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1957 Aquila Airways Solent crash

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Summary  Engine stoppage
Survivors  13
Registration  G-AKNU
Operator  Aquila Airways
Survivor  13
Crew count  8
Passengers  50
Aircraft type  Short Solent 3
Start date  November 15, 1957
Fatalities  45
Passenger count  50
1957 Aquila Airways Solent crash
Site  Near Chessell, Isle of Wight, England
Similar  1957 Blackbushe Viking ac, British European Airways F, Maritime Central Airways F, Sutton Wick air crash, 1957 Pacoima mid‑air co

The 1957 Aquila Airways Solent crash occurred on the Isle of Wight in England on 15 November. With 45 lives lost, at the time it was the second worst aircraft accident within the United Kingdom.


Accident sequence

The aircraft, an Aquila Airways Short Solent 3 flying boat named the City of Sydney, registered G-AKNU, departed Southampton Water at 22:46 on a flight to Las Palmas and Madeira via Lisbon. At 22:54 the crew radioed to report that the number 4 propeller had been feathered (No. 4 engine feathered. Coming back in a hurry. ). During an attempt to return, the Solent crashed into a disused chalk pit adjacent to heavily forested downland. The crash site is on a steep eastern slope of Shalcombe Down, above the small villages of Chessell and Shalcombe.

At the time of impact the plane was banked 45 degrees to the right, the same side of the aircraft that had lost all engine power according to the accident report. Except for the tail, the aircraft was destroyed. Of the 50 passengers and eight crew on board, 45 were killed and 13 injured. Initially 43 perished, but two more later succumbed to their injuries.

Possible causes

A public inquiry by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch of the Ministry of Transport concluded that the essential cause remains unknown. The accident was caused by the stoppage of the No.3 engine while the No.4 engine was also stopped. What caused the initial failure of the No.4 engine is unknown. The cause of the subsequent number 3 engine stoppage was either an electrical failure in the fuel cutoff actuator circuit or the accidental operation of the cutoff switch.


A 50th anniversary memorial service was held in the village of Brook, Isle of Wight on 18 November 2007 to commemorate the lives lost. In October 2008 a permanent memorial was dedicated at Brook's St Mary's Church, about 1 km (⅔ mi) due south of the crash site.


1957 Aquila Airways Solent crash Wikipedia

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