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Flying in the 1930s

By Taylor Marvin

Via Wikimedia.

Via Wikimedia.

Here’s a fantastic picture I was lucky enough to recently stumble across on Wikimedia: a 1931 snapshot of a British Imperial Airways Handley Page H.P.42 airliner refueling in Samakh, Palestine. The aircraft itself is gorgeous, but there’s many other interesting facets to the photograph. With their small internal volume the range of early prop-driven aircraft was poor, necessitating many refueling stops at rugged way stations that otherwise wouldn’t see much traffic. Flying in the 1930s was restricted to the wealthy, and was considered luxurious — the small ram-air generator on the right side of the fuselage likely provided electricity to the passengers, a novelty by the standards of the era.

If you’re flying anywhere in the next few weeks, be grateful you live in the 21st century.

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