View Full Version : Eighty Years Ago Today (Oct 20)

vintage ATCO
20th Oct 2014, 07:16
Eighty years ago today . . . .

On this date and at this time exactly 80 years ago, the country roads surrounding the new and as yet uncommissioned RAF Aerodrome at Mildenhall in Suffolk were thronged with traffic and thousands of visitors, assembling to witness the start of 'The World's Greatest Air Race'. ....Mildenhall to Melbourne....The MacRobertson International Air Races.

All preparations had been made and crews dozed in chairs within the tented facilities arranged by the Royal Aero Club else slept fitfully in accommodation arranged locally or as far away as Cambridge or Bury St Edmunds. Ground crews started engines for test running before dawn which sent reverberations throughout the rural surrounds and encouraged the gathering spectators.

At precisely 0630, the starter, Sir Alfred Bower, would drop his flag and the first crew start their take off run: Jim and Amy Mollison in the DH.88 Comet 'Black Magic'. Next stop Baghdad.....

Eighty years later the concept, organisation and operation must still be regarded as truly remarkable.

Stuart McKay

20th Oct 2014, 11:57

I wonder how many of the competing aircraft survive?

Comet G-ACSS "Grosvenor House" at Shuttleworth, plus some DNA lives on in the rebuild of G-ACSP.

Any others?

20th Oct 2014, 17:34
The second finisher, a KLM DC-2, later crashed in revenue service.

MacRobertson Air Race - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacRobertson_Air_Race)

Fargo Boyle
20th Oct 2014, 20:01
The third placed Boeing 247 is suspended above the lobby of the Air and Space museum in Washington DC..

20th Oct 2014, 20:26
And here is a picture of it (with an Eastern DC-3 in period colours):

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/11986704324/in/photolist-jgdZzW-8783p4-nin3HC-ni3vG2-nijTwX-83Tvj4-a8JDXk-9uV1bw-gRAvPF-dWc5im-9uRZRB-ni3vWk-9xoSnT-9uRZvP-a8MvyA-9we9WK-9uRZoi-9uRZev-9uUZ9Y-9uRZDz-dW6t7p-a8JwbM-dWhRE6-dWhQSD-9wea5c-a7W7Xb-a8xVxx-a8Jwv6-a8MoCw-846iso-dW6t2g-dWoxzd-9uRYXF-9uRZ6p-9uUZfC-nijTbX

21st Oct 2014, 01:46
All that was left of Black Magic was a seat.

All of the well-known jockeys made it through the race, but I sometimes muse at the sticky ends that some of the 'Golden-Age' pilots met. Just as examples;- Scotty blew his brains out after the war. His copilot TCB got sliced and diced by an airscrew in '36, and Amy Johnson similarly by the screw of a ship during the war. Jimmy Mollison basically drank himself to death after the war. It'd be quite interesting to find out where they are all buried.

21st Oct 2014, 07:14
All that was left of Black Magic was a seat.

And presumably the data plate! :ok:

I understand that when John Pierce acquired the remains from Portugal in the late 1970s there were some parts of the airframe but much was subsequently lost in a fire a Chirk.

From the list on the Wikipedia page linked to by seacue, the Moncoupe (NC501W) might be a survivor, it's listed as a 145, while the exisitng aircraft being rebuilt is a 110. Same aeroplane?

22nd Oct 2014, 09:07
a fine tale - convenient fire