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Alcock and Brown

Old 25th May 2019, 20:15
  #41 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Repos View Post
I know this the DM, but is it fair coment about lack of recognition of the event?

Nice link Repos, thanks.

The point was that quite a few people approached them for involvement in a centenary participation and response was luke warm to zero. A bit surprising given their involvement in trans-Atlantic events to date.

Good that they came up with a piece though and they have provided some back numbers on request. I guess things cost more these days.

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Old 26th May 2019, 07:20
  #42 (permalink)  
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My father was a Clifden lad and relates the locals going to see the Vimy, in a bog (not far from Marconis' shack that received the first radio signal cross atlantic). So inquisitive were the natives that parts of the Vimy disappeared. A local militia guard was supplied, who apparently knicked the rest. So, if you want a Vickers Vimy in bits, try the attics in Clifden. Warning....an exceeding hospital village.
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Old 26th May 2019, 09:57
  #43 (permalink)  
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Full of doctors and nurses then???
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Old 26th May 2019, 11:57
  #44 (permalink)  
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Nothing about Clifden would surprise me, but each time I leave I don't seem to have a clear recollection of..anything.
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Old 26th May 2019, 22:05
  #45 (permalink)  
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There is also a commemorative plaque created by John Cassisy in Manchesters beautiful Town Hall. Unfortunately I believe it is still closed for restoration works.

For anyone interested there is more information to be found here....
John Cassidy - Sculptor - Albert Square

Here is the main text...

The other Cassidy panel in the sculpture hall was made to commemorate the historic first transatlantic flight, made by Manchester men Alcock and Brown. The tablet tells its own story in detail:

This tablet is erected by the Corporation of Manchester to record the great achievement of two Manchester men, Captain Sir John Alcock, K.B.E., D.S.C., and Lieutenant Sit Arthur Whitten Brown, K.B.E. who on the fifteenth day of June, 1919, were the first to fly without a stop across the Atlantic Ocean from America to the British Isles, the time taken in covering the distance being 15 hours 57 minutes, the distance being 1,950 English statute miles and the aeroplane used being entirely of British manufacture.

(Other sources differ slightly from this inscription in both time and distance.) Either side of the inscriptions are portraits of the two aviators. The tablet was unveiled by the Lord Mayor on 2 November 1921, and the next day The Times reported:

The tablet shows the figure of an American Indian mounted on horseback gazing across the ocean at the disappearing aeroplane, towards which on the other side a figure of Britannia stretches out a welcoming hand.

Two gold medals especially struck to Mr Cassidy's designs for the Corporation were presented, one to the father of the late Sir John Alcock, and the other to Sir A.W. Brown.

At least one other Alcock and Brown artifact by Cassidy is known to exist: a round medallion - perhaps a design for the gold medals - in a private collection in the USA.

The story of Alcock and Brown's famous flight in a Vickers Vimy aircraft from Newfoundland to Ireland, wiling a £10,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail has been often told (Manchester Guardian report), and is commemorated in both Britain and Ireland. Both were knighted by King George V soon after their flight.

Brown, the navigator, lived on until 1948; born in Glasgow in 1886, he was brought up in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester and worked as an engineer for the Westinghouse company. The house at 6 Oswald Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy is adorned with a 'blue plaque' in his memory

Alcock, the pilot, was born born in 1892 in Seymour Grove, Old Trafford, and later lived at 6 Kingswood Road, Fallowfield where his life is marked by a 'blue plaque.' According to Wikipedia he 'was present at the Science Museum in London on 15 December 1919 when the recovered Vimy was presented to the nation. Three days later he was flying a new Vickers amphibious plane, the Type 54 Viking, to the first postwar aeronautical exhibition in Paris when he crashed in fog at Cote d'Everard, near Rouen, Normandy stalling such that a wing hit a tree. He died before medical assistance arrived.' He is buried, like John Cassidy, in Southern Cemetery, Manchester.

Tailplane: the Manchester Airport memorial

There is another Alcock and Brown memorial in Manchester, an aluminium figure of a flying man, created by Eliazbeth Frink and installed in 1964 in the then-new Terminal at Manchester Airport. It has been controversial ever since the commission was awarded to Frink: her model of the planned work was described by Councillor Hopkins of the Airport Committee as a 'bewitched, bothered and bewildered budgerigar.' Eventually, after much dispute, it was completed and installed at a cost of £3250. Members of Alcock's family were particularly unimpressed.

The controversy was revived in 2008: According to an article in Manchester Evening News of 9 September:

'The sculpture ... drew controversy when installed in the airport's Terminal 1 in 1964, with one relative describing the winged figure as "sordid, vulgar and obscene." The statue was later moved from the terminal's arrivals hall [with the approval of the artist] to a garden next to the airport police station, and then brought into a departure lounge area. It was moved to its latest home in a connecting corridor between Terminal 1 and the airport's train station five years ago.'

Neville Alcock, the pilot's nephew, is understandably unhappy about the location. He told the reporter: 'I know we can't have these memorials up forever but if they are going to be displayed they should be kept in good condition. I went to Manchester Airport recently and managed to locate the statue after some effort. It used to have pride of place in the airport and now it is tucked away in a corner. No-one would spot it unless they made a special effort. The stonework is really dirty and no effort has been made to keep it looking clean.'

An Airport spokeswoman defended the location said it was regularly spotted by those travelling from the train station to the terminal buildings. She said: 'We consulted on where it should go and the decision was to put it in the station building. Everyone who takes the train to and from the airport can see it.'

(The Airport authorities have also removed from the terminal in 2008 the four Venetian glass chandeliers by Bruno Zaneti of Murano, which were to many people of 'a certain age' were real memories of their first visit the airport as a child.)

Mr Alcock also pointed out that exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry - including the stuffed remains of the flying duo's mascot cat Jimmy - were no longer on display and that a memorial plaque in Manchester Town Hall had been placed in a barely-visible corner. An allegation that is hard to deny.
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Old 27th May 2019, 08:21
  #46 (permalink)  
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Last time I visited Cosford, Twinkletoes was still on display:

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Old 27th May 2019, 10:14
  #47 (permalink)  

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Looks like they’re opening the local airfield (built to provide an island service that fell through.)
(The island airfield, Inisbofin, is painted and serviceable, but, “closed”. I’ve heard stories though...)

What I will say is that if you’re considering flying in, be aware of the topology of the area. Joyce Country is to the East, an extensively mountainous area with peaks up to 800m ASL and over. Approaches are estimated to be 04 and 22. Tully Mountain lies under the 22 approach, roughly 3.5NM distant, at a height of 356 meters ASL. (Airfield roughly 50-70m ASL). Also smaller hill 172m ASL, roughly 2NM distant.
04 approach is down the slope of the hill, height 115m ASL at 1NM distant. Over water before that.
This note is for information purposes, do not use for navigation.
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Old 29th May 2019, 12:21
  #48 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Repos View Post
I know this the DM, but is it fair coment about lack of recognition of the event?

Compare and contrast with 1969 . . .this time, not even a commemorative stamp by Royal Mail, and the Reds routine for this year ?

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Old 1st Jun 2019, 09:27
  #49 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
If anyone wants more detail about the flight read Brown's book, Flying the Atlantic in Sixteen Hours, with a Discussion of Aircraft in Commerce and Transportation available as a free PDF at:
Thank you for that. It's very well written and interesting. Brown is extremely erudite yet self-effacing and remarkably prescient about the future of aviation.

Well worth a read.
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Old 1st Jun 2019, 10:19
  #50 (permalink)  
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The centenary is being celebrated in Ireland, with the Alcock & Brown 100 Festival. A local brewery is producing two beers for the occasion, one for Alcock and one for Brown. No prizes for guessing what style of beer the latter is.
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Old 2nd Jun 2019, 09:54
  #51 (permalink)  
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Extract from the book Past Tense posted Flying the Atlantic in Sixteen Hours by Sir Arthur Whitten Brown;


Alcock and I awoke to find ourselves in
a wonderland of seeming unreality the
product of violent change from utter isolation
during the long flight to unexpected contact with
crowds of people interested in us.

To begin with, getting up in the morning,
after a satisfactory sleep of nine hours, was
strange. In our eastward flight of two thousand
miles we had overtaken time, in less than
the period between one sunset and another, to
the extent of three and a half hours. Our physical
systems having accustomed themselves to
habits regulated by the clocks of Newfoundland,
we were reluctant to rise at 7 A. M. for sub-consciousness
suggested that it was but 3:30 A. M.

This difficulty of adjustment to the sudden
change in time lasted for several days. Probably
it will be experienced by all passengers
traveling on the rapid trans-ocean air services
of the future those who complete a westward
journey becoming early risers without effort,
those who land after an eastward flight becoming
unconsciously lazy in the mornings, until
the jolting effect of the dislocation wears off,
and habit has accustomed itself to the new conditions.
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Old 3rd Jun 2019, 21:52
  #52 (permalink)  
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Nice to see the feedback. I just uploaded a jpeg of the commemorative beer being made here in CYYT (St.John's, Newfoundland). Celebrations here include an Aviator's ball on June 14th. A fly in by up to 16 floatplanes and 4 helicopters at Qidi Vidi Lake. The Vimy was assembled there. Local carrier Provincial Airlines is painting a Dash 8 to resemble the Vimy. There are theatrical productions and lots of media coverage. A pretty good effort to compliment what's going on over in Clifden.

Last edited by shipiskan; 3rd Jun 2019 at 21:54. Reason: Picture didn't upload.
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Old 4th Jun 2019, 16:12
  #53 (permalink)  

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Posted by Jhieminga:

Last time I visited Cosford, Twinkletoes was still on display:


It is still there. I saw it this afternoon.
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Old 4th Jun 2019, 17:10
  #54 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by triskele View Post
Nothing about Clifden would surprise me, but each time I leave I don't seem to have a clear recollection of..anything.
I have two memories of Clifden. Firstly, having driven a mile or more along a rough track in the rain, to get as as close to the Vimy's arrival point as possible, tramping across the bog to try and reach the sacred place, only to return to the car for Mrs Mechta to ask, 'Remind me what why we are here?' Secondly, in the town museum, the potcheen still, so no visitor would be left in any doubt what parts would be required and how to build one. Could this explain triskele's subsequent amnesia?

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Old 7th Jun 2019, 21:04
  #55 (permalink)  
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I’ve added a page to my website about the 1969 air race, and it includes a couple of references to Alcock and Brown as well: Daily Mail Trans-Atlantic Air Race
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Old 9th Jun 2019, 02:29
  #56 (permalink)  
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I first saw a photograph of the Alcock & Brown Vickers Vimy when it was one of a couple of visual questions during my interview for my Student Apprentice grant at BAC Weybridge - obviously during takeoff from near Torbay as you could see a clapboard house in the background and the ground was falling away. Fast forward about fifteen years and I finally get to visit the "Purple Palace" Management Area at Canadair in Montreal. In the corridor is the self-same photograph! I suddenly realised I joined Canadian Vickers! Forward another ten years, and I get my own view of that valley but with the ground rising towards us as we do the first "for real' CAT IIIa Approaches and one landing on the Canadair CRJ200 Regional Jet using a HGS (Head-Up Guidance System) - all under the control of Torbay Marine Radio!

Tried to attach a scan of the Takeoff but "no Security Tag" so...
Having done a search, this link is to the same photograph: https://connachttribune.ie/epic-mome...lying-history/

Last edited by ICT_SLB; 9th Jun 2019 at 04:36. Reason: Added link
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Old 12th Jun 2019, 22:27
  #57 (permalink)  
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Avoiding the myths means learning the facts.

This article just advances many of the myths. It’s important to learn the facts. The two factual records of the flight were written by Alcock (a brief report published in September 1919) and by Brown (in a co-written report published in February 1920). From these two pieces of verifiable history, many writers have embellished and created their own interpretation of the crossing. I strongly encourage you to read “Yesterday we were in America” by Brendan Lynch which is carefully based on the two reports referred earlier and also fully referenced for other details.
They were brilliant aviators ( particularly Alcock who held the control wheel for 16 hours and 28 minutes in and this without a trimming system, autopilot or artificial horizon).
Most important, Brown did not climb out on the wings and clear ice from the engine intakes. This myth originated with Graham Wallace’s book published in 1955.
Originally Posted by echobeach View Post
This is utterly brilliant. I was very disappointed not to be able to read the rest of that article in fly past. It’s topical
given the efforts of the impressive single engine flights to cross the Atlantic on the private forum. This flight with the kit they had to hand then is somewhat humbling. A sextant !!

I hope I will be forgive for posting this paragraph from my google search. The ‘right stuff’ comes to mind.

At 5.00pm they had to fly through thick fog.[14] This was serious because it prevented Brown from being able to navigate using his sextant.[14]
[15] Blind flying in fog or cloud should only be undertaken with gyroscopic instruments, which they did not have, and Alcock twice lost control of the aircraft and nearly hit the sea after a spiral dive.[14]
[15] Alcock also had to deal with a broken trim control that made the plane become very nose-heavy as fuel was consumed.[15]

At 12:15am Brown got a glimpse of the stars and could use his sextant, and found that they were on course.[14]
[15] Their electric heating suits had failed, making them very cold in the open cockpit.[14]

Then at 3:00am they flew into a large snowstorm.[14] They were drenched by rain, their instruments iced up, and the plane was in danger of icing and becoming unflyable.[14] The carburettors also iced up; it has been said that Brown had to climb out onto the wings to clear the engines, although he made no mention of that.[14]

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Old 12th Jun 2019, 22:37
  #58 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by evansb View Post
All things considered, the Vimy was a mechanical piece of crap. Lindbergh's aircraft was mechanically and aerodynamically superior to the Vimy and Lindbergh also flew a longer distance. I have also concluded that the French Levasseur PL.8, piloted by Nungesser & Coli was inferior to Lindbergh's efficient Ryan NYP high-wing monoplane, which was powered by a single air-cooled Wright radial engine. Simplicity. It works, sometimes.

Note that I am NOT an American citizen, nor do I idolise Charles Lindbergh, even though I have a first edition of his 1927 book "We", and a second edition of his book "North to the Orient", published in 1935. Solving the tragic disappearance of Nungesser & Coli is intriguing. Did they crash somewhere in Maine perhaps?
you are right in ways, but what you have not acknowledged is the fact that the Vimy was WW1 postwar bomber technology, Spirit of St Louis had the benefit of 7 years of rapid aeronautical engineering development. For example, Alcock’s disorientation in thick cloud was inevitable because he had no horizon. Sperry patented their artificial horizon in 1924.
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Old 12th Jun 2019, 22:41
  #59 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Maoraigh1 View Post
"That Lindbergs aircraft was superior is hardly surprising as it was 8 years after Alcock and Brown "
At that time, aircraft improvement was fast.
In 1908, 11 years earlier, one of the Wright Brothers predicted to Congress that an aircraft would fly across the Atlantic by the end of the century, or even by 1950.
ooh I like that, it’s a really important quote. Can u give me a verified reference please? I would really appreciate it👍
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Old 12th Jun 2019, 22:43
  #60 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
Back in '69, when I was flying Wessex from Odiham, I had the pleasure of flying formation on the replica, that had been built to celebrate the 50th anniversary. It had diverted to Odiham due wind, and when it departed a lot of press wanted pictures. Sadly, I didn't have my camera! That aircraft was destroyed by fire shortly afterwards at Barton (I think), and was rebuilt as a non-flying replica. It is now dismantled and in good care at the RAF Museum's store in Stafford. Looking at it, one can get an appreciation of the bravery of the crew. It's tiny and fragile.
thanks for that background information
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