Monday, May 18, 2009

Recollections of DeHavilands by John Kay

On one occasion in France, I had been flying at Toussus-le-Noble, the club flying field just out-side Versailles, and gave a pilot a ride into Paris who had just landed from Algeria., where he had been helping to explore for oil in what was certainly a DH89 with two engines. He gave a hair-raising story of landing straight-in at Algiers with empty tanks, having come from the desert, where the oil was.

The DH 89, carrying only eight passengers, would not have been big enough for Gatwick-Le Bourget even in the 1930s.

John Kay

To complete the saga of the Kay family flying in biplanes as passengers:

1) In the 1930s an aunt (mother's sister) married a wealthy man and flew quite a lot.
One day she decided to go to Paris from London and was in a HP 45 of Imperial Airways.
These were large.comfortable planes where food was served. Unfortunately, on this occasion there was so much headwind that the aircraft did not reach Le Bourget (Paris), but was forced to make an emergency landing at Etretapes on the French Channel coast for lack of fuel. The top speed of the planes was about 90 mph.My aunt did not seem to be any the worse for wear. Apparently, the passengers were picked up later by another Imperial Airways plane.

2) Equally in the 1930s my father, who was still keen on flying despite his 1915 experience*, had to go to Cologne, Germany on the same day that he had tickets for the Royal Tournament at Olympia, London. Olympia was a large amphitheatre for public displays. My father flew to Cologne in the morning and back in the afternoon with Imperial Atrways. He was in time for the show at Olympia. He talked often of this flight as being quite unusual in those days. Best wishes, John Kay.

* John's father was shot down and hld as a POW of the German's until the war ended. Interestingly, he was badly injured in the crash and cared for by German medical teams so that in 1918, he was sent home almost as good as new.

80 H.P. Bleriot Two-Seater a Hit at Hendon After Returning from Cologne

The christening of this marvelous flying machine was all the rage when it arrived at Hendon (U.K.) in the Spring of 1913. Click here and read the wonderful article from The Aeroplane submitted by John Kay.