural damage, this only being discovered later upon arrival at her destination. Temporary repairs were then effected and she was ferried back to Southend on the 12th, but would as result of this incident, never fly again. She was remained grounded at SEN for more than five years until finally being scrapped in July 1959.

Many thanks to Chris Garton and Peter Clark for providing updated and additional information for this page.


History of G-AGRI

9/45 to 2/50

Ministry of Supply

2/50 to 9/53

Ministry of Civil Aviation

9/53 to 2/54

Aviation Traders

2/54 to 7/59

Air Charter Ltd


WFU at Southend 10/54 – B/U 7/59


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