Vickers 812 Viscount – c/n 360

With Channel from Apr 1967 to May 1967

Viscount G-AVJZ began life with Continental Airlines in September 1958 and flew for her owner for almost a decade before she was sold to Channel Airways in the UK. Having been fitted with internal air stairs, she was ideal placed to operate where short turnaround times were a factor or on operations into smaller or out of the way airfields that were poorly equipped. These stairs can be seen in the short video below of N248V (G-AVJZ) during her Continental days (Click on the link under the screenshot below to view).

G-AVJZ in her original, Continental guise

Juliet Zulu arrived at Southend during April 1967 and immediately entered the engineering hangar for maintenance and the application of Channel’s titles. However, she would never get the chance to fly for her owner as within three short weeks, she had been reduced to a pile of broken wreckage after her C0A flight went terribly wrong. Taking off from Southend during the mid-afternoon of May 3rd 1967, the number four starboard engine was shut down to simulate an engine failure during take off. However, the propeller failed to feather correctly and despite the crew’s efforts to continue the flight, the aircraft veered to the right as a result of asymmetric thrust and drag bringing the starboard wing tip into contact with the ground.


The aircraft then swung to the right and hit a storage hut that belonged to ATEL causing it to erupt in flames due to the highly flammable materials that had been stored there. While the three crew members of the Viscount emerged relatively unscathed considering the severity of the accident, the store workers were sadly, not so fortunate. Two store men Chris Pilgrim and Jack Pilgrim were to tragically lose their lives, while senior store man ‘Jack’ McGrevy was seriously injured, his subsequent recovery taking many months to achieve. To this day, these are the only aviation related fatalities to have occurred at the airport itself since the end of WWII.


History of G-AVJZ

5/58 – 4/67

Continental Air Lines as N248V

4/67 – 5/67

Channel Airways


Crashed on take off from SEN during a C of A test flight 5/5/67

(See ‘Prangs’ for more details)


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.