Thursday, January 10, 2008

The era of the flying boats

BLDGBLOG has a posting all about a wonderfully eccentric plan for floating runways for flying boats in the middle of the Atlantic that was published in Modern Mechanix in 1936. You will see I have borrowed the illustration that blog reproduces.

It reminds me of an item I heard on Radio 4 before Christmas about the Foynes Flying Boat Museum in County Limerick, Ireland. As the museum website says:

Foynes, Ireland, became the center of the aviation world from 1939 to 1945. On July 9th 1939, Pan Am's luxury Flying Boat, the "Yankee Clipper" landed at Foynes. This was the first commercial passenger flight on a direct route from the USA to Europe. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, this quiet little town on the Shannon became the focal point for air traffic on the North Atlantic.

During this period, many famous politicians, international businessmen, film stars, active-service-men and wartime refugees passed through Foynes. In fact, the site was initially surveyed in 1933 by Colonel Charles Lindbergh and his wife Ann, who landed in Galway Bay flying his Lockheed Sirius. In December 1935, the Irish Times announced that Foynes would be the site for the European Terminal for transatlantic air services. Colonel Lindbergh returned again representing Pan Am in 1936 to inspect the facilities and also in 1937 to view the departure of "Clipper III".

Finally, a word about Loch Lomond Seaplanes, who operate from the centre of Glasgow. One day I would like to arrive on Skye or even the Outer Hebrides that way.

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