From Brabazon to Britannia: Bristol’s Post-War Civil Aviation Developments

Bristol BrabazonOn 23 December 1942 the British government established a special committee chaired by Lord Brabazon of Tara to investigate the country’s post-war civil aviation needs. The Brabazon Committee’s final report outlined the need for a number of key aircraft to be developed, which included a long-haul transatlantic airliner, a smaller shorter-haul airliner that could service the Empire routes and a high-speed jet-engine airliner capable of speeds in excess of 500mph.

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The de Havilland Comet Air Disasters Revealed

de Havilland Comet Prototype at Hatfield AerodromeOn 27 July 1949 de Havilland’s chief test pilot, John Cunningham, took the Comet prototype out on its maiden flight. The aircraft took-off from Hatfield Aerodrome and flew for 31 minutes with Harold Waters as co-pilot, John Wilson and Frank Reynolds as flight engineers and Tony Fairbrother as the test observer. The success of this first flight gave the company the confidence to show the aircraft off at the Farnborough Air Show the same year, before the prototype began its flight trials. A second prototype was soon completed and was delivered to BOAC, where it went through 500 hours of route proving work and aircrew training.
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Flying Radlett to Paris for £25

In 1919 the government lifted restrictions on civil flying in Britain and aircraft manufacturer Frederick Handley Page decided to establish his own fledgling airline, Handley Page Transport Limited, which was equipped with converted wartime surplus bombers.

On 25 August 1919 Aircraft Travel & Transport Limited (AT&T) started the world’s first sustained international commercial air service, which flew between London and Paris. Eight days later, on 2 September 1919, Handley Page Transport inaugurated their Paris service, flying from Radlett Aerodrome.

The flight would set you back £25 for a single ticket, or £40 for a return, not a great deal compared to today’s low cost airlines, but a small fortune almost a century ago. Continue reading “Flying Radlett to Paris for £25”