20 June 2024 Civil/General Aviation » Accidents - Civil » 1960 - 1969  



05.01.60 V. Viscount B.E.A. G-AMNY Hit the old control tower building situated between Parks 1 & 2, after suffering a hydraulic system pressure loss, leading to the wheel brakes and nosewheel steering becoming inoperative. An attempt by the pilot to raise the undercarriage to stop the aircraft from its forward movement also failed. The hydraulic loss was traced to a fractured pipe line and a non-return valve (intended to conserve pressure if there were a pressure loss in the main hydraulic system) failing to operate as intended.

Pilot suffered slight injuries, with damage occurring to the control tower. From the Custom files at the National Archives, the aircraft landed at 19:05, flight number BE142/0501. website gives cause of crash as loss of hydraulic power. The aircraft was described as “damaged beyond repair”. NOTE – The upper part of the tower (i.e. the glass area) was dismantled in the nineties.

Aircraft was moved to Park 1 on the 15th, then by the security fence on the 20th.
07.08.61 V. Vanguard B.E.A. G-APEC Aircraft with 70 passengers on board burst the tyres on landing at Luqa Airport; no injuries reported.
08.02.62 DC-6 Cunard Eagle G-APON Arrived at 04:45, departure date and time of 8th at 06:50 crossed out, replaced with the 11th at 10:10. UK-Malta-UK flight.
02.06.62 V. Vanguard B.E.A. G-APET Arrived at 11:50 on flight as BE192. Original departure time of 19:30 put back to 21:15 on the 4th.
06.07.62 L-749A Trek A/Ws ZS-DBU Arrived from South Africa on the 5th at 14:30. Departure time of 22:00 crossed out, replaced with 06:30 on the 7th.
21.07.62 Cessna 182 Aviation Services International N6345B Arrived on the 20th at 15:00. Departure on this day at 09:00 cancelled, the aircraft leaving on the 22nd at 11:00. See deliveries page ‘P’ for additional details on this aircraft.
15.08.62 DC-6 B.U.A. G-ARXZ Arrived at 03:15 from South Africa on flight BR552. Original departure time of 05:00 put back to 10:15 on the 16th.
21.10.62 DC-4 Trans Atlantic A/Ls N90443 Aircraft arrived at 19:30. Departure date/time 22nd at 02:20, crossed out and replaced by the 24th at 11:20.
21.10.62 Viscount B.E.A. G-APOX c/s MN239. Arrived from Libya the previous day at 18:50. Departure for Catania at 15:05 crossed out, replaced with ETD 18:30 for Tripoli. Note in Customs file had the following note: ”Put back at 16:45 owing to impracticability of landing at Catania.”.
29.10.62 SA Caravelle Sabena OO-SRP Diversion on a flight from Tripoli.

Airlift to Australia

The following aircraft were chartered by the P. and O. shipping line to airlift passengers from the liner “Canberra” (which had broken down near Malta).

The liner had left Southampton on 31.12.62, heading for Australia.

A fire developed in the starboard main switchboard in the morning of 04.01.63, when 160 miles north-east miles, but was brought under control, forcing the captain to change course for Malta, with 2230 passengers. She was assisted by the P&O liner Stratheden, by the cruiser HMS Lion, the destroyer HMS Scorpion, and a 38 squadron Shackleton. The RN ships were later recalled, with Canberra entering Grand Harbour on the 5th.

Passengers had the option of continuing to Australia by air at P&O’s expense, return to the UK or stay in Malta at their own expense. The Times of Malta quoted a passenger who said that “I wanted a sea voyage, and I think I should get it”. But a liaison officer on board the ship replied that it would be difficult to find a ship similar to the Canberra lying idle at the time.

115 passengers, including 80 deemed physically unable to fly, continued by sea on board the Dutch liner Willem Ruys which arrived from Southampton on the 8th.

Two EL Al aircraft, and another unknow type, cancelled their flights, as they were unable to obtain transit rights.

The Canberra eventually left Malta for the UK on the 14th.

From an enthusiast’s point of view, this airlift presented the Maltese enthusiasts of that era with the first influx of jet-powered civilian aircraft.

With the exception of the military, “large” passenger-carrying civilian aircraft of this era consisted mostly of propeller driven DC-3s, -4s and -6’s, Viscounts and Vanguards, Britannias and Constellations. The first jet-powered civilian airliner, the DH Comet, started landing in Malta for a refueling stop from January 1953.

It comes as no surprise that the Times reporter referred to the aircraft used in the airlift as “giant”. Even the 111-foot long Comet 4 would have been dwarfed by the 707’s 152-foot long fuselage.

06.01.63 V. Viscount-736 B.U.A. G-AODG Arrived from Gatwick at 22:45, departing for Cairo on the 7th at 10:45. Returned from Aden on the 9th, departing for the UK the same day.
08.01.63 DC-8-33 KLM PH-DCG Arrived at 00:30, departed for Perth at 01:30. c/n 45382.
08.01.63 DC-6A/C Hunting Clan Air Transport G-APNO Landed at 03:30, departing for Auckland at 23:00, returning for a night stop on the 17th at 20:00 departing on the 18th at 11:30. BUA listed as handling agent. c/n 45531.
08.01.63 DC-6A/C Hunting Clan Air Transport G-APNP This aircraft had arrived two days earlier heading for Aden. This was its return journey to the UK as BR598, landing at 04:45, departing for Auckland on the 9th at 11:00. BUA listed as handling agent. c/n 45532.
08.01.63 B.707-138 QANTAS VH-EBA Arrived from Sydney at 14:30, departing at 21:20. c/n 17696-29. First B.707 to land in Malta.
09.01.63 B.720-048 Irish Int’l A/Ls EI-ALB Arrived from Ireland at 15:25, departing for Sydney at 17:15. c/n 18042.
09.01.63 B.707-138B QANTAS VH-EBI At Luqa between 15:50-21:00 from/to Sydney. Seen again on the 13th between 15:35-21:30. c/n 18068-227.
10.01.63 B. Britannia 313 British Eagle G-ARWZ Arrived from Stansted at 04:45 w/o passengers, departing at 16:15 with 105 pax, bound Damascus, Bombay, Singapore, Darwin and Melbourne. BUA listed as handling agent. c/n 13233.
10.01.63 B.707-430 Lufthansa D-ABOD Arrived from Frankfurt at 11:30, departing for Sydney at 13:00. c/n 17720.
11.01.63 B.707-430 Lufthansa D-ABOF Arrived from Frankfurt at 16:50, departing for Sydney on the 12th at unknown time. c/n 17721-162.
11.01.63 DC-8-33 KLM PH-DCE Arrival time unknown, departing for Sydney on the 12th at 01:20. c/n 45380.
13.01.63 B.720-040B P.I.A. AP-AMJ Arrived from Karachi at 08:10, departing for Sydney at 10:15. c/n 18380-324. This aircraft would be leased by Air Malta starting from March 1974, purchased in March 1979, and sold off in September 1984.
13.01.63 B.720-048 Irish Int’l A/Ls EI-ALC Arrived from Ireland at 16:05, departing for Sydney at 18:15. c/n 18043.
14.01.63 B.707-436 BOAC G-APFE Arrived as BE197 at 17:50, departed at 19:15 to Tel Aviv, Teheran, Darwin & Sydney. c/n 17706.
14.01.63       Unknown aircraft diverted to Malta to pick up passengers for Naples.
18.01.63 L.1049E Super Constellation QANTAS VH-EAK Departed Sydney on the 15th, w/o pax via Darwin, Singapore, Calcutta, Karachi and Damascus, landing at Luqa at 10:00. Departed on the 21st at 20:30 for Melbourne.

According to the website, this was the aircraft’s final flight, being sold to Boeing as a trade-in for a Boeing 707 the following month.



31.10.63   B.E.A.   Aircraft was on a London-Malta flight when it was struck by lightning off Palermo Sicily. Diverted to Palermo airport for repairs, including damage to radar. Fight arrived 8 hours behind schedule.
09.09.64 L. Constellation Skyways Ltd   Aircraft forced to return to Luqa by engine problems.
04.02.65 L. 1049G Constellation   9G-28 Diverted to Luqa Airport because of an unserviceable engine. Loaded with 200 boxes of 17,991 rounds of rifle ammunition, 40 boxes containing 115,200 rounds of sub-machine gun ammunition, 1000 rifles, 2 sub-machine guns, 1000 pouches and 100 parachutes, which were confiscated by the Maltese authorities. The (American) pilots were allowed to leave after paying a fine for a) contravening the Colonial Air Navigation Ordinance 1961, which stated that an aircraft may not be used for the carriage of munitions of war, and b) piloting a falsely-registered aircraft. Aircraft spent several moths impounded at Luqa, being allowed to leave on 29.01.66.
16.11.65 DH Comet BEA G-APMF c/n 6426. Aircraft collided with an RAF sweeper, and damaged right wing tip.

Aircraft Safety Network has additional details about this incident.

Having obtained ATC clearance, the captain taxied out from the apron, behind a parked Vickers Vanguard, and turned right on to the taxiway towards the take-off point for runway 24. A sweeper vehicle on the taxiway was some 300 yards from the Comet and heading towards it. The driver saw the Comet approaching and turned left off the taxiway; as he did so, he saw a "No Entry" Sign painted on the tarmac and momentarily stopped. He then continued slowly to drive away from the taxiway, to give the aircraft sufficient clearance but, at this point, the wing tip of the Comet struck the vehicle. The tip was damaged and had to be changed. The crew of the aircraft saw nothing of the vehicle and had not been warned that it was there. The vehicle was painted a dull grey and had no R/T or beacon light.
15.12.65 V. Vanguard B.E.A. G-APER Burst tyres on landing on runway 06 at approx. 09:00Z. Runway obstructed until 11:20Z.
01.02.66 P. PA-32-6 Cherokee   5Y-ADE Aircraft was a delivery flight to Kenya, departing on the 3rd. According to the Half a century ago section in The Times, which quoted the ferry pilot, Mr. Van der Vlugt, the aircraft’s engine was suffering from jammed valves, necessitating repairs. This would explain the three-day lay-over.

For the webmaster, this also raises the question of who actually did the work. MIACO was still thirteen months from being set up, and there were no known maintenance companies at the time. Malta Airlines, which was a joint British/Maltese operation, may have had engineers based here. Or was such work entrusted to RAF personnel? Anyone who is/was familiar with what happened in such cases in those days is welcome to e-mail me.
22.05.66 V. Vanguard B.E.A. G-APEU Aircraft burst two tyres during a training session on runway 06, blocking the runway between 15:19Z and 17:40Z. Aircraft was in Malta between 20th-29th May.
20.11.66 DH Comet BEA   Aircraft struck by lightning on flight to Malta.
__.12.67 F. F-27 Linair OY-DNF According to a report which appeared in The Times of Malta dated 12 December, the aircraft had been in Malta for “about 10 days” waiting the necessary permit to land in Libya. Aircraft was photographed on the 2nd.
04.12.67 V. Vanguard BEA G-APEO Aircraft was being used on a pilot training programme. Photographed landing with engine feathered.
16.02.68 L. 1049G Constellation   5T-TAF Aircraft was carrying a cargo of tires for the Biafra war effort in Nigeria. Registration actually belonged to a Cessna. The crew was arrested, and – despite the objections of the Director of Civil Aviation – allowed out on bail. Crew promptly escaped from the island. Aircraft eventually sold by auction, and towed to the outskirts of Safi village on 14.01.73 for conversion into a bar & restaurant, being officially inaugurated as such on 06.06.74. Aircraft eventually destroyed in arson attack, Jan 97.
25.07.68       General Workers' Union (G.W.U.) calls for a 24 hour general strike but full support is not forthcoming. The Airport is badly hit by the strike and all Malta flights have been cancelled.
02.01.69 L. C-130     Aircraft had arrived on 29.12.68. Crew, spending Christmas holidays in Malta, were asked to leave as the aircraft was taking up parking space. As the aircraft was on park 8, it is assumed this was a civilian operator.
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