Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Aviation’ Category

a12089_imp_air_05
Imperial Airways
was the early British commercial long range air transport company, operating from 1924 to 1939 and serving parts of Europe but principally the British Empire routes to South Africa, India and the Far East, including Malaya and Hong Kong. There were local partnership companies; Qantas (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd) in Australia and TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Ltd) in New Zealand.

a12089_imp_air_06Imperial Airways was merged into the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) in 1939, which in turn merged with the British European Airways Corporation to form British Airways.

Background

The establishment of Imperial Airways occurred in the context of facilitating overseas settlement by making travel to and from the colonies quicker, and that flight would also speed up colonial government and trade that was until then dependent upon ships. The launch of the airline followed a burst of air route survey in the British Empire after the First World War, and after some experimental (and often dangerous) long-distance flying to the margins of Empire.

Empire services

Route proving

Between 16 November 1925 and 13 March 1926 Alan Cobham made an Imperial Airways’ route survey flight from the UK to Cape Town and back in the Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar–powered de Havilland DH.50J floatplane G-EBFO. The outward route was London– Paris– Marseille– Pisa– Taranto– Athens– Sollum– Cairo– Luxor– Assuan– Wadi- Halfa– Atbara– Khartoum– Malakal– Mongalla– Jinja– Kisumu– Tabora– Abercorn– Ndola– BrokenHill– Livingstone– Bulawayo– Pretoria– Johannesburg– Kimberley– Blomfontein– Cape Town. On his return Cobham was awarded the Air Force Cross for his services to aviation.

a12089_imp_air_01

On 30 June 1926 Alan Cobham took off from the River Medway at Rochester in G-EBFO to make an Imperial Airways route survey for a service to Melbourne, arriving on 15 August. He left Melbourne on 29 August and, after completing 28,000 miles in 320 hours flying time over 78 days, he alighted on the Thames at Westminster on 1 October. Cobham was met by the Secretary of State for Air, Sir Samuel Hoare, and was subsequently knighted by HM King George V.

a12089_imp_air_04

27 December 1926 Imperial Airways de Havilland DH.66 Hercules G-EBMX City of Delhi left Croydon for a survey flight to India. The flight reached Karachi on 6 a12089_imp_air_07January and Delhi on 8 January. The aircraft was named by Lady Irwin, wife of the Viceroy, on 10 January 1927. The return flight left on 1 February 1927 and arrived at Heliopolis, Cairo on 7 February. The flying time from Croydon to Delhi was 62 hours 27 minutes and Delhi to Heliopolis 32 hours 50 minutes.

Short Empire Flying Boats

In 1937 with the introduction of Short Empire flying boats built at Short Brothers, Imperial Airways could offer a through-service from Southampton to the Empire. The journey to the Cape was via Marseille, Rome, Brindisi, Athens, Alexandria, Khartoum, Port Bell, Kisumu and onwards by land-based craft to Nairobi, Mbeya and eventually Cape Town. Survey flights were also made across the Atlantic and to New Zealand. By mid-1937 Imperial had completed its thousandth service to the Empire. Starting in 1938 Empire flying boats also flew between Britain and Australia via India and the Middle East.

a12089_imp_air_02

In March 1939 three Shorts a week left Southhampton for Australia, reaching Sydney after ten days of flying and nine overnight stops. Three more left for South Africa, taking six flying days to Durban.

a12089_imp_air_03

Air Mail

Flown cover carried around the world on PAA Boeing 314 Clippers and Imperial Airways Short S23 flying boats 24 June-28 July 1939

In 1934 the Government began negotiations with Imperial Airways to establish a service (Empire Air Mail Scheme) to carry mail by air on routes served by the airline. Indirectly these negotiations led to the dismissal in 1936 of Sir Christopher Bullock, thePermanent Under-Secretary at the Air Ministry, who was found by a Board of Inquiry to have abused his position in seeking a position on the board of the company while these negotiations were in train. The Government, including the Prime Minister, regretted the decision to dismiss him, later finding that, in fact, no corruption was alleged and sought Bullock’s reinstatement which he declined.

The Empire Air Mail Programme began in July 1937, delivering anywhere for 1½ d./oz. By mid-1938 a hundred tons of mail had been delivered to India and a similar amount to Africa. In the same year, construction was started on the Empire Terminal in Victoria, London, designed by A. Lakeman and with a statue by Eric Broadbent, Speed Wings Over the World gracing the portal above the main entrance. From the terminal there were train connections to Imperial’s flying boats at Southampton and coaches to its landplane base at Croydon Airport. The terminal operated as recently as 1980.

To help promote use of the Air Mail service, in June and July 1939, Imperial Airways participated with Pan American Airways in providing a special “around the world” service; Imperial carried the souvenir mail from Foynes, Ireland, to Hong Kong, out of the eastbound New York to New York route.

a12089_imp_air_08
Captain H.W.C. Alger and his wife

Pan American provided service from New York to Foynes (departing 24 June, via the first flight of Northern FAM 18) and Hong Kong to San Francisco (via FAM 14), and United Airlines carried it on the final leg from San Francisco to New York, arriving on 28 July.

Captain H.W.C. Alger was the pilot for the inaugural air mail flight carrying mail from England to Australia for the first time on the Short Empire flying boat Castor for Imperial Airways’ Empires Air Routes, in 1937.

Text from Wikipedia

Read Full Post »

a12087_ejecting
Test Pilot George Aird, flying an English Electric Lightning F1
ejected  from his plane at only about 100 feet in the air in 1962.

Read Full Post »

Passengers in fur and high heels supped champagne from crystal glasses as bee-hived air stewardesses handed out deluxe freebies, from cigars and deodorant to embossed evening robes. Come evening time, guests could stretch out on full-size sleeper beds, where they were pampered in style with thick blankets, slippers and large, fluffy pillows.

There was no need to worry about leg room; 1950s and 60s airliners such as Imperial Airways and Pan Am came with vast amounts of space. There was room enough to have space for spiral staircases, meals served on actual tables, bathrooms with urinals in, and mile-high bars serving exotic cocktails.

From luxury dining to glamorous guests and acres of space, here’s a collection of vintage photos from the golden age of air travel, via Stylist Magazine.

1. The Marvellous Meals

Once upon a time, an in-flight meal meant bow-tied waiters serving a three-course feast on actual tables, with linen tablecloths and fresh flowers to boot. Forget cardboard and polystyrene trays – it was china and glass all the way…


Passengers enjoy a drink and a game of cards in the cabin of
an Imperial Airways plane in 1936


Dining service aboard the Pan American Martin Clipper aircraft, circa 1936

2. The Leg Room

There was no such thing as reclining rows. No-one ever had to argue over space, because they had acres of it – guests could have easily performed cartwheels round the cabin if they fancied it.

Relaxing in the main salon aboard the Pan American Martin Clipper aircraft,
circa 1936

Text and images found on vintage everyday

Read Full Post »

a12048_the flying car
From an article from 1933 found on James Vaughan’s flickr albums

Read Full Post »

a1142_jersey airways

Jersey Airways was an airline that operated air services to and from the Channel Islands from 1933 until 1947, when it became part of British European Airways.

a1142_jersey airways_03History

Jersey Airways Limited was formed by W L Thurgood on 9 December 1933. The first commercial service took place on 18 December, with a passenger service from Jersey to Portsmouth. In the absence of a proper airport, the aircraft used St. Aubin’s beach at West Park, St. Helier, and the airline had its maintenance base at Portsmouth Airport, (moving to Southampton Airport in 1935). On Sunday, 28 January 1934, the first flights began from Heston (with a special bus connection from London) to Jersey, in March 1934 flights began from Southampton, and during summer 1934, a service was operated
to Paris. In its a1142_jersey airways_01first full year, Jersey Airways carried 20,000 passengers, using a fleet of eight DH.84 Dragons, each capable of carrying eight passengers.

On 1 December 1934, Channel Islands Airways was registered as a holding company for Jersey Airways Ltd. and its subsidiary Guernsey Airways Ltd. which had been formed a week earlier. Shares were bought by the Great Western Railway and the Southern Railway. This allowed expansion, and in 1935, six four-engined DH.86s and two DH.89 Dragon Rapides were introduced, to replace the Dragons. On 8 January 1935, a service began to Rennes, in France, although on 29 March 1935 it ceased. In April 1936, a Plymouth-Jersey service began, and in 1938 to Exeter, Dinard and Shoreham.

a1142_jersey airways_05

Jersey Airport opened on 10 March 1937, and Jersey Airways was able to operate a fixed timetable that no longer depended on the state of the tides. This also meant the company obtained the mail-carrying contract, freight traffic increased, and night flights could begin.

a1142_jersey airways_02Meanwhile, in Guernsey, things were at a less advanced stage, and most air services were those by flying boats and amphibians. Guernsey Airways was very much smaller than its sister company in Jersey. Two Saro flying boats were used: Windhover (G-ABJP) and Saro Cloud (G-ABXW), named “Cloud of Iona”. In May 1939,Guernsey’s new airport was opened. On 8 May 1939, Guernsey Airways began a service to Southampton, using a DH.86A (G-ADVK) and a DH.86B (G-AENR), later joined by a DH.95 Flamingo (G-AFUF). In June 1939, the prototype Flamingo (G-AFUE) was evaluated by Jersey Airways, but further orders for the type were frustrated by world events.

At the outbreak of war on 3 September 1939, flights to the Channel Islands ceased. In a1142_jersey airways_04November 1939, services resumed from Shoreham, under the direction of National Air Communications. On 13 June 1940, all scheduled air services between the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands were suspended. The following day, Jersey Airways began flying its staff and equipment to the United Kingdom mainland, and on 18–19 June 1940, the DH.86 fleet was used to evacuate 320 islanders to the mainland, before German forces occupied the islands on 1 July 1940. One DH.86 (G-ADVK) was on overhaul at Jersey at the time, and was abandoned; the rest of the fleet was impressed into RAF service.

Following the liberation of the islands in 1945, Channel Islands Airways resumed scheduled services in June 1945, using ex-RAF DH.89A Dragon Rapides. Jersey Airways and Guernsey Airways flights then terminated at Southampton and at Croydon. In May 1946, a Bristol 170 Wayfarer (G-AGVB) was loaned to Channel Islands Airways.

a1142_jersey airways_06
De Havilland DH.86 Express, G-ACZN, Channel Islands Airways – Jersey Airways

In 1947, the British government nationalised the UK airlines, including Jersey Airways, to form British European Airways (BEA). The Channel Islands authorities resisted this move, feeling that it was unacceptable to be dictated to by the British Government, who had no legal jurisdiction over the islands. However it was made plain that flights from the Channel Islands would not otherwise be allowed to land in England, and consequently on 1 April 1947, the airline staff, the eight Dragon Rapides and their routes all became parts of BEA.

Text from Wikipedia

Read Full Post »

a1131_mariner 2_02‘Music of spheres’ hails Venus fly-by

The unmanned US spacecraft, Mariner 2, has taken the first-ever scan from space of the planet Venus. The mission took the spacecraft closer to Venus than any had ever been. Radio contact was established at about 19:00 GMT, heard in the form of strange chord-like sounds at the Goldstone tracking station in California.

As the sounds were picked up at Goldstone for the first time, Dr William Pickering of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, "Listen to the music of the spheres."

Long-distance signal

The scan lasted a little over 40 minutes, seeking heat and microwave emissions breaking through the cloud cover around the planet. The continuing signal transmitted a wealth of information across 36 million miles (58 million km) of space. The readings will now be analysed to see if they indicate some form of life on Venus.

James Webb, Nasa administrator, called the 110-day flight an unqualified success. He said Mariner’s observation systems were working perfectly.

"More may be added to Man’s knowledge of the planet Venus than has been gained in all the thousands of years of recorded history," James Webb, Nasa administrator

Never before has a radio signal successfully been transmitted over such a distance.

a1131_mariner 2_03

Setbacks

The success of the mission is all the more remarkable as it had to overcome continual setbacks. The most recent was this morning when the electronic commander on board failed twice to trigger the radiometers on board the spacecraft.

Finally at 13:41 GMT Mariner 2 verified the radio signal had been received and acted on. Other problems included the loss of the craft’s direction control nearly two weeks into the mission, possibly due to a collision with a small object.

a1131_mariner 2_01

Then at the end of October, one solar panel failed, turning off scientific instruments for a week. The panel failed again at the beginning of last month, but by then Mariner 2 was close enough to the Sun for one panel to supply enough power.

There was further tension during the past week when the space capsule began overheating in temperatures which turned out to be far higher than allowed for by scientists. In the event, however, instruments continued to function despite the heat.

In Context

After the results of the Mariner 2 scan were analysed, the first picture emerged of the atmosphere on Venus. They revealed that the planet rotates in the opposite direction to the Earth – only one other planet in the Solar System, Uranus, does this – and has high surface temperatures.

They also showed an atmosphere dominated by carbon dioxide, continuous cloud cover and no detectable magnetic field.

Despite many attempts, no more data was received from Venus until the Soviet Venera 4 in 1967. More Venera probes and landers in the years that followed, as well as two Nasa probes known as Pioneer Venus, increased knowledge of the hostile conditions on the planet.

Then in 1989, Nasa launched the Magellan mission, the most ambitious and successful exploration of Venus to date.

Between 1990 and 1994 the spacecraft orbited Venus and successfully mapped the majority of its surface, before plunging into the atmosphere and disintegrating under the massive pressures.

A further mission to the planet was undertaken by the European Space Agency. Known as the Venus Express, it launched in November 2005 and began sending back its first pictures in April 2006.

Text from BBC’s OnThisDay

Read Full Post »

a1086_BOAC-Flying-boat-meal-1946-
Original caption from a BOAC ad from 1946:
Passengers on long-distance Empire flights will soon be enjoying four course meals, served 10 000 feet above the Mediterranean or Persian Gulf. In a specially equipped London kitchen, BOAC’s experts are completing experiments with novel “deep freezing” methods. They are aiming at perfection in pre-cooking, packaging and freezing at exceptionally low temperatures, BOAC will establish a chain of depots where air meals will be prepared and terminals in the Dominions will be equipped for catering on return journeys. Picture shows a captain of a flying-boat dining with passengers when nearing Lisbon, en route to America. They are enjoying a three course hot dinner cooked and frozen some days before it was put in a special heater and served piping hot.

Text from flashbak

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: