Douglas DC-3C – c/n 12180

With Channel from Jan 1961 to May 1962

As with all of Channel’s Dakotas, Zulu Bravo came to the airline by way of B.E.A. with whom she had given more than 13 long years of faithful service. However, her career had not gone without incident and while flying the very last Dakota service for the airline, which took place on the 31st October 1960, she landed long in foggy weather and ran off the end of the runway at Birmingham’s Elmdon Airport sustaining a considerable amount of damage in the process. Thus, Zulu Bravo would arrive at Southend on 18th January 1961 on the back of a trailer rather than by air and the engineers at B.K.S. were tasked with repairing her and preparing her for service which they did using the wings and tail of Dakota G-AMSF. Her first flight came on April 18th 1961 and two days later, she was finally put to work carrying passengers between Southend and Rotterdam, accompanied by an assorted mixture of other Channel aircraft.

Over the coming months, the ever growing Dakota fleet would more increasingly ply the routes between Southend and Le Bourget, Ostend, Rotterdam and the Channel Islands, while flights would also depart from Southend via Portsmouth to the Channel Islands and Paris too. These aircraft would keep up this hectic schedule until the beginning of October when all scheduled services with the exception of Rotterdam, began to drop off over the winter. ZB would however, rest during this period, not entering service again until April 10th 1962 where she would once again, pick up where she had left off in 1961 – flying Channel’s busiest routes. However, with those heady days of summer once more approaching, no-one could have ever imagined that within less that one month of her return to service, this Dakota’s graceful lines would have been reduced to nothing more than a pile of twisted, broken wreckage.

Zulu Bravo’s last flight came on the 6th of May 1962, on the return leg of a service between Portsmouth and Jersey. The aircraft was crossing the English Channel en-route to Portsmouth when the crew encountered extremely low and dense cloud which almost went down to sea level. The aircraft descended to an altitude of several hundred feet, the flight crew hoping to sight land as they flew over the coast of the Isle of Wight, but fortune was not to be with ZB on this day and despite all of the crew’s efforts, she flew into the rising ground of St Boniface Down at an altitude of around 700ft, breaking up as she slid up the incline. Of the 17 crew and passengers on board, only 5 would survive the crash, their survival being attributed to the final, brave acts of the Captain when he realised that an impact with the ground could not be averted. A far more in-depth and detailed account of this fateful event can be found by clicking on the link below.

The Last Flight of Dakota G-AGZB


History of G-AGZB

1/44 to 3/46

Royal Air Force as FZ624

3/46 to 3/47

Scottish Airways as G-AGZB

(Converted from a C-47 to a DC-3)

3/47 to 12/60


12/60 to 5/62

Channel Airways


Crashed on St Boniface Down, Isle of Wight 6/5/62


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