Douglas C-54B-1-DC – c/n 10528

With Air Charter from Feb 1955 to Oct 1960

Given Name – ‘Atalanta’

While Air Charter was for the most reasonably content with its Tudors and Yorks, it was constantly on the look out for newer and more efficient ways to run the company and thus increase operating profits. So at the end of 1954, ACL started looking to the large number of ex-military C-54s that had only a few years earlier been too costly to procure and maintain and yet were now flooding the market while at the same time falling in price thanks to the ever growing demand for the much faster and smoother turboprop airliners that were appearing at the time. Thus, the decision was taken to purchase a total of four aircraft with Yankee Bravo being the very first C-54 to go into service with Air Charter, arriving at Stansted during February 1954. She eventually departed for Germany in April where she remained stationed for a number of months before heading off to somewhat warmer climes, being the first of ACL’s C-54s to operate trooping services between the U.K. and Cyprus which she flew during October 1954 while she would also end up flying several trips to Woomera (Adelaide) too.

Although the idea was to gradually replace the lumbering Yorks with these aircraft on the extremely lucrative trooping routes to Malta and Cyprus and the Australian M.o.D. missile contract, as far as G-ANYB was concerned, Air Charter’s management had other ideas. ACL’s ‘Air Bridge’ service had started to operate at quite intense levels from the late spring onwards with March 29th 1959 getting this particular season off to a particularly early start. On this very same date, the first of many non-passport day trips to France was flown by Yankee Bravo and B170 G-ANVS. This C-54 captained by Bob Langley made her inaugural crossing to Calais with an almost full load of 65 passengers who were then returned to Southend later that evening. Prior to this, Yankee Bravo had been pulled into the ATEL hangar where she was fitted out with a high density passenger cabin that would enable her to haul more passengers across the Channel than three Bristol 170s combined.

With the opening of services came the inevitable increase in extra bookings and thus the C-54s would continue to assist on this route that would have otherwise overwhelmed the poor, beleaguered Bristol Freighters that were doing their best to keep things running as much as was physically possible. Indeed, this service was considered such a resounding success that G-ANYB would spend almost every weekend up until the end of September 1959 plying both this route and the busy service to Ostend. However, even greater things were to come for this particular aircraft and as such would go on to become the very first of her kind. In October 1960, YB was handed over to Aviation Traders where she would undergo a complete transformation into what would come to be known as the ATL.98 Carvair, a purpose built plane that was destined to replace the trusty, yet increasingly unprofitable Bristol 170s on the cross-Channel car ferry routes.

With thanks to Chris Garton for providing extra info for this page.


History of G-ANYB

1/45 to 3/46

USAF as 42-72423

3/46 to ?/47

Douglas Aircraft Company as N88723

?/47 to 6/53

Braniff Airways as N59952

6/53 to 8/54

World Airways

8/54 to 2/55

Air Service Carrier Corp

2/55 to 1/62

Air Charter Ltd

(Converted to an ATL.98 Carvair)

1/62 to 1/63

Channel Air Bridge

1/63 to 10/67

British United Air Ferries

10/67 to 7/70

British Air Ferries


WFU at Lydd 3/67 – B/U 7/70


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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.