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Stunmon

Air Travel in the 1960s

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I'm presuming that few people flew in the 1950s ,so what was it like to fly, economy, in the 1960s compared to today?

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There used to be a marvellous innovation called the 'air ferry' operated by British United Air Ferries out of Southampton airport.

You loaded your car onto the aeroplane, generally, a twin-engine Bristol B170 Freighter Mk 32, by way of a front loading ramp, and off you went.

G-AMWE, construction number 13132, at Southampton, in 1965 below.

Leased by Silver City Airways from The Bristol Aeroplane Company Limited on 11/06/1953

Purchased by Silver City Airways on 30/08/1957

Transferred to British United Air Ferries Limited on 01/01/1963

Withdrawn from use at Lydd Airport, Ashford, Kent, in December 1965 and broken up in April 1967

Bristol B170 Freighter Mk 32-(G-AMWE, cn.13132)-(British United Air Ferries)-Southampton-1965.jpg

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As package holidays were being introduced in the late 50's and early 60's to a wider range of customers, aircraft types were still mainly propeller- engine types like the Douglas DC3 (Dakotas), DC4, or DC 6/7. The jet aircraft didn't appear on Charter flights until the second half of the 60's. Long haul flights were flown by the major airlines such as BOAC, Sabena, Air France and KLM plus the Americans (TWA, Pan American and Continental) and after BOAC introduced the DH Comet in 1952 jets gradually replaced Prop aircraft which saw more planes made available for holiday flights. These usually became one-class but were comfortable seating-wise.

The plane in SteveHB's video is a DC4 conversion  by Aviation Traders, the Bristol 170 was twin-engined and an earlier type (the RAF had the Beverley which did a similar job).

Although journeys were obviously much slower in the 50's and early 60's I would say that 'economy' then was better than that of the 80's/90's when charter companies packed more seats into their aircraft. Today I would not be at all happy to fly 'economy' on a flight of over 2 hours duration, my last long-haul in that class was from Hong Kong to Heathrow in 2003 when I vowed to upgrade on future trips. This I have done and found the difference well worth the expense (courtesy of Trailfinders' Combination fares).

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My first flights were  in 1969 when I flew around Europe on business, I flew on first generation DC9, 737, BAC111, Trident and Fellowship types and the experience was so much better than it is today. The seating was more generous and the food served was very edible, indeed enjoyable. One significant difference was just how little hassle there seemed to be but, of course, airports were far less busy and security was less obvious. We did have Exchange Control to go through...making sure we weren't taking too much £ sterling out of the UK.

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I first flew in 1955, in a Viking I think,( no tricycle undercarriage.)  The airline was "Eagle Airways", flying from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam into Blackbush Airport in the south of England.

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In October 1955 as an 7 year old I accompanied Mum & my little brother to join my Dad in East Africa.

We flew back from Nairobi in 1958 the pilot a Captain Cooke recorded the journey (see below) it is a bit quicker now.IMG_0658.thumb.JPG.ae7a3225ad72ca430749a8f4e070aaa9.JPG

 

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An interesting 'Collector's item' there Jeff. There is a good background to East African Airways on-line at https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=KBmGpaD36cMC&pg=PA93&lpg=PA93&dq=Aircraft+VP-KOJ&source=bl&ots=nDjOMw2Z3x&sig=p60SunLSrwoDUutzYPkCVwSxmmY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjf8tXa9szSAhWFXBQKHZfMDOUQ6AEIRDAJ#v=onepage&q=Aircraft VP-KOJ&f=false. You can scroll up (or down) to pick up the introduction and more details.

You might already know that there is a scale model of that particular Canadair (or Argonaut), if not just 'Google' the registration VP-KOJ. It was the aircraft type Princess Elizabeth flew back in from Africa when her father George VI died in February 1952.  

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On 3/10/2017 at 22:14, Voldy said:

An interesting 'Collector's item' there Jeff. There is a good background to East African Airways on-line at https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=KBmGpaD36cMC&pg=PA93&lpg=PA93&dq=Aircraft+VP-KOJ&source=bl&ots=nDjOMw2Z3x&sig=p60SunLSrwoDUutzYPkCVwSxmmY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjf8tXa9szSAhWFXBQKHZfMDOUQ6AEIRDAJ#v=onepage&q=Aircraft VP-KOJ&f=false. You can scroll up (or down) to pick up the introduction and more details.

You might already know that there is a scale model of that particular Canadair (or Argonaut), if not just 'Google' the registration VP-KOJ. It was the aircraft type Princess Elizabeth flew back in from Africa when her father George VI died in February 1952.  

Thank you for that very interesting, we lived on a diamond mine which had it's own fleet of aircraft which flew regularly to Nairobi, there was a Dakota and two DeHavilland Doves. I was allowed on a couple of flights to sit next to the pilot which was a big thing for a young lad like me.

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