When Flying Was Glamorous

 

air travel 1945

Circa 1945: Stewards serving passengers on board an airplane. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images) 

 

smoking permitted

Circa 1936: Air hostess Daphne Kearley of Golders Green tending to the crew of the new luxury air service from Croydon, England to Paris, operated by Air Dispatch. (Ward/Getty Images)

lad flying

Circa 1937: A young boy, with his arm in plaster, sits in a chair on an airplane looking out of the window. (London Express/Getty Images)

 

imperialairsleep

31st March 1937: A sleeping berth on an Imperial Airways aircraft. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

The cabin wasn’t pressurized so the aircraft did not fly much higher than 12,000 feet. The engines made such a racket that ear plugs were required for sleep.

 

103twc_vintageairtravel_980x551

 

Circa 1945: British and Overseas Airways air stewardess Peggy Keyte brings a tray of coffees to the passengers in her aircraft, during a World War II flight. (Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images) 

 

071twc_vintageairtravel_980x551

Circa 1946: Air hostess Patricia Palley attends to passengers in the decorated cabin of a Pan-American air liner over the Atlantic. (William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

 

145twc_vintageairtravel_980x551

Circa 1950: Two air hostesses walking away from a BOAC Comet. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

This is not as glamorous as it looks. This DH 106 Comet (pictured above) was the first civilian jetliner ever produced. Designed and manufactured by de Havilland Aircraft Company Limited, owned by Geoffrey de Havilland, one of the most brilliant aircraft designers of the era. (Half brother of Oliva de Havilland).

The de Havilland Comet began regular passenger service in 1952. Tragically, in the first year after it was introduced, three of these aircraft broke up in mid-flight, killing all on board. Metal fatigue was later identified as the cause and the plane was completely redesigned.

BEA_de_Havilland_DH-106_Comet_4B_Berlin

British European Airways (BEA) Comet 4B arriving at Berlin Tempelhof Airport in 1969 (Wikimedia photo by Ralf Manteufel and enhanced by Altair78)

Nimrod_R1_Waddington_airshow_2009

Nimrod R1 from 51 Sqn RAF Waddington doing a fly past at the RAF Waddington Air show July 4th 2009

A maritime patrol aircraft variant of the DH Comet, the Nimrod as shown above, was later produced and continued in service with the Royal Air Force until 2011.

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/