G-AKJZ

G-AKJZ de Havilland DH.89A Rapide [6880]

De Havilland DH-89A Dragon Rapide – c/n 6880

With EAFS from Jan 1948 to Feb 1957

While this Dragon Rapide was one of four aircraft that came to EAFS from the RAF via Air Navigation & Trading Co Ltd, unlike the other three which were refinished in silver, Juliet Zulu stood out from the crowd having at some point, been refinished in a black or very dark coloured livery (can anyone confirm the exact colour?). With two Rapides in the fleet by May ’48 and another joining them in September, EAFS were in no rush to get this aircraft into the air and as such, it wasn’t until May the following year that her transition from RAF Dominie to civilian Dragon Rapide was finally complete. However, needing only two aircraft to fulfil its route commitments for 1949, East Anglian sold G-AKOV and G-AKRO, leaving G-AKJZ to serve alongside G-AKRN.

By 1949, direct services were operating between Southend and Ostend, these being run in association with BEA. Several flights were also undertaken to Le Touquet, while during the summer, the Dragons would often find themselves transporting horse racing punters to some of the country’s largest events, Juliet Zulu making one such trip to Newmarket on July 13th. As the 1949 summer season drew to a close, JZ found herself taking in the odd airshow including a jaunt to Horsham St-Faith where she would offer pleasure flights, piloted by Sqd Ldr Jones himself. However, by October, she had been retired for the winter season.

Juliet Zulu sat idle until January 1950 after which, she would fly a charter to Blackpool accompanied by G-AKRN. The upcoming season saw few changes to the one before with the exception of an extension to the BEA associate agreement which required EAFS to fly an extra leg between Southend and Birmingham on its Ostend route, although in reality, this seldom happened. Then in May 1950, BEA signed yet another agreement with EAFS, this time to provide services between Southend and Jersey which would continue through to September of that year. The following year would see several changes, this coming about with the addition of Shoreham to EAFS’ route schedule.

While EAFS’ own fortunes may have been changing for the better, the ever looming, British, economic recession and the subsequent onset of foreign exchange controls which were implemented during 1951 resulted in the inevitable downturn in overseas travel and as such, EAFS were forced to wind down operations. As such, the aircraft were either stored or put to work flying pleasure flights. However, the 1952 season opened with a more positive spring in its step and soon the airline was back in business with all three Dragons flying the new, Southend – Shoreham – Jersey route and the old, Southend – Ostend service. The year 1953, would see one new route emerge, that of the Southend – Shoreham – Le Bourget service and although it was slow to establish, all of the Dragons would take turns flying it, along with the other two established and very popular routes to Jersey and Ostend.

The addition of Ipswich to EAFS’ schedule during 1954 would see Juliet Zulu offering pleasure flights on an unofficial ‘Open-Day’ along with Dragon Romeo November and several smaller types. She would later the fly new EAFS routes which had been applied for during the previous winter months and as such she found herself, plying her trade to Ipswich, Calais, Le Bourget, Guernsey and on occasion Alderney, not to mention the well established Jersey and Ostend routes. However, with the arrival of D.H.104 Doves during 1955, the Dragons would slowly find themselves being relegated to the feeder services between Southend and Ipswich, bringing in passengers for onward flights to the Channel Island and Continental routes that they had previously flown. As such, G-AKJZ would fly the first, revenue service of the year from Ipswich on March 29th and would continue to do much of the same through to the autumn of 1956.

Juliet Zulu was finally retired from service in October of 1956 and with her CoA due to expire in March 1957, she would fly for EAFS no more. In February 1957, she was sold on to a private owner based at Croydon and was delivered there on the 28th.

 

History of G-AKJZ

4/45 to 12/47

Take on charge with the Royal Air Force as NR804

12/47 to 1/48

Sold to Air Navigation and Trading Co, Ltd

1/48 to 2/57

Sold to EAFS/Channel Airways

2/57 to 8/58

Sold to an unknown owner at Croydon

8/58 to 7/59

Anthony Hubbard

Fate

Permanently WFU  7/59 and likely scrapped not long after this

 

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

Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.