Sunderland flying boats, unique and special.

21 Aug

[This air-related piece came in early on Saturday]


Hope the weather holds up for the flying weekend.

I remember the Rothmans Team doing a stunt show over Plymouth Hoe in the late 70’s and at Plymouth Airfield I met their then leader Brian Lacombe (not sure about the spelling) we had a short conversation about the Pitts Special the aircraft he was flying but I did not really know who he was so I talked to him like I would any guy in the street.

It was some 6 years later that a salesman working for Rediffusion informed me I had been talking with a legend. I guess he was happy to chat with me as I did not come across as a member of the public with a fan like mentality and start seeking autographs etc.

I guess the Flying Boats from Poole harbour [Salterns Pier] were the Sunderlands built by Shorts Brothers? These aircraft were the main stay of communication links in the British Empire and carried their passengers in standards of comfort that are still being talked about today in informed circles.

A flight in the 1930’s in one of these machines from Cairo to Cape Town for instance would be an experience one would  never forget. These amazing machines spread out around the empire and it was just as common to see one leaving Australia for the various South Pacific Locations in the empire, as it was to see one leaving the South Coast UK for Africa.

It was a time in our history when a lucky few would enjoy a travel experience that would never be repeated again. It could be said that the second phase of this type of exclusive travel was Concord? However if that were true it could never be the same. The flying boats had Beds, Bar and Observation Deck so that those who ruled and regulated the empire could observe what they controlled from their very exclusive aerial platform.

I guess every decade has something unique and special, it just so happens that in the 1930’s it was the Sunderlands.



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