2easyco

Derby Airways tragedy

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Soon after starting school at William Crane a trip was arranged to take a pleasure flight in a Dakota operated by Derby Aviation.

It was only to Skegness and back but it was our first flying experience and I’ve just found a report I wrote for the school magazine.

It was dated 7th April 1960 and the aircraft reg. was G-AMSW. I just researched this aircraft on the internet and was astonished to learn the same aircraft crashed on a mountain at Canigou, France on 7th October 1961 killing all 34 on board.

In this 75th DDay anniversary year I discovered the same aircraft was produced in 1944 so probably operated in the landings by the USAAF and many were lost in the conflict. General Eisenhower was quoted as saying the C47 (Dakota) was second only to the atomic bomb in ending WW2.

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Interesting 2easyco, how did we manage before the Internet?!!  I’m sure it was very sad for you reading what happened to the very plane you’d flown in.   

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I remember Derby Airways back in the early 60's. They operated Dakotas out of a grass airfield at Burnaston. My father sometimes used to send me there (I had just passed my driving test) to put parcels on the plane to Dublin. I could park right next to the aeroplane, weight the parcels on a scale and pass them up to the pilot. Couldn't do that now!

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Weren't Derby Airways what became the beginnings of British Midland ?

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Yes, it was originally Derby Aviation who bought Mercury Airlines, Manchester and then changed their name to British Midland.

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My first flight was in 1961 on a Derby Airways Dakota flight to Guernsey for our family holiday. Trent bus from Huntingdon Street to the airport - check in the luggage in a wooden hut then wait in the concrete ‘terminal’ before embarking. Bumpy grass runway. When we came back it was dark and the grass landing strip was illuminated by burning oil rags in inverted dustbin lids! 

 

My my dad used to take my brother and I there - you could wander into the hangars and the engineers would take you up to the flight deck of the Dakotas and DC4s. I remember them telling us very sternly not to touch the levers that raised the undercarriage! 

 

Security has had got a bit tighter.....

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My first flight to Jersey was from Derby, many years ago.

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