Douglas DC-4-1009 – c/n 42907

With Channel from Mar 1962 to Jan 1971

Yankee Yankee was something of an anomaly when compared to the rest of Channel’s fleet and through a quirk of fate, she would be the only DC-4 to ever serve with the airline. However, had things gone to plan, this aircraft would have found herself undergoing the transformation into a Carvair, this being the sole reason for her acquisition in the first place. Impressed with Channel Air Bridge’s prototype Carvair, Channel had initially placed an order for four of these aircraft in early 1962, although donor aircraft needed to be found for these conversions. YY was purchased from Riddle in the U.S., the aircraft arriving at Southend in April 1962. However, when Channel’s plans for crossing the Irish Sea with these aircraft, rather than the presumed Bristol 170s became evident, the subsequent obfuscation by the Irish authorities with regards to these routes put paid to any further development of these services and thus the Carvair order was cancelled.

However, all was not lost and this single DC-4 was instead sent for several months worth of conversion work and maintenance at Wymeswold, returning back at SEN on October 5th with the intention of returning her to service the following spring as a high density passenger aircraft that could carry as many 88 passengers. Indeed over the coming years, the toilet would frequently be removed to permit the installation of two extra seats, especially on shorter trips. Stored over the winter of 1962-63, she made her first test flight on April 4th 1963 and then engaged in several days of training before flying her first service for Channel to Ostend on April 11th. Over the coming years, her main remit would be to service the popular summer Channel routes and she became a regular sight at places such as Ostend and on the Channel Islands while in the quieter winter months, her bare metal would be painted with a protective storage coating and she was left to overwinter outside until the spring.

Needless to say, she would also venture into other airports when loads were especially high and in the spring of 1963 she made a number of trips to Rotterdam on the popular ‘bulb trips’ while May 17th would witness the beginning of irregular charters from SEN to Perpignan which then turned into a weekly service as the summer hotted up. May 24th saw her opening the highly trafficked Manchester – Ostend service and by May 29th, she had made the first of many trips to the Channel Islands. Indeed, she would continue to fly most of these routes hauling almost 90 passengers each time, back and forth across the water until October when numbers began to go into decline along with the need for such a high capacity aircraft and as a consequence of this, she was again put into external storage for the winter.

With the arrival of more Viscounts during late-1963 and early-1964, Yankee Yankee got off to a late start and was not reactivated until the beginning of June. Her first commercial service of the year would come on June 8th 1964 when she departed to Ostend with 83 passengers while flights to the Channel Islands commenced the following month. In fact, by mid-July she had racked up an impressive total of 19 trips between SEN and Ostend and with a few services to the Channel Islands thrown in, she had carried more than 2,700 passengers over this short period. However, she would also be called upon to carry freight and in August 1964 she flew 7 tons of cargo back to SEN from Barcelona. Ad-hoc charters would crop up from time to time too and on September 11th she was called upon to carry 88 passengers to Gothenburg, returning to SEN the following day.

Awoken once more from her winter repose in April 1965, she would start her year flying a couple of charters to Beauvais on the 10th and 11th. Bulb trips and Ostend services would then make up the bulk of her work until June which then saw her jumping in to help the overworked Viscounts, flying an I.T. charter trip to Rimini on their behalf on the 26th. Yet, despite her age and the fact that she was increasingly being surrounded by more modern turboprops, G-ARYY would nevertheless go on to retain the honour of being Channel’s most economically viable aircraft due to her low running costs and her ability to lift large loads of passengers on short hops across the Channel. As such, she would continue to fly these services up until September 16th 1967 when she made her very last flight from Ostend to SEN, after which she was permanently WFU. She languished at SEN until early 1970 and her survival looked to be assured with a place at Channel’s very own aviation museum in Ipswich, although unfortunately nothing came of this and she was eventually scrapped at Southend in January 1971.


History of G-ARYY

2/46 to 11/53

National Airlines as N33679

11/53 to 1/56

Resort Airlines

1/56 to 3/62

Riddle Airlines

3/62 to 1/71

Channel Airways


WFU at Southend 9/67 – Ipswich Aircraft Museum NTU – Scrapped at SEN 1/71


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