Posts Tagged ‘Aviation history’


Experienced women pilots, like Lee, were eager to join the WASP, and responded to interview requests by Cochran. Members of the WASP reported to Avenger Field, in wind swept Sweetwater, Texas for an arduous 6-month training program. Lee was accepted into the 4th class, 43 W 4. Hazel Ying Lee was the first Chinese American woman to fly for the United States military.

Although flying under military command, the women pilots of the WASP were classified as civilians. They were paid through the civil service. No military benefits were offered. Even if killed in the line of duty, no military funerals were allowed. The WASPs were often assigned the least desirable missions, such as winter trips in open cockpit airplanes. Commanding officers were reluctant to give women any flying deliveries. It took an order from the head of the Air Transport Command to improve the situation.

Upon graduation, Lee was assigned to the third Ferrying Group at Romulus, Michigan. Their assignment was critical to the war effort; Deliver aircraft, pouring out of converted automobile factories, to points of embarkation, where they would then be shipped to the European and Pacific War fronts. In a letter to her sister, Lee described Romulus as “a 7-day workweek, with little time off.” When asked to describe Lee’s attitude, a fellow member of the WASP summed it up in Lee’s own words, “I’ll take and deliver anything.”

Described by her fellow pilots as “calm and fearless,” Lee had two forced landings. One landing took place in a Kansas wheat field. A farmer, pitchfork in hand, chased her around the plane while shouting to his neighbours that the Japanese had invaded Kansas. Alternately running and ducking under her wing, Lee finally stood her ground. She told the farmer who she was and demanded that he put the pitchfork down. He complied.

Lee was a favourite with just about all of her fellow pilots. She had a great sense of humour and a marvellous sense of mischief. Lee used her lipstick to inscribe Chinese characters on the tail of her plane and the planes of her fellow pilots. One lucky fellow who happened to be a bit on the chubby side, had his plane dubbed (unknown to him) “Fat Ass.”

Lee was in demand when a mission was RON (Remaining Overnight) In a big city or in a small country town, she could always find a Chinese restaurant, supervise the menu, and often cook the food herself. She was a great cook. Fellow WASP pilot Sylvia Dahmes Clayton observed that “Hazel provided me with an opportunity to learn about a different culture at a time when I did not know anything else. She expanded my world and my outlook on life.”

Lee and the others were the first women to pilot fighter aircraft for the United States military.

Text and image found at “Greatest Generation

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The supersonic airliner, Concorde, has made a "faultless" maiden flight. The Anglo-French plane took off from Toulouse and was in the air for just 27 minutes before the pilot made the decision to land. The first pilot, Andre Turcat, said on his return to the airport: "Finally the big bird flies, and I can say now that it flies pretty well."


The test flight reached 10,000ft (3,000m), but Concorde’s speed never rose above 300mph (480kph). The plane will eventually fly at a speed of 1,300mph (2,080kph). Mr Turcat, his co-pilot and two engineers taxied to the end of the runway at about 1530GMT. Strong winds meant the test flight was in doubt for much of the day.

Spontaneous applause
Two previous test flights had to be abandoned because of poor weather conditions. Concorde sped down the runway and there was a spontaneous burst of applause from watching reporters and cameramen as the wheels lifted off the ground. The noise from the four Olympus 593 engines, built jointly by the Bristol division of Rolls Royce and the French Snecma organisation, drowned out any noise from the crowd.

Less than half-an-hour later, the aircraft was brought back down to earth using a braking parachute and reverse thrust. The crew emerged at the top of the steps, led by Mr Turcat, who gave the thumbs up signal with each hand.

The first British test pilot, Brian Trubshaw, who watched today’s flight from the news stand, said, "I was terribly impressed by the way the whole flight was conducted. It was most professional and I would like to congratulate Andre on the way he handled this performance."

The British government has so far invested £155m in the project. It is hoped Concorde will begin flying commercially in 1973, when it will cut the flying time between London and New York from seven hours 40 minutes to three hours 25 minutes.

In Context
On 9 April 1969, Brian Trubshaw made his first flight in the British-built prototype. The 22 minute flight left from a test runway at Filton near Bristol and landed at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

Concorde completed its first supersonic flight on 1 October 1969.

There were serious doubts at government level about the commercial viability of the Concorde project. Cabinet papers released under the 30 year rule warned the project would be a disaster, costing the UK £900m.

The first commercial flights took place on 21 January 1976 when British Airways flew from London Heathrow to Bahrain and Air France from Paris to Rio.

Concorde was launched at the height of the fuel crisis and a combination of its heavy fuel consumption and small tanks, which meant it could not enter the lucrative trans-Pacific market, made it uneconomic.

Concorde’s image was further dented with the crash near Paris on 25 July 2000 in which 113 people died.

Text from BBC home’s “On This Day

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The first Salon de locomotion aerienne, 1909, Grand Palais, Paris.

The Paris Air Show (Salon International de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace, Paris-Le Bourget) is the world’s oldest and largest air show. Established in 1909, it is currently held every odd year at Le Bourget Airport in north Paris, France. There have been 49 shows in total, including the most recent in 2011.

The Paris Air Show is organised by the French aerospace industry’s primary representative body, the Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales (Gifas). It is a primarily commercial event, its main purpose being to demonstrate military and civilian aircraft to potential customers. It is widely considered the most prestigious aircraft exposition in the world; traditionally, major aircraft sales contracts are announced by manufacturers during the show. All major international manufacturers, as well as representatives of the military forces of several countries, attend the Paris Air Show.

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The first Salon de locomotion aerienne, 1909, Grand Palais, Paris.

Images found at “Daily Steampunk” – Text from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Solent Flying Boat Aranui at Akaiami Island. Akaiami is one of 22 islands in the Aitutaki atoll of the Cook Islands.

Tasman Empire Airways Limited’s replacements for the S.25 were the Short S.45 Solent IV of which TEAL acquired four. They were delivered during 1949 with one setting a new trans-Tasman crossing record of 5 hours 37 minutes. The Solents continued flying until 1954 with the introduction of the Douglas DC-6 landplanes. However, Solent Aranui continued on the Coral Route until 1960.

Image and image text found on “Adventures of th Blackgang”,
the rest of the text at
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Unloading Mail from Australia at Croydon on December 24, 1934

A photo from the 5 January 1935 edition of The Sphere magazine showing the first mails arriving from Brisbane on the new Australia to England weekly air postal service.

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116870_aj1Amy Johnson CBE, (1 July 1903 – 5 January 1941) was a pioneering English aviator. Flying solo or with her husband, Jim Mollison, Johnson set numerous long-distance records during the 1930s. Johnson flew in the Second World War as a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary where she died during a ferry flight.

Early life
Johnson was born in Kingston upon Hull and was educated at Boulevard Municipal Secondary School (later Kingston High School). and the University of Sheffield, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. She then worked in London as secretary to the solicitor, William Charles Crocker. She was introduced to flying as a hobby, gaining a pilot’s "A" Licence, No. 1979 on 6 July 1929 at the London Aeroplane Club under the tutelage of Captain Valentine Baker. In that same year, she became the first British woman to obtain a ground engineer’s "C" licence.

Aviation career
Her father, always one of her strongest supporters, offered to help her buy an aircraft.With funds from her father and Lord Wakefield she purchased G-AAAH, a second-hand
de Havilland Gipsy Moth she named "Jason", not after the voyager of Greek legend, but after her father’s trade mark.[N 1]

Johnson achieved worldwide recognition when, in 1930, she became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia. Flying her "Jason" Gipsy Moth, she left Croydon, south of London, on 5 May of that year and landed in Darwin, Australia on 24 May after f116870_aj2lying 11,000 miles (18,000 km). Her aircraft for this flight can still be seen in the Science Museum in London. She received the Harmon Trophy as well as a CBE in recognition of this achievement, and was also honoured with the No. 1 civil pilot’s licence under Australia’s 1921 Air Navigation Regulations.

In July 1931, Johnson and her co-pilot Jack Humphreys, became the first pilots to fly from London to Moscow in one day, completing the 1,760 miles (2,830 km) journey in approximately 21 hours. From there, they continued across Siberia and on to Tokyo, setting a record time for flying from England to Japan. The flight was completed in a de Havilland Puss Moth.

In 1932, Johnson married famous Scottish pilot Jim Mollison, who had, during a flight together, proposed to her only eight hours after they had met.

In July 1932, Johnson set a solo record for the flight from London to Cape Town, South Africa in a Puss Moth, breaking her new husband’s record. Her next flights were as a duo, flying with Mollison, she flew G-ACCV "Seafarer," a de Havilland Dragon Rapide nonstop from Pendine Sands, South Wales, to the United States in 1933. However, their aircraft ran out of fuel and crash-landed in Bridgeport, Connecticut; both were injured. After recuperating, the pair were feted by New York society and received a ticker tape parade down Wall Street.

116870_aj3The Mollisons also flew in record time from Britain to India in 1934 in a de Havilland DH.88 Comet as part of the Britain to Australia MacRobertson Air Race. They were forced to retire from the race at Allahabad because of engine trouble.

In May 1936, Johnson made her last record-breaking flight, regaining her Britain to South Africa record in G-ADZO, a Percival Gull Six.

In 1938 Johnson divorced Mollison. Soon afterwards she reverted to her maiden name.

Second World War
In 1940, during the Second World War, Johnson joined the newly formed ATA, whose job was to transport Royal Air Force aircraft around the country – and rose to First Officer. (Her ex-husband Jim Mollison also flew for the ATA throughout the war.)

On 5 January 1941, while flying an
Airspeed Oxford for the Air Transport Auxiliary from Blackpool to RAF Kidlington near Oxford, Johnson went off course in adverse weather conditions. Reportedly out of fuel, she drowned after bailing out into the Thames Estuary. Although she was seen alive in the water, a rescue attempt failed and her body was never recovered. The incident also led to the death of her would-be rescuer, Lt Cmdr Walter Fletcher of HMS Haslemere.

A memorial service was held in the church of St. Martin’s in the Fields on 14 January 1941.

116870_aj4Disputed circumstances
There is still some mystery about the accident, as the exact reason for the flight is still a government secret and there is some evidence that besides Johnson and Fletcher a third person (possibly someone she was supposed to ferry somewhere) was also seen in the water and also drowned. Who the third party was is still unknown. Johnson was the first member of the Air Transport Auxiliary to die in service. Her death in an Oxford aircraft was ironic, as she had been one of the original subscribers to the share offer for Airspeed.

However, in 1999 it was reported that Tom Mitchell, from Crowborough, Sussex, claimed to have shot the heroine down when she twice failed to give the correct identification code during the flight. He said: "The reason Amy was shot down was because she gave the wrong colour of the day [a signal to identify aircraft known by all British forces] over radio." Mr. Mitchell explained how the aircraft was sighted and contacted by radio. A request was made for the signal. She gave the wrong one twice. "Sixteen rounds of shells were fired and the plane dived into the Thames Estuary. We all thought it was an enemy plane until the next day when we read the papers and discovered it was Amy. The officers told us never to tell anyone what happened."

Text from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Here are some news that will surely bring a smile to any fan of aviation and travelling in style. The iconic airline Pan American is going to take to the skies again soon in the upcoming ABC tv-series “Pan Am“. A pilot (no pun intended) has been ordered and the plot is said to centre around the lives of the pilots and stewardesses of the legendary airline in the 1960s.

Riding on the success of the award winning period drama “Mad Men”, the show will draw on the experiences of executive producer Nancy Hult Ganis, who was herself a stewardess in her youth. The first episode is slated to premiere later this year and we will be seeing Christina Ricci in the lead role who will apparently play a undercover agent. Good or bad decision? Time will tell. Text and image from ”UltraSwank

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