AUGUST 1919 - BUT NOT THE BRITISH AIRWAYS CENTENARY

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Much has been made of the British Airways centenary this year. There was a fair amount in the contemporary press in August 1919 about that first commercial flight. 

I thought it might be fun to root around to see what was in the press about other aviation activities that month.  If I can work the technology in this new set-up, here are half-a-dozen such stories.

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I like the story of the Napier engined Alliance aircraft flying non-stop from Acton (Acton International ?) direct to Quatro Vientos airfield near Madrid...would be neat to see a map or photo of Napier's airfield

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I note that, because the initial post deals with the month of August 1919, the other, less successful, Alliance aeroplane flight isn't mentioned in those press cuttings. It too flew from Acton Aerodrome - but only as far as Hounslow Heath Aerodrome, that short hop serving as a test flight before, eventually, it set off to Australia in the hope of winning the Australian Government prize of £A 10,000 for the first Australians to fly a British aeroplane from the UK to Australia. When on 13 November 1919 the Alliance P.2 Seabird G-EAOX set off from Hounslow Heath, on that immense enterprise, it flew for no more than a few minutes and no further than Surbiton before crashing, killing the pilots, Roger Douglas and James Ross. You'll find more on that flight at http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=15210.0http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=6895.0 and http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=7073.0.

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Attached (says he, more in hope than expectation) is a map of Acton Aerodrome. Google those two words and you'll find a selection of aerial and terrestial photographs of the aerodrome before, presumably, the A40 encroached upon it, followed by, subsequently, housing and industry.

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Attached is a contemporary newspaper account of that 13 November 1919 crash.

As once before, I've split the single column report into three parts, the better to fit the screen.

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Not surprisingly, with post-war civil aviation in its infancy, using mainly war surplus aeroplanes and being subject to far from rigorous regulation, quite a few aeroplanes crashed or were otherwise rendered hors de combat in August 1919. Amongst those were the following:

K105 - Avro 536 - crashed at Sandhurst, Berkshire on 06.08.19 without taking up its allocated registration G-EAAP.

G-EAAN - Avro 504K - crashed at Weston-super-Mare on 28.08.19.

G-EACG - Avro 536 - crashed at Manston on 30.08.19.

G-EACL - Avro 504K - overturned and crashed in a hayfield near Northampton on 05.08.19.

G-EAFC - Avro 504K - damaged beyond repair by gales at Rhyl in August 1919.

G-EAFX - Avro 504K - badly damaged by gales at Rhyl in August 1919.

G-EAGO - Avro 504K - crashed at Southport on 21.08.19 whilst still carrying its ex-RFC mark D9343.

G-EAHO - Avro 504K - crashed at Aberystwyth on 28.08.19

I suspect that all or most of these were engaged in the then hazardous business of pleasure flights and thus operating from whichever field was most conveniently situated with reference to the operators' intended public market - a rather different aspect of commercial aviation when contrasted to the 'British Airways first flight'!

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This is not an area of which  I have any particular knowledge so I just hope the attached newspaper article is of interest. 

It deals mostly with the first regular commercial flights  from Manchester to Blackpool  run by Avro Air Sevices in 1919 but the last paragraph picks up on the comments of avion ancien at the end of the preceding post,

Incidentally, this was just one of several aviation-related articles on that page of the newspaper. The others included: "Capt. Alcock's Plans";  the opening of "the "Hartlepool-Hull Coastal Air Service" (flown by a Blackburn Kangaroo"; "The Tarrant Triplane Wrecked" (attempting its first flight at Farnborough); and a lot about the failed Atlantic crossing by Hawker and Grieve". 

Truly "HISTORIC AVIATION".