In order to compete with Pan American, BOAC purchased a
fleet of ten Stratocruisers in 1949
primarily for use on their
North American services. These were augmented with four
machines when that carrier
found them uneconomical to operate on their Hawaiian services.
G-ALSA, seen here in this
Jennifer Gradidge shot taxiing along the northern perimeter of a very
undeveloped London Airport
in 1950, was originally built to a Svensk
(SILA - SAS' holding
company) order, but
not taken up. BOAC, who received it in October
of 1949 named it "RMA Cathay". On
Christmas Day, 1954, the Stratocruiser was high on
approach to Prestwick,
Scotland, on the first leg of a flight from London to New York. In an
overcome this situation, the captain increased the rate of descent and
flared too late.
As a result the aircraft
impacted the ground short of the runway threshold. Pilot
error was cited
as the cause of the
accident in which 28 of the 36 souls on board perished.