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Transporting cars by plane in yesteryear.

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Transporting cars by plane in yesteryear.

Old 25th Aug 2009, 11:27
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Transporting cars by plane in yesteryear.

I was just looking through these evocative photos

BBC NEWS | In Pictures | In pictures: 90 years of air travel

and was thinking of the transporting of cars by purpose built aircraft, such as the Carvairs of BUA at Southend and the earlier services with ? out of Lydd to the near continent. Obviously this option was for those rather well to do, as I imagine it wasn't a cheap option. Would any of the ppruners have worked in or around these businesses at the time ? It would be interesting to hear of an 'on the ground' recollection (pilots also welcome ) of these times. I recall watching the Carvairs load up at SEN in the early/mid 70's, but don't recall seeing too many RR's etc.

It also got me wondering how did the motorists deal with insurance when they were motoring through various countries, as back then there was no common EU territory and laws and any 'problems' could turn out to be very costly indeed.


Regards



SHJ
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Old 25th Aug 2009, 12:12
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Car Ferry flights

I do remember taking my car, an early Mini, to the Continent via Lydd on a Bristol Superfreighter, I guess it would have been in the very early 60's. A very noisy and low level flight I seem to remember.

I seem to think that the price at that time was not so different from that of the fare by boat. (maybe they were doing deals on the air fares then, but I doubt it...)

As to insurance, we had the infamous Green Card which was essential as well as a tryptique for the car.

Mike
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Old 25th Aug 2009, 12:54
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Car Ferry

As a Silver City F/O at Lydd in 1955 we flew 6 trips to Le touquet Calais or Ostend.Flew a Blue Flag when we needed fuel.
When the cars we loaded my job was to wind the nose doors closed and fasten 5 latches. Then climb the ladder to the Flight Deck.
The Captain had started the engines and I might get to fly a sector.

On arrival it was back down the ladder to open the doors. We operated only in daylight with an early shift to fly 6 trips and a late one till dusk.
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Old 25th Aug 2009, 13:57
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Nostalgic indeed.
The Bristol 170 - last one I saw was outside the museum at RAAF Pt. Cooke in Victoria. Well worth a visit if you ever go to the Avalon show.

My father was one of the two Carvair Test Pilots at BUA when FAL was the boss. Never got to fly in one, but used to watch them when left in the Ops rooms when he was out flying.
I recall seeing an E-Type Jag on the scissor lift and exclaiming out loud that it was not going to get under the underside of the ATL.98 it was being loaded on to - crunch (they had long bonnets in those days)
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Old 25th Aug 2009, 14:13
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Obviously this option was for those rather well to do, as I imagine it wasn't a cheap option.

I suppose in those days it was only the "rather well to do" who would have a car, let alone take it to the continent!

They heyday of Silver City and Channel Air Bridge was before the advent of roll-on/roll-off car ferries on th Channel and taking a car by sea was not that easy. In fact, Silver City were so successful they often lowered their fares year on year in the 1950's.
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Old 25th Aug 2009, 15:44
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I remember bringing a Rolls Royce back from Dubai in the hold on the 747 in the early 1980's - rumour had it that it was the BA Station Managers Car!!!!
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Old 25th Aug 2009, 17:30
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If i had a better filing system I would be able to dig out the fares for a trip I took with my parents in 1955 with Silver City in a Bristol 170. It certainly wasn't all for the well to do as my father was not very well paid but he did like a bit of an adventure. So much so that we'd run out of money on the last night in France so we slept at Calais airport in our Standard Vanguard to wait for our flight home.
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Old 25th Aug 2009, 17:32
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As a Silver City F/O at Lydd in 1955 we flew 6 trips to Le touquet Calais or Ostend.Flew a Blue Flag when we needed fuel.
When the cars we loaded my job was to wind the nose doors closed and fasten 5 latches. Then climb the ladder to the Flight Deck.
The Captain had started the engines and I might get to fly a sector.

On arrival it was back down the ladder to open the doors. We operated only in daylight with an early shift to fly 6 trips and a late one till dusk.
What was the average load/weight per trip and at what height and speed were the flights flown at ? On another train of thought, what were the gaps between the average car and the sides of the hull as i would imagine that there wasn't too much leeway if the car wasn't straight as can be. Were there many scrapes and suchlike to customers cars ? Were customers vehicles drained of their petrol beforehand or reduced to the bare minimum because of risk of fire onboard ?


SHJ
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Old 25th Aug 2009, 17:37
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I remember seeing Freddie Laker's Rolls-Royce on the scissor-lift at Southend, it too was being loaded onto a Carvair, I don't know if it was just for a publicity photo or if he was taking it somewhere because I had to leave before they closed the doors, but I expect if it WAS for the latter, that he'd have got a good deal on the fare!!

Also at Southend, you could often see the short nosed Mk31 Bristol Freighter/Wayfarers operated by Channel Airways and Sabena.
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Old 25th Aug 2009, 17:42
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Goldfinger's gold-plated R-R features in the film being loaded at EGMC.

2 s
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Old 25th Aug 2009, 18:13
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fares for a trip I took with my parents in 1955
In 1953 they were as shown, from ad on back of the Ian Allan spotter book of that year........

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Old 25th Aug 2009, 20:00
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First time I ever flew in anything was on a family holiday in 1958 (IIRC). Car (a Ford Consul or Zephyr) and family in a Bristol Freighter (Silver City) from Lydd to Le Touquet. I think it took 3 cars in all.

And we were by no means well-to-do! Dad was a shopkeeper and we lived over the shop ..... upper working class fits well! Dad had just got too p!ssed off with the UK weather!

The only other detail I remember exactly was that the aircraft was "Quatorze Juillet", which was the same airframe as my Airfix model....

....... Dad was a keen photographer, so I may be able to dig out some pictures - I'm sure he would have taken some.
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Old 25th Aug 2009, 22:43
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Old 26th Aug 2009, 05:04
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one11:
You beat me to it. I have my copy of Civil Aircraft Markings 1953 ready to sent the advert you posted! However, I can add that the price had gone down by then. In 1952 it was 1 pound for a bike and 12 for a car. It hit an all time low of 4/6 for a bike in 1954.
My only experience of flying the car was Lydd-Le Touquet December 1967 in 170/32 G-ANWM, and return in January 1968 in G-APAU.

Laurence
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Old 26th Aug 2009, 07:47
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Slight digression, but Freddie Laker took his R-R on BUA's inaugural
VC.10 service to East Africa.
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Old 26th Aug 2009, 08:28
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Car Ferry

The Mk32 carried 3cars,the Mk 21 only 2 turnround time 15mins.
A weight and balance table for most types of car meant a quick check and the dimensions of cars was know.
However a large American Limo was loaded but the driver was unable to open the door so flew across to France and drove the car off.
Altitude outbound was 1000ft and inbound 1500ft at around 100kts I think.
Lydd had Decca 424 Radar for SRA and Le Touquet had VHF/DF.
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Old 26th Aug 2009, 08:59
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I took my motorbike on the B170 Lydd-Le Touquet a couple of times in the mid 1950's.
Quick and easy, turn up about 30 minutes prior the Dep time, clear the airfield at the other end in less than 15 minutes.

On the first trip I was sitting opposite an elderly gentleman wearing a dark blue blazer with RAF wings sewn just above the chest pocket.
I was a Meteor pilot on 29 squadron at the time, and as we arrived overhead Le Touquet I was looking down on the airfield merely out of professional interest.
Maybe something in the way I was looking concerned him because he leaned across, tapped me on the shoulder and said "don't worry young man, we will be down in a moment".
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Old 26th Aug 2009, 09:21
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Just to follow up the other posts on the cost of the service, I have found the 1955 timetable and the fares had gone up. A mid size car was now 12 10s single and a passenger 2 5s to Calais but 2 10s to Le Touquet.
A bike was 2s 6d !! There were services every 30 minutes to Le Touquet and "frequent" to Calais. Flying time to both was advertised as 20 minutes. The USP was that at worst you would be behind a maximum of 2 cars on Customs clearance as opposed to the mob at the Ferry terminal. On reflection I think that was the reason my father chose the air ferry as on a previous trip in 1950 our car was actually craned on and off the boat. Pretty time consuming compared with the Bristol Frightener.
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Old 26th Aug 2009, 14:50
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I was one of the last pilots to fly the B170 in Australia flying both the Mk21 and 31 with Air Express at Essendon in 1977. The 31 had toe brakes and bigger engines, 1980 BHP, the 21 had that funny hand brake system so favoured by the home country. We carried 4 tons at 130 knots. Had an oil system of 20 gallons per side and used 3 gallons an hour. 56 inches and 2800 rpm I think by memory were the figures on t/off. Had auto-coarse, electrical tail-wheel lock, rubber blocks for suspension, she would bounce like a whore, very odd. Auto mixture, ECB etc. I could go on but have to go to work in a nice simple Boeing. ( God bless the Yanks).
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Old 26th Aug 2009, 18:18
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What memories are brought back, 1961 we went by ferry from Southampton to St Malo( I think) the car was loaded by crane. We came back from Le Touquet to Lydd on the ubiquitous 170. We had two further holidays in France and Switzerland in my teens when we flew and returned one year to/from Geneva in a Carvair and another to/from Basle also in a Carvair. I seem to remember that we went from Southend. This thread has prompted me to trawl through parents photos and cine to see what they recorded of the trips. An autumn challenge to find and post on web...
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