Dan Air - A blast from the Past

Doug Rogers
14th May 2005, 05:56
(Fly) For all of those poor people who joined ships using Dan Air the left hand aircraft is one of their Comets. I joined a number of vessels using them before we went British Airways but always flew on one of their two Boeing 707's
And I know that its there but its hard to see in the far background but you can just see the cockpit of an Avro Shackleton Maritime Recon Aircraft...minus its radar antennae.
Picture taken at Duxford in April this year. (A) (A)

Jan Hendrik
14th May 2005, 06:53
They don't have funnels Doug....

14th May 2005, 21:38
I flew to America from Liverpool to join a ship. Flew in a Viscount to Dublin and then in a 707 from Dublin to Shannon and then to New York. Flew by Air Lingus. It was a great trip. The worst part of the whole trip was the bit from Kennedy to Brooklyn where my ship was berthed. The traffic was very heavy and the car very hot.:sweat:

That first night we had a hum dinger of a thunder storm, the ships scuppers could hardly take the rainwater. I saw the Empire State Building hit by lightning three times that night. From that night on I have never had faith in the saying ' Lightning never strikes twice ' . I have seen it does.


John Rogers
15th May 2005, 20:26
The aircraft with the star on the side of the fuselage looks like an old B-17. (A)

Doug Rogers
16th May 2005, 00:30
Yep it is, photo taken at Duxford Air Force Museum (part of the Imperial War Museum)
last month.

16th May 2005, 07:34
Yes I remember Dangerous Dan Air very well from a few fly out/fly home jobs back in the sixties. I was never lucky enough to cop anything so advanced as a comet though, it was those old things with four props and very heavily trimmed by the stern when on the ground and you'd fly under the cloud cover to Hamburg or Bremen.

Doug Rogers
16th May 2005, 08:11
I think Dan Air had four or five Comets, they had a number of scheduled flights to Europe and the USA but a lot of their business was charter flights and an awful lot of shipping companies used them...then as time went on and things changed with more crew joining ships by aircraft around the world they got better discounts from the major airlines and used them accordingly.

16th May 2005, 15:45
When they sold the London Majesty we paid off in Malta and flew home by a scheduled BEA flight. It was a flight I picked up a few times over the years. It went from Egypt to Malta then Naples or Genoa ( can't remember) and finally London. That first time in 1964 we flew by Comet. They gave us smoked salmon on the in-flight meal. I didn't know what it was and suspected it was uncooked bacon. Still it tasted okay.

I changed planes at Heathrow and caught a Viscount to Manchester. The interior of the latter was much brighter and I was more impressed.



These days you don't even get bacon - it may upset the hijackers!

There was a memorable flight that passed into LOF folklore - some time in the late '60s, I believe. A few reliefs flying out to the Gulf to join a tanker and the company came up with a cheap option. A plane was chartered but the pilot was unfamiliar with the area and ended up following a pipeline across the desert. Becoming disoriented he landed somewhere to get directions and refuel. Having no credit, there was a whipround to pay for the fuel.

Sounds far fetched but I heard it from people who were there.


Marcus Cardew
16th May 2005, 18:20
I flew back to Airwick Gatport from Dakar in November 1969 from the 'Mahout' in a Dan Air Comet 4-B. We were on India/SA/USA cross trades, and apparently a 24Hr Charter allowed 8 hours out, 8 hours off for the plane crew and 8 hours back... It meant a pretty fast handover!

Because there were only about 20 of us, four out each five rows of seats had been stripped out of the plane, presumably to save weight. When we boarded at about 11pm, It was fast approaching my kip time, and as the seats are fairly sturdily built, I slung my hammock (after 4 months being rigged by the pool on the boat deck) between two headrests, and had the best overnight flight ever. I think it was a bit of first for the plane crew as well, 'cos apparently, they all had to come and have a decko at the 4/O zzzedding away....

Doug Rogers
17th May 2005, 04:29
I must remember that gambit when next I fly overnight, wonder if the hammock would even make it into the aircraft these days!!.

17th May 2005, 07:56
shame you didn't get a photo of the Monarch bristol britannia a british classic
just a slight engine problem in development stopped it being a world leader

Doug Rogers
17th May 2005, 09:47
I think they were a very good aircraft for their time, but its amazing how they were completely eclipsed by the advent of the jet passenger aircraft..but then they had that effect of ships too!!.

17th May 2005, 12:55
In the 1950s the options for travel were slow luxury on ships or rather bumpy and somewhat unreliable air travel on old piston engine planes flying through the weather
the Britannia was the cream of the propellor driven aircraft before the jets took over.
in the photo our british best is shown in this field by the Super vc10, i have read that when boeing sold the jumbo 747 to BOAC, the VC10 were taken in part exchange, Boeing then arranged a JCB to scrap them in front of the BOAC maintenance falcility.

17th May 2005, 21:45
The most exciting aircraft I ever flew on was the old DC 3 Dakota. Flew from Liverpool to Jersey via Guernsey in the late fifties. Cambrian Airways.

Wow, boarded and sat facing forward at an angle of about 45'. Engines started with a clatter. Taxied to the end of the runway. Ran up starboard engine to high revs then dropped revs to idle, ran up port engine to high revs then dropped revs to idle.

Then both engines up to high revs and began moving forward. The tail began rising so that you then became level and then you were off the ground and climbing. Look out of the window and you could almost see the wings flapping as we gained height.

I dont know what height we flew at, but you could see the ground very clearly and everything that was going on.

Arrived over Guernsey and lost height in a series of stomach churning drops then onto the grass runway ( Yes Grass ) a couple of gentle bounces and we were down, running along at that 45' angle again.

Take off to Jersey was a repeat of the Liverpool take off but with a couple of extra gentle bounces added on before you actually left the ground. landing at Jersey repeat of landing at Guernsey with those wonderful bounces again..

What were all the tapes hanging off the wings for ?, if anyone knows I love to hear their purpose.

I will remember that flight and its return forever. I have flown in many different planes since but I have to say the DC 3 Dakota was the best ever.

One might say, Whats this post got to do with ships?, I dont know either, but I have enjoyed being nostalgic.


17th May 2005, 21:55
Hey Ron, I wouldnt say I was nervous, but when the Pilot and Co pilot passed going to the cockpit with their parachutes on, I got a bit twitchy.


Doug Rogers
18th May 2005, 00:41
Well my worst flight was in Dakota, should have been a milk run..Bristol to Manchester..the weather was appalling and we were thrown about like blazes..got there safetly tho...but I couldnt help but keep thinking during the flight..."thank God its a Dakota, tough old bird".

18th May 2005, 07:59
i worked at Harland and wollf in 1996 in the drawing section working on the FPSOs they were then producing, i took fortnightly flights from Exeter in Focker Friendship F27 aircraft, it was the autumn, some flights were pleaseant with views of the welsh coast, while others were quite rough, one day we had to abort at Bristol and went by coach to Birmingham for the evening BAE 146 flight., landing at Belfast was always interesting looking at the famous H&W cranes

Doug Rogers
18th May 2005, 08:43
The Focker F27's were great little aircraft, can I have a dollar for all the miles I have flown in them over the years please.

Marcus Cardew
18th May 2005, 17:15
I sent the Memsahib home from Antwerpen once in an F27, and she said that it was the only plane she had ever stepped down from the runway into.....

Doug Rogers
19th May 2005, 08:32
I sent the Memsahib home from Antwerpen once in an F27, and she said that it was the only plane she had ever stepped down from the runway into.....

Darn I thought u put them on like an overcoat??, have I been wrong all these years??
Doug (K) (K)

19th May 2005, 22:15
Hey Dave,

You saw the the oil too (EEK) -- at last a witness --- nobody believed me when I said I saw oil on the engines. Thanks, but too late to tell the non believers now, they have crossed the bar.


John Rogers
20th May 2005, 02:03
The tapes were static electricity eliminators. On some aircraft they look like narrow pigtails(Hair) The old Dakota DC3 is one of the oldest flying aircraft,first flown in 1930 I have read.

20th May 2005, 19:40
The Dakota is without doubt a great aircraft and still in use in other parts of the world today. I dont think I would go up in one again now, having regard to its age. I think that would be stretching my luck a little too far.

Thanks for the info on the tapes John, I often wondered what they were for.

I think your flight to Cardiff, sounded hairy, Dave, althought if the crew were brave enough to fly, that might have given me some comfort. I strongly recommend the use of anesthetic when flying, although I understand its over use is illegal on flights nowerdays. Hic.


23rd May 2005, 06:08
Nothing like the old DC 3. Flying from Cairns to Groote Eylandt ( in the Gulf of Carpentaria) back in the early seventies, the port engine decided to pack up, so we flew to Mornington Island on one engine and would not have known the difference if we hadn't learned of the loss of the one engine. Only difference was a slight loss of speed. Coming in to land was a bit different trying to keep her steady- the port side wanted to drop away. Landed safely then had to literally manhandle her off the runway - the co pilot running around to make sure we only pushed on the structual parts and not on the canvas covering of the fuselage and tail. The locals thought it was wonderful having such a large aircraft!! Apparently there had not been a DC 3 to Mornington since the war. A different aircraft had to be flown up to take us up to Groote the following day and by the time we got there the ship we were going to see had sailed!!


Doug Rogers
23rd May 2005, 06:27
No doubt that they were a tough old bird, I think I have heard variants of that tale before though, delays of one sort or another and by the time Groote was finally reached the ship had sailed, invariably for overseas destinations!!.

13th June 2005, 16:10
My first ever flight was in a Scheduled BEA/BOAC DC3 Dakota from Dublin to Liverpool. I had just signed off the Shell tanker Platidia in 1965. Talk about flapping wings but it didn't stop me from flying to Singapore afterwards. That was a 24hr 5 stop marathon.