Airspeed Ambassador


Operated with B.K.S. from May 1963 to Nov 1969

As B.E.A began to slowly dispose of the rest of its piston engined fleet which included its ‘Elizabethan’ airliners, B.K.S. took the opportunity to snap a number of them up for their ever expanding operations. However, one of these airframes – G-ALZR – arrived directly from Rolls Royce who had been using her as a Tyne test bed and thus work was undertaken at SEN to restore her original G-ALZRCentaurus piston engines. These Ambassadors were initially used on passenger services, but being high winged and low to the ground, B.K.S. came to the conclusion that they could be put to better use transporting animals rather than people around Europe. As such, these ageing airliners eventually became a regular sight at the B.K.S. engineering facility at Southend where all five aircraft were eventually converted into freighters that would be equipped for no other purpose than that of carrying prime bloodstock and over the next few years, it would eventually get to the stage where B.K.S. were transporting more race horses by air than any other airline in the world. However after 10 years of service, two of the Ambassadors were WFU at the airport where they were scrapped for spares, while another would be involved in a high profile crash at Heathrow that would claim the lives of all six people on-board and several race horses.


B.K.S. Airspeed Ambassador fleet

G-ALZR – 5/63 to 11/69

Sold to Dan Air for spares 11/69 after wheels up landing at Gatwick on 26/7/69

G-ALZT – 5/58 to 5/68

WFU at Newcastle 10/67 – B/U circa 5/68

G-ALZW – 5/58 to 4/68

WFU at Southend 2/67 – B/U 4/68

G-AMAC – 6/60 to 4/69

WFU at Southend 7/68 – B/U 4/69

G-AMAD – 7/57 – 7/68

Crashed at Heathrow 3/7/68 due to flap rod failure – All on board including several horses lost their lives

G-AMAF – 4/63 to ?/64

Spares use only – Fuselage transported by road to Southend and used for parts – Later roaded to Luton


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