Flight 338 ‘Convict Air’ – The Riddle Within

An ATR42-300 airliner entered service with Air Queensland from new as VH-AQD in May 1986 before leaving the southern hemisphere after just over a year for use firstly with JAT Yugoslav Airlines then with a number of other European airlines (see below). The last of these airlines was to be Blue Islands from 2013 to 2016 serving as G-ISLG for flights to the Channel Islands. Upon retirement Air Salvage International at Cotswold Airport began the parting out of the airframe but rather than being scrapped the fuselage was to find uses elsewhere. Visitors to the Bournemouth Air Festival in 2017 may have seen it on the beach modified into an Aerobar painted as ‘Immense Air’. Entertainment business Immense Events had carried out major rework of the fuselage to create a bar with side opening hatches and internal kitchen facilities with the intention of touring the bar to outdoor events around the country. It was stored initially over that winter of 2017/2018 at Bournemouth Aviation Museum but the touring plans did not materialise and so its next move was from the museum to the Greenwich Peninsula, London in April 2019. It was lowered into position in the grounds of Studio 338. a nightclub, at which its life as a bar was briefly utilised prior to conversion to an altogether different purpose.

The Riddle Within immersive entertainment business has carried out repairs and further extensive work required at first to return it to the appearance of an airliner and then with the addition of cages and chains to transform it into the world’s first aircraft escape room. It opened for business in November 2019 and has been very popular with prospective escapees. Escape rooms have become an increasingly popular attraction, and for the first time includes the option of breaking out from an aircraft. Handcuffed participants board the ‘prison flight’ tasked with escaping their chains and the cages inside using clues found within.


VH-AQD             Air Queensland                   16.05.86               Left Fleet

YU-ALK              JAT Yugoslav Airlines          03.07.87               Left Fleet

OY-CIG               DLT                                      03.12.90               Left Fleet

OY-CIG               Lufthansa Cityline                15.03.92               Left Fleet

OY-CIG               Holmstroem Air                   01.10.94               Left Fleet

OY-CIG               Cimber Air                           21.06.95                Left Fleet

F-WKVB              ATR                                      30.06.08                Left Fleet

F-HAAV               Atlantique Air Assistance    05.12.08                Left Fleet

G-ISLG                Blue Islands                         13.02.13         Scrapping commenced 2016

P-51B ‘Berlin Express’ Flies to UK from the States – IWM Duxford, Cambs – 4 July 2017

A North American P-51B Mustang fighter named ‘Berlin Express’ has flown from the US to Duxford tracing the route it flew in 1942; via Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland. Many aircraft did the same as part of the build up of forces in wartime UK, usually in large groups. Some failed to complete the journey. ‘Berlin Express’ was accompanied by a Beech King Air. The P-51 it represents came to fame when reportedly flying UNDER the Eiffel Tower during a dogfight in 1944. Pilot Lee Lauderback made the 5470 mile flight so that the Mustang can take part in the Flying Legends airshow at the weekend and RIAT a week later, the first time this early mark of P-51 has flown in Europe since the war. Following its arrival at Duxford the long range tanks were removed in preparation for display practices.


Demonstration against Tory-DUP Alliance – Westminster, London – 10 June 2017

A demonstration took place in London following news that the Conservative party would be calling on the Democratic Unionist Party to create the required majority in Parliament. Fears that the DUP would be given the chance to promote their extreme views brought out protesters from LGBT and women’s rights groups, with further demonstrators against racism and austerity adding to the numbers. After rallying on Parliament Square many of the protesters marched on Downing Street.

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Anti Nicolas Maduro Demonstration – Belgrave Square, London – 13 May 2017

Protesters gathered under the statue of Simon Bolivar in Belgrave Square, Belgravia, demonstrating against the actions of ‘dictator’ Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and in memory of fellow protesters killed in that country.


‘Storm Katie’damages yacht at Southend – 28 March 2016

The strong winds of Storm Katie that battered the south coast blew a yacht from its moorings and smashed it against the sea wall at Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The yacht – named Limbo Lady – was holed in a number of places. It was secured to points on the wall overnight before being lifted and recovered onto a trailer later in the day.


Fire Prompts Comedy Artwork – 28 March 2016

After a recent house fire a humorous seaside postcard or ‘Banksy’ style painting has appeared on a blanked out window. The derelict building in Southchurch Avenue already sported a number of paintings by local artist John Bulley, but the recent addition was added after the upper storey was gutted by fire on the 3 March 2016. John commented on the piece “”Kiss me quick on sea” a low rent Phoenix rising from the ashes…a celebration of Southend’s true cultural history…the working class one…the one that Southend Borough Council seems so ashamed of…… “Upmarket me arse on sea” more like…”




Song of the Sea book launch – Leigh-on-Sea, Essex – 25 April 2015

Fisherman Colin Dolby from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, was lost at sea in 2008 when his trawler ‘Louisa’ capsized in a freak storm off of the Shoeburyness coast. The Dolby family had been fishing in the Thames for over 300 years, a tradition which came to an end with Colin’s passing. His widow, Jane, soon began a campaign to improve safety for trawlermen, and in 2012 set up ‘The Fishwives Choir’ to raise funds for the Fishermen’s Mission charity. Mrs Dolby said she had received “the most incredible support” from the charity following the disappearance of her husband, whose body was not recovered until eight months after the sinking. “They stayed central to our lives for the whole time. They supported us spiritually and financially,” she said. “Because Colin’s body was missing I couldn’t get a death certificate to prove he was dead, so I couldn’t claim any benefits and had no income. “The Fishermen’s Mission provided us with money and food. They helped us to survive.” The members of the choir are all related to fishing families or are involved themselves and their charity single – When The Boat Comes In/ Eternal Father – was released in the spring of 2012, and they continue to tour up and down the country.

Jane has published her story in a book titled ‘Song of the Sea’ which was launched today at The Fishermen’s Chapel in Leigh-on-Sea, and is available through Orion Publishing: ‘Song of the Sea’


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