An amazing story:
December 1946: A DC-3 Dakota
crash-landed on a roof in London
Diorama and models by Bjørn Jacobsen
This incident happened on the
19th of December 1946.
A DC-3 Dakota G-AGZA from
the Railway Air Services, with
Captain Johnson in charge, was
ready to depart from Northolt
Airport in London on a scheduled
flight to Glasgow Airport and had
a total of four crew and one
passenger on board.
The aircraft had been de-iced
since it was a cold, snowy
The de-icing had delayed the
departure, and while the Dakota
was waiting for take-off, the
temperature dropped, and snow
began falling and froze on the
The snowstorm had closed the
airport to incoming traffic, and
outbound traffic was subject to
After waiting more than an hour,
the aircraft was finally ready for
departure and taxied into
position for take-off.
When the aircraft lifted off, it
could not gain any height.
The ice on the wings disturbed
the air flow and prevented the
aircraft from climbing.
Her propellers were biting at the
air, hardly giving her 50 feet of
She was just barely flying.
The Dakota flew only at a few
metres high straight down Angus
Drive from the end of the runway
until the left wing contacted some
rooftops about a kilometre
(0,6 miles) from the airport.
She hit the roof of the first house,
but her forward motion continued.
The Dakota tore into the roofs of
three more houses before coming to rest on top of 46 Angus Drive in the London suburb of Ruislip.
The speed must have dropped
considerably due to the initial
crashes, whicht was probably
why it stopped so nicely on top of no 46!
G-AGZA was severely damaged,
and radio officer Murdoch was
fortunate that he wasn't sitting in
his seat as some metalwork was
pushed through the seat and it
would probably have killed him
had he been sitting there.
Irene Zigmund and her 4-month-
old-son David were in the
neighbouring house (44 Angus
Drive) at the time the aircraft came to rest on the roof.
The crash did not even wake the
child who was asleep in his cot
In fact, no one was injured in the
The crew and passenger all
descended into the house's loft,
down the loft ladder onto the
landing and then downstairs out
the front door!
The house was damaged, but not
severely, and was later rebuilt.
In fact, the house is standing in
good order today and was named “Dakota’s Rest” after the incident.
It was quickly determined that the cause of the crash was the snow which had frozen to the aircraft's wings while G-AGZA was waiting
to take-off, resulting in the aircraft not gaining any height.
The pilot committed an error of
judgement for failing to abort
take-off after noticing it had been
snowing and his aircraft being
covered in snow.
The crash landing on the house
earned the Captain the nickname
The Dakota involved in the incident made its first flight in 1944 as
C-47A 42-92633 military transport of the United States Army Air
It was later transferred to the
Royal Air Force (RAF) as KG420.
In March 1946, it was registered
to Railway Air Services as a
Dakota 3 with the British registration G-AGZA.
It was written off after the rooftop
crash on 19 December 1946.
Building the Dakota
The kit was the 1/72 from Airfix.
A very nice kit and easy to build, only pity that I just had to make it in bits and pieces.
I made the fuselage and the inner part of the wings with the engines and mounted it on the roof.
When I started to build the roof, I had to remove some parts of the engine nacelles. Otherwise, they would have poked out of the roof (which they did not do).
Building the house of 46 Angus Drive
46 Angus Drive is still standing and looks more or less the same as in 1946. The picture to the left is from Google Street View, and I used it as the base for building the house.
I did not have the exact measurements, but some measures are more or less standard (like a front door is usually about 2 meters high = 28mm in 1/72).
When putting all these kind of certainties/probabilities together, it was easy to draw a 1/72 scale of the house.
For building material, I used Polystyrene Sheets which was easy to cut and easy to glue together.
The painting (acrylic) was of course done by hand, and the Google-picture was used as a guideline.
The pictures below explain the process of building the house.
The drawing and the construction start
The house was initially built without a roof. The reason, of course, was that the Dakota had to be placed on the top and the broken roof had to be built on and around the aircraft.
The damages roof was made of all kinds of bits and pieces, mostly bits of small three spates, strips of Polystyrene sheets and a plastic pattern sheets with "Scalloped Edge Tile" which I used for the roof tiles.
I also had to build a part of the next-door house because the left wingtip of the Dakota cut into this roof before the wing was broken off and came to rest in front of #46.
The wings of the Dakota were placed and moulded as close as possible to what the pictures from 1946 tell.
The aileron and flaps on the left wing seem to be torn loose and can’t be seen anywhere.
It was probably ripped off when the wing til one of the first houses. The right wing was still attached to the aircraft, even if it was broken and twisted.
The wings were pretty banged up at the front edge where it had torn into the roof. To gets it as realistic as possible, I glued on some thin metal sheets which would look more like dents in the wing than the plastic.
The left wing without the aileron and flaps was standing more or less in a vertical position from the roof and down to the garden with a clearly perforated strut visible in the aft end. This was made by perforating a thin sheet of Polystyrene.
Thin metal sheet glued to the wing
The port wong with the missing ailerons and flaps
This incident happened during a snowstorm, and all elements were covered in snow.
To achieve this effect, I used a thin layer of Papier Mache on most of the surfaces.
The Mache was white, but it was also painted with white acrylic paint and coated with Johnson Future (floor polish) to give it a fresh and glossy surface.
Some places which were unpractical to use Papier Mache was painted with acrylic (part of the roof, the vehicles, etc.).
The figures are mostly from my surplus box, which mostly consists of soldiers. But removing the armament, rearranging some arms and legs and painted in dark civilian colours, they could easily be mistaken for civilian onlookers.
The vehicles I used was a fire truck, an ambulance and a civilian car.
The crash happened just a few months after the war, and I suppose there were plenty of pre-military equipment around, like the ambulance,
All building elements are Polystyrene sheets in different thicknesses
Placing the Dakota on the roof
The base: 30 x 40 cm OSB board
The dented metal sheet painted in aluminium
And here is the Diorama
Please note: It is not possible to have snow in the air on a diorama (at least I do not know how to do it). But it was snowing heavily when the incident occurred, and I felt I had to do something to show the real situation. I, therefore, made snowflakes on a couple of pictures, just to see how it really should have looked like. The white dots of “snow” in the air was made with a photo editing program.
Just not to fool anyone, I’ll show the pictures both with and without the “snow” in the air.
I hope you enjoyed this website
Thank you for visiting!
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments