Tudor G-AGRY

Avro 689 Tudor 2  –  c/n  1262

With Air Charter from Jul 1952 to Jul 1959

No Given Name

The 2, 5 and 7 series Tudors made up what was less commonly known as the 689 design and were in essence, entirely different beasts to the Tudor 688 series 1, 3 and 4 series aircraft, all of which were smaller and slightly sleeker looking machines. From the outset, these 689 models would be produced with a larger, tubular fuselage that was considerably longer at 105ft 7in while the diameter was a whole foot wider than that of its 688 compatriots. Tudor 2 G-AGRY found her way into Air Charter’s ownership through Fairflight, a subsidiary of Surrey Flying Services which had been acquired by Laker during 1951. With the former company, she had seen a good amount of service on the first Berlin Airlift, carrying ten ton loads to this city which was at the time under siege by the Russians, although by the time that she had been leased to SFS, she had been configured to transport as many as 76 passengers.

Needless to say, she was not only the first Tudor to go into operation with one of Laker’s companies (which no doubt had a considerable bearing on the purchase of further aircraft later on), but despite Laker acquiring several of the larger 689 Tudors, she was also the only example of this design to fly on behalf of Air Charter, even if she was technically operated under lease. The other 689s that had come to ACL via Surrey Flying Services were generally WFU and scrapped, although one would be temporarily leased to Canadian outfit Lome Airways. Meanwhile G-AKCD,  the last production Tudor which had been converted to Tudor 5 standard, was also procured from William Dempster by Aviation Traders. However these particular aircraft were confined exclusively to Stansted and thus played no part in Southend’s history.

From 1951, Romeo Yankee continued to operate under the Fairflight name, although she would on occasion be ‘leased’ to undertake Air Charter work such as a passenger charter which saw RY returning from Johannesburg with 25 pax and 3,700lb of cargo before heading off to Tokyo on an insecticide trip in late August 1952. In the same year, Fairflight’s ops and thus Romeo Yankee were absorbed into Surrey Flying Services, where she was again operated under lease. By the end of 1952, a second attempt had been made by the Russians to blockade West Berlin, this embargo being designed to prevent the export of goods out of the region and thus RY would go on to play a minor role in the ‘Mini Berlin Airlift’ although ultimately, her small rear door was considered detrimental to the efficient loading and unloading of freight and therefore much of the work was left to ACL’s Yorks and their new Bristol 170s which had started arriving early in 1953.

Although this Tudor had been refinished in an Air Charter livery by this time, she still continued to operate trooping flights under the Fairflight name and between March & October 1953 she was given the military designation XF537 and was then put to work trooping to Fayid and Nairobi, making a total of 13 trips. Being as this work was still part of the older Fairflight contract, it was not subject to the restrictions placed upon ACL’s own MoS contracts which favoured the York over the Tudor and as a result, Romeo Yankee would be the only Air Charter operated Tudor to undertake such flights. The following August, she flew to SEN where she would remain for approximately a month before making the short trip to Stansted where she was summarily WFU and then slowly reduced to scrap to provide parts for the other Tudors.

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


History of G-AGRY

9/45 to 1/48

Ministry of Supply as VX202

1/48 to 9/48

Ministry of Civil Aviation

9/48 to 11/51

Airflight/Fairflight as G-AGRY

(Surrey Flying Services subsidiary)

11/51 to 7/52

Fairflight/Surrey Flying Services

(Air Charter subsidiary)

7/52 to 7/59

Fairflight/Air Charter Ltd


WFU and stored Stansted 9/54 – B/U 7/59


Do you have any other, interesting snippets of information about this aircraft or indeed, any pictures that you would like to share? If so, then please contact us on saadinfomail@gmail.com

Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.