Olympus69 From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 1737 posts, RR: 7 Posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6130 times:
Date: October 9-10, 1947
Airline: Transocean Air Lines Of America (TALOA)
Aircraft: DC-4 (C-54), Nxxxxx
I thought a report of a charter flight across the Atlantic 57 years ago might be of interest.
To set the scene, WW2 had ended 2 years ago, but Britain was firmly in the grip of "Austerity". Food and petrol (gasoline) were still rationed, with no end in sight. I had been released from the Royal Navy in the spring and gone to work for an insurance company in London. I was 20 years old.
As it happened, a fellow employee and I were both bored with our jobs and hated the Labour government of Clement Atlee. We made the decision to emigrate to the "Colonies". Australia was our first choice, but we couldn't afford the fare. However, the Ontario government was hungry for immigrants and had set up a scheme to fly out 7,000 people by charter for £67 - about $270 at that time. We both signed up and were soon on our way to Canada.
Unfortunately, I didn't keep a detailed record of the flight, so I can't supply a great amount of detail. When we boarded the plane we were in for a bit of a shock. The interior was just bare metal, with stenciled instructions about stretchers on the walls! The plane had been an air ambulance with the USAAF and, apart from putting in regular airline seats, not much money had been spent on converting it for passenger use.
We took off from Northolt with a full load of about 50 or so passengers at about 7pm and headed for Shannon, where we disembarked after about a 90 minute flight and were given a huge dinner. This was our first taste of unrationed food in about 7 years!
The fuel tanks having been topped up we headed out across the ocean. In those days any kind of IFE was unheard of so there wasn't much to do other than sleep. We had been supplied with blankets and pillows and I think the seats reclined a few inches. It was quite noisy - a crack in the window next to my seat didn't help matters (DC-4s were not pressurized). Our captain informed us that we were flying at 11,000 feet and a ground speed of 187 mph. We were not given any food during the flight - just coffee.
Soon after sunrise we landed at Gander, Newfoundland - at that time still a British colony. This seemed like rather a bleak place - but the food was great. Wow! Real eggs and bacon.
Two hours after our arrival at Gander we were off on the last leg - 6 hours to Toronto. I had a window seat and can still remember how Impressed I was with the seemingly endless forests of Maine and the beautiful fall colours of the trees.
At about 2 pm we touched down at Malton Airport and taxied to a distant part of the field. When we disembarked we were greeted by 70° and sunshine - and by an an array of tables staffed by employees of the government employment agency so that we could get jobs before we even left the airport if we so desired!
The trip had taken 24 hours - about 20 hours flying time. A side note: we were told that it was a holiday weekend, and we thought is was really nice that the Canadians had named it Thanksgiving day in honour of our arrival.
22right From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 420 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5846 times:
Great report, Olympus69.
It's great to have a glimpse into an bygone era which more than 95% of the people here have never experienced.... Please post about any other trips you might have taken during those early years of civil aviation.
"I never apologize! I am sorry, but that's the way it is!" - Homer Simpson
Ltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13325 posts, RR: 16
Reply 2, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5723 times:
Great to hear about the past, from a far different era than today. And we here always complain about the length of our flights, the food, the service on the a/c, engine noise, wanting seatback IFE, high fares, bad seats
B747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5628 times:
John, I have read literally hundreds of reports on this forum but none held my interest more than this one did. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this piece of aviation history with us - it is truly a resource to be treasured.
CV990 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 5065 times:
Very good and interesting report of this "oldie". Just wanted to share with you the fact that when I was a small kid I still have "foggy" memories of C-54's in Lisbon Airport. But last summer I had the chance ( that I think it was a once in a lifetime oportunity ) to see a few C-54's flying out of Fresno has water-bombers and I was very impressed and delighted. Has you know all these old water-bombers were stored now so I feel I was very lucky to see them flying, and of course I had the chance to see them with my 2 boys and they were very impressed also to see these old piston airliners flying..... I still "ear" the noise of those engines in my mind often, just wonderfull.
regards and bring on the Constellation report!!!
Semsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (9 years 1 month 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 4171 times:
Thank you for the story. As a kid I flew on Swissair from Cairo to Geneva with a stop in Athens on a DC-7 and in those days (1950s) breakfast was also served in the restaurant of the Athens airport and not on the plane.