Aquila Airways' City of Sydney Crashes
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 the accident report. Apart from 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.
The Aquila Airways Solent flying boat departed Southampton at 22:46 for a flight to Lisbon and Madeira. At 22:54 the crew radioed that the number 4 propeller had been feathered. While trying to return, the Solent crashed into the face of a quarry between Chessel and Brook. At impact the aircraft was banked 45 degrees to the right.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The accident was caused by the stoppage of the No.3 engine at a time when the No.4 engine was stopped. The cause of the stoppage of the No.4 engine is unknown. The cause of the stoppage of the No.3 engine was either an electrical failure in the fuel cut-off actuator circuit or the accidental operation of the cut-off switch."
The Aquilla Airlines plane, carrying 50 passengers and eight crew, crashed into a disused chalk pit near Chessell on 15 November 1957.
Forty-three passengers and crew died at the scene and two died later.
A permanent memorial was dedicated to St Mary's Church in Brook, close to the crash site, on Sunday afternoon.
The plane, en route from Southampton to Las Palmas and Madeira via Lisbon, developed engine problems shortly after take-off and crashed at about 2250 GMT.