Bristol 170 Freighter Mk IIA – c/n 12763

With EAFS/Channel from Aug 1957 to May 1966

The second and last of Channel’s Bristol 170’s Wayfarers arrived at Southend on August 18th 1957 loaded with 1.5 tons of spares. The Wayfarer was developed as a passenger version of the ubiquitous Bristol Freighter with the capacity to lift 56 passengers, although these aircraft would still end up hauling plenty of cargo much in the same way as their Freighter and Superfreighter contemporaries. With G-AIFO already in service, this aircraft would remain idle for the rest of 1957 and early 1958, during which time she would be prepared for service. Her first flight would come on May 21st 1958 with a short jaunt round the airport to test her systems, then on the 23rd she would depart empty to Rotterdam, returning a couple of hours later loaded to the gills with tomatoes. Indeed over the next couple of years, Charlie Tango would end up hauling more cargo than her stable mate FO and often travelled further afield, such as on October 13th 1958 when she departed to Milan returning several days later via Rome.

With the onset of winter 1959, AICT was removed from service and would not fly again for almost 18 months. She was eventually reactivated on March 31st 1961 with a 2-1/2 hour test flight, after which she departed later that day to Ostend with an almost full load of passengers. However, only three days later again at Ostend, she would become involved in a slight prang when she inadvertently collided with another aircraft, although thankfully the damage was only minor and she was ferried back to Southend where she was quickly repaired. By 1961, she had returned mostly to passenger services and along with G-AIFO would ply her trade between Southend and Ostend, Rotterdam and the Channel Islands. That said, the odd freight charter still popped up from time to time and again, along with her sister ship she hauled papers to Belfast on the night of May 13th and 14th. By October, services were once more winding down and CT was withdrawn for the winter.

Her return to the skies came on April 12th 1962 and once more, she began moving people to Rotterdam on the lucrative ‘bulb trips’ and while frequent visits to the old, cross-Channel favourites would continue to make up much of her summer work, new destinations would still crop up every now and then with Charlie Tango making her first visit to Luxembourg on June 5th/6th 1962. Invariably, this is how things would continue over the coming years and by 1964, the summer season would also see Channel records being broken with G-AICT and G-AIFO making 38 round trips between SEN and Ostend during mid-July 1964 when she transported an impressive total of 2,680 pax. With G-AIFO having been removed from service during October 1964, Charlie Tango remained available, although she too would be rested over the winter to fly one last season in 1965.

In fact, while she was brought back to life in the spring of 1965, her work load was significantly reduced and as the year progressed, she found herself being mostly confined to the Ostend route and even here, she was quickly replaced by Viscounts. Indeed, by the summer she would become something of a familiar sight on the Rochester feeder route hauling passengers back and forth on this very short hop across the River Thames. Freighting work would still crop up occasionally too and it was on October 7th 1965, that she made such a flight which also ended up being her final trip for Channel. On her last day she dropped two tons of cargo in Antwerp, before returning to SEN via Ostend with 44 passengers. She was subsequently WFU and stored at SEN until being scrapped in May of the following year.


History of G-AICT

8/46 to 4/52

The Bristol Aeroplane Company (Leased to Airwork from 3/48 to 4/49)

4/52 to 8/57

West African Airways as VR-NAL

8/57 to 5/66

EAFS/Channel Airways as G-AICT


WFU at Southend 10/65 – B/U 5/66


Do you have any 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.