Airspeed Ambassador 2 G-ALZO
This airframe is the sole survivor of the production run of 23 Ambassadors built specifically for BEA, who flew them under the name of "Elizabethan". The prototype Ambassador flew for the first time on 10th July 1947, and was one of the earliest British airliners to have cabin pressurisation.
G-ALZO was delivered to BEA on 25th November 1952, who named it “RMA Christopher Marlowe”. It was operated by BEA until June 1958, then it was stored at Cambridge awaiting disposal. In 1960 it was purchased by the Jordanian Air Force for use on VIP and transport flights, based at Amman. In 1963 it was purchased by Dan-Air and was used to carry both passengers and freight, having been fitted with a rear fuselage .cargo door by Marshalls. On 28th September 1971 it flew from Jersey to Gatwick, the last scheduled flight operated by an Ambassador, and the next day it flew from Gatwick to Rheims and back on a special charter flight. Its last flights were to Zagreb on 2nd October with a replacement engine for a BAC 1-11, returning the following day. It was then retired to the Dan-Air maintenance base at Lasham. It remained there until 1986 when it was donated to the DAS, and it was dismantled and transported by road to Duxford. Its long-term restoration then began and this is still continuing.
The type is particularly remembered for the “Munich air disaster”, in which 23 of the 43 passengers on board lost their lives when a BEA Elizabethan crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport on 6 February 1958. On board the plane was the Manchester United football team, nicknamed the “Busby Babes” after their manager Matt Busby. 8 of the players died as a result of the crash.