Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

James Watt centenary – rather quiet?

The centenary of a certain Mr James Watt (1819 to 2019) seems to be passing quietly, at least in comparison to some others I’ve seen being marked at Glasgow University in the past.

I was passing the university’s library recently when I happened to notice some large posters in the window.

Glasgow University Library James Watt and Glasgow

Glasgow University Library James Watt and Glasgow

I’d like to be able to pass on some clues as to what might be found there. but two issue seem to prevent that.

Firstly, it was too late in the day to wander in for a look, so until I get back to the area, I won’t know what’s in there.

Secondly, there’s little online.

To celebrate the works and legacy of James Watt in the 200th anniversary year of his death, the University of Glasgow are undertaking a number of events throughout 2019 to honour this pioneer of the Industrial Revolution.

James Watt 2019 at the University of Glasgow

There’s also a list of James Watt related events around the country, but few have links for details.

James Watt UK Events

Although the poster spotted above has no details, I found a graphic that reveals this ends in December 2019.

James Watt GU Library details

James Watt GU Library details

Seems he had a ‘break through moment’.

I suppose we are lucky he made his breakthrough while have that momentary break!

Sorry, but I had to point that out as it’s not really good enough that such an obvious howler should make it through final copy.

And on something publicising a library event too!

Notably FREE ūüôā

These are the ‘advertised Library Opening Hours’.

GU Library hours

GU Library hours

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31/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh 150 – apparently good news follows after two years

Although I thought I had been lucky to notice that 2018 was to be noted as Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 150th anniversary and be marked by a number of events, I managed to miss them all (suffice to say a couple of little accidents meant I was stuck indoors for some time).

Two years on, it seems things went well, even without me ūüėČ

A recent article notes:

A campaign celebrating the legacy of Charles Rennie Mackintosh has boosted visitor numbers to Mackintosh attractions in Scotland by more than a quarter.

Today – the architect’s birthday [07 June] – new results showing the success of Mackintosh 150 and Beyond have been revealed.

It has helped to attract 1.2 million people to venues he designed – a 29% increase compared with the same period last year.

The campaign was focused on promoting venues and events in and around Glasgow and the west of Scotland to visitors in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dundee.

It was also aimed at encouraging UK short-break visitors to make a Mackintosh-inspired trip to Glasgow in 2019.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh campaign boosts visitor numbers to attractions in Glasgow

Not around back in 2018, I wonder how many come for a look?

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Argyle Street Statue

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Argyle Street Statue

13/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Any Scottish fans of ‘The Prisoner’ left?

I used to be a regular visitor to Portmeirion (no longer a secret that this was where ‘The Prisoner’ was filmed prior to broadcast in 1967), able to drive down during annual convention weekends. I was also a happy member of Six of One, The Prisoner Appreciation Society, until both came to an end for me some time after 1998.

Six of One imploded (as seen from my distant perspective as a subscriber), the conventions came to an end, the society appeared to lose favour with Portmeirion, and even the little Prisoner shop in the village closed. I hadn’t been able to make it there again (having to abort the next drive down as work meant I started the trip too late in the day), and later read that some attendees’ behaviour had led to apologies being issued to Portmeirion. Details never really emerged, but the invitation for Prisoner events seemed to evaporate for some years (as did my ability to get back there). As that was my last opportunity to make the trip, I ended up being glad I had aborted the trip, and wasn’t part of whatever happened that weekend.

I bumped into the former committee when the WorldCon came to Glasgow a few later, but they weren’t particularly approachable when I tried to say ‘Hello’, so that was that.

But, fast-forward a few years and The Unmutual Website (TUW) appeared.

Unusually, and unlike the acrimonious f0rmer society, there is no membership for TUW – just visit the web site and participate as you like.

I’ve done so for some years now, and the (very) nice man who runs it seems happy to hear from anybody.

Even me, with odd bits of trivia, such as this penny-farthing duo I found nearby one day.

Penny Farthing Twins

Penny Farthing Twins

I’ve followed the site for years now, and it has grown from a small start into a vast resource of wide and varied Prisoner related information.

For someone who was once there every year, it has assorted galleries of changes that have taken place in Portmeirion over the years, which helps make up for the loss of visits (and the 300 miles drive, ending with the remarkably Scottish looking final section through North Wales).

50th Anniversary

As noted above, 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of The Prisoner’s first broadcast, so this was a special year, as noted by TUW’s opening para on its report page:

‘The Prisoner’ 50th anniversary- an in-depth photo report on the event

September 29th 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the first UK screening of ‘Arrival’ (at 7.30pm on ATV Midlands on 29/9/1967).

NETWORK were the hosts and organisers of the official 50th anniversary event at Portmeirion, fifty years on, on 29th September 2017.

With The Unmutual Website advertising the event well in advance, most of the invited guests had been well publicised, as had the various screenings, so nothing less than a feast was promised. What was to follow exceeded even that, and proved to be an unforgettable smorgasbord of Prisoner delicacies!

The report continues with a lengthy and detailed description of the event, and coverage of the many members of the original cast able to attend, it was a unique picture opportunity too.

Fenella Fielding provided the Village Voice in the original series, so who better to announce each of the days events over a PA/speaker system which covered the whole of Portmeirion, caught on video – and looking amazing for 90!

A notable ‘first”reported from the event was the live performance of a Big Finish episode inside The Green Dome.

As a central location, Number 2’s residence, it was a little disappointing that this particular building was never accessible during any of the previous conventions or my visits, even it was a fantasy location that existed only as a set, and not actually under the dome. I did look closely during those early visits, and access was probably not really practical as the place was then in something of a state internally, and clearly in need of restoration, which it now seems to have had in good measure.

While you can go look up more related videos on YouTube, there’s one more I’d like to include here, and that’s the dedication by daughter Catherine McGoohan as she unveils a bust of Patrick McGoohan which will now mark his presence in the village.

17/10/2017 Posted by | Surveillance, Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

2018 marks 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

It was nice to see early news of a temporary exhibition taking place in Kelvingrove during 2018 to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

I always feel rather sorry for Mackintosh, in some ways

Largely ignored during his life, he only came to notice (along with others of his kind such as Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson) after his death, and then suffered the fate of many in Scotland, where his is mocked and devalued because he became famous and popular. (Note: Does not apply if you are that modern ‘waste of skin’ known as… a celebrity!)

Mackintosh and building

Mackintosh and building

It’s now well known that a number of their buildings have been lost, for various reasons, and that many that survive have advocates trying to save those that have become abandoned and derelict. Fortunately, many lesser known examples have survived in use, and are occupied by residents who know and love them, and actively preserve and restore them.

Glasgow Style

Glasgow Style designs and art works were created by teachers, students and graduates of The Glasgow School of Art in the period between about 1890 and 1920.

Said to be at the core of this movement were Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret Macdonald, Frances Macdonald, and James Herbert McNair.

Exhibitions and Events

Glasgow Museums will commemorate the landmark of the Glasgow-born architect with a programme of events in 2018.

One of the highlights, according to curators, will be a temporary exhibition held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

It will showcase works by Rennie Mackintosh and his contemporaries.

Many of the works will be on display for the first time in a generation, while others will be given their first public appearance.

The exhibition includes works by The Four: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his future wife Margaret Macdonald, her younger sister Frances Macdonald and her future husband James Herbert McNair.

Alison Brown, curator with Glasgow Museums, said: “Charles Rennie Mackintosh is rightly celebrated around the world as one of the most creative figures of the 20th Century.

“He is regarded as the father of Glasgow Style, arguably Britain’s most important contribution to the international Art Nouveau movement.

Via: Exhibition to mark Mackintosh anniversary

There don’t seem to be any details on offer at the moment, so I will be watching for more news to appear, and post more then.

24/05/2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | 2 Comments

Babylon 5 plus 20

I hadn’t really thought about it, but it’s now 20 years to the day since Babylon 5 began to break the mould of the conventional television series in general, and science fiction in particular.

February 22, 2013, marks the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Babylon 5: The Gathering, the pilot film for what would eventually become the Babylon 5 television series.

Creator J Michael Straczynski’s vision of a 5-year story arc following the lines of a proper novel was almost unheard of, and probably everything else we were watching at the time (and since) tended to appear, last for a few seasons (or years), then disappear into nothingness, having had no real beginning, very little middle, and no end, as most series just evaporate when the sponsors pull the money plug.

And that last hurdle was one of the biggest that B5 needed to overcome, as far as I recall.

The Internet connection

One of the novel (new) things that helped make B5 unique was the arrival of the Internet (30 years ago), which was followed by easy web browsing (for ‘normal’ people). That long ago, such things were only becoming commonplace, unlike today, where folk don’t gripe about the ability to get online (or generally have to survive on 56 K dial-up), but prefer to moan about how slow their broadband connection is.

Thanks to the Internet, we were able to follow not only the development of the series, as fans prepared detailed breakdowns of each episode shortly after it aired – and you needed this, as JMS planted many seeds that only came to bloom in later episodes – but also JMS’ ongoing woes with the studios, as the series stumbled from year to year as sponsors fell by the wayside, and were driven by the ratings rather than the fans. It seems that the first dip in numbers is enough for the sponsors to go running to the well for something ‘new’ to crowbar their ads into, rather than to nurture an existing stream. I don’t know how close the reality of cancellation was during the arc, but reading about it as it was discussed only added to the drama.

Such was the novel use of the Internet to develop B5, it has even been detailed on its own Wikipedia page:

Babylon 5’s use of the Internet

Found, not chased

I seem to recall the initial publicity for B5 was pretty poor here in the UK, and I didn’t rush home to turn on the TV and watch when it started.

In fact, the first series was probably well underway when I happened to find my first episode purely by chance. Spotted while channel hopping, it caught my eye, and was almost immediately hooked. I say ‘almost’ as a compliment, as you had to pay attention, and learn the various themes and cultures presented in each episode in order to fully follow and understand the 5-year arc. Star Trek etc, this was not:

“For the fans: no cute robots, no kids.” (JMSNews 12/4/1991)

You can read JMS’ words from the past in his archive:

JMSNews

I could probably waffle on for ages about B5, and have already wasted an inordinate and disproportionate amount of time looking at related material instead of writing, so I should quickly point at the following article, where a pretty good summary has been given:

The Strange, Secret Evolution of Babylon 5

And this is one of those rare occasions where I recommend carrying on and reading into the comments, where (apart from the inevitable rubbish which some seem determined to post), one can find later information on the series and event surrounding it.

I can’t find the reference again (so it may be wrong), but it seems we won’t even see a high quality release of the series, since the original material was destroyed.

Some suggest this doesn’t matter, since the CGI was so poor, but I disagree. The CGI was fine, and we have too many series – especially science fiction – where the creators have clearly lost the plot, and write stuff that shows of how ‘clever’ they are at CGI. Unfortunately… all it really shows is how poor they are at story writing.

I have to say I find it hard to go along with the suggestions that B5 and DS9 (Deep Space 9) were similar at the time, in the sense of being in conflict. The similarity of the story lines just isn’t there (for me – maybe corporate lawyers see it differently, and were rubbing their hand at the thought of long drawn out court cases), although the idea of a space station next to a worm hole or similar and an enemy on the other side is similar, it’s also very broad and general. And the Star Trek ‘manual’ suggests DS9 wouldn’t develop the same way B5 did – the chances of a Trek series with a beginning, middle, and end… just not likely.

If you are new to Babylon 5, then you should head over to The Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5, still online since it was created by fans to accompany the series, and still the standard reference.

I’ll leave the last word to Vorlon ambassador Kosh – I liked the Vorlons, and they travelled in living ships, paired for life to their pilots.

It may not be the most significant quote from the series (or maybe it was, given its underlying meaning), but its simplicity made it the most memorable for me:

22/02/2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

60 years of the bar code

Barcode

It seems that Sunday, October 7, 2012, was the 60th anniversary of the bar code.

I really had no idea it had been around so long, although it seems that while it may have been conceived in 1952, it would be another 20 years and need the arrival of the laser in the 1970s to bring practical bar code readers that would allow it to sweep into supermarkets in what is probably its best known use.

You can hardly buy anything that doesn’t have a bar code printed, stamped, or tied to id somewhere, and will be scanned to register your purchase.

For such applications, bar codes are assigned by a controlling body – a fairly obvious requirement, and one which means that wherever in the world a bar code is swiped, it will (or should) identify the same product. See GS1 UK for more on this.

I feel the need to mention bar codes because I ended up using the things once, when I wrote a software package to control the flow of work throughout a business. The main advantage to be gained was the avoidance of repeatedly entering the same details into computer terminals to identify a job every time it was worked on, or when and item was returned to the factory. Instead of searching for things like serial numbers, a quick swipe with a laser scanner, and the item was identified and re-entered into the system – provided it had been seen before, of course.

Turns out there is not just one bar code system, but many of them, each with relative advantages and disadvantages regarding accuracy and convenience – and size, important if small items are to be coded.

Way back when I was creating these systems, I even prepared my own home accounts system that logged my purchases, and I could just scan all the rubbish I bought and brought home. Murphy was watching me, as usual, and while things like bar code scanners should work for years without a problem, the scanner I managed to acquire for this job dropped dead after a few years, despite having an easy life and only be used for a few minutes at a time. By way of contrast, the same device used in the factory, and abused daily by numerous different staff, dropped, dragged along the floor, and stood on… well, it just kept on working while mine died, and stayed dead.

While I like the bar code, which carries no data, and merely indexes a database that holds the real data regarding the item it identifies, I hate the QR code. For some reason, I never liked it, even though I could see some uses for it, as it can actually carry some data relating to the item it belongs to. Even with its potential advantages over the simple bar code, I just can’t work up any enthusiasm for the QR code.

And after all the rubbish apps that have been created for use with smart phones… I like it even less.

Maybe there’s a latent case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” regarding the arrival of the QR code after the bar code, and I just prefer the original.

Unfortunately, much as I might be interested to see what happens 60 years after the QR code was invented, and if anyone cares enough to mention it on the day – I know I won’t be around to check.

Oh well – there’s always reincarnation.

 

07/10/2012 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Pitlochry Festival Theatre 60th Anniversary Season

Theatre stageI’m always pleased to see the annual programme booklet fall in the door from the Pitlochry Festival Theatre – they don’t do themselves justice by referring to it as a leaflet, as it runs to 50 pages including covers.

You can View & Download Brochures Online.

This year is also the theatre’s 60th anniversary, and I’m sure I can remember tales of the its demise being imminent, and of the building being at risk, but this was so long ago, it was only of passing interest to me. It was only in later years that we dropped in when visiting the area, and were often there out of season, and only saw the place when it was locked up, and the car park was a handy place to stop. At one time I even wondered if it ever opened.

You can see the Pitlochry Festival Theatre History Online.

I have to be honest, and admit I am not really a theatre-goer, but that does not mean to say I have never gone, and can say that although I have only been to one show that fell within my own area of interest, it was a brilliant performance, and did the theatre proud. There have been some others I would have attended if I could, but there always seemed to be something that got in the way of making the trip.

The main productions this years are:

Plus all the usual winter and spring events, concerts, workshops, and backstage tours that make up the theatre’s year.

16/01/2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

The One O’Clock Gun celebrates 150 years in Edinburgh

It’s funny how one can be completely unaware of something that should be reasonably obvious, or a fact that should have come to light a long time ago.

Although I have been visiting Edinburgh for many years, I can’t recall ever having been there when the famous One O’Clock Gun has been fired. There would seem to be a number of reasons for this, mainly that I usually get there too late in the day, or in the evening, which seems to be when most of the performances I like to catch at the Edinburgh Festival (or Fringe to be more accurate) take place. However, I have just learned – while reading about the 150th anniversary of the gun – that it doesn’t fire on Sundays, and that’s the only day I’m likely to land there early enough to have heard it.

Well, I least I know now, and have even learned something new.

Edinburgh One O'Clock Gun

Edinburgh One O'Clock Gun 2010 © william

The reason for the gun’s signal lies in the presence of the docks at Leith. Accurate timekeeping at sea is an essential prerequisite for the determination of longitude, and ships could use this carefully timed signal to set the clocks, or chronometers.

Prior to this, the signal had been sent by a ‘Time Ball’ set on a tower on Calton Hill, adjacent to the observatory on the same hill. The ball would be raised before one o’clock, and then dropped on the hour. The problem with this method was that the boats had to arrange for an observer to watch for the signal – and be able to see it –¬† and then convey the event to their clock. All these operations could lead to an error in the setting, which would lead to an error when they tried to fix their positions at sea.

You can read more on the event, and of its connection with Greyfriar’s Bobby, a little Skye Terrier which was cared for by the elderly John Gray for the last two years of his life. After Gray died, the little dog was said to have guarded his grave for fourteen years, capturing the heart of the Lord Provost, William Chambers (whose statue stands nearby on Chambers Street). Chambers organised for the Town Council to pay for Bobby’s dog licence, and saved him from being rounded up and destroyed. Bobby was buried just outside the graveyard, near where his stone now stands. One of the most famous images of Edinburgh is the statue of Bobby on the George IV Bridge, near the entrance to the graveyard, where it was erected the year after Bobby died on January 14,1872.

Edinburgh’s One O’Clock Gun celebrations begin

More celebrations

More reports of events related to the One O’Clock Gun arrived in June, when a re-enactment of the first firing in 1861 took place to mark its first ever firing…

It was first fired from the historic setting in the capital on 7 June 1861, and has continued ever since, except during the two world wars.

The gun was originally a 64-pounder cannon mounted on the Half-Moon Battery.

It is now a L118 Light Gun, fired manually by the district gunner, Sgt Jamie Shannon, from the Mills Mount Battery.

BBC News – Celebration for Edinburgh’s One O’Clock Gun anniversary

14/01/2011 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fifty years since Dounreay generated nuclear power

According to the archives, it is now fifty years since the reactor at Dounreay in Cathness first went critical, and electrical power was genereated on November 14, 1949.

This was an event of further significance, as it was also the first time that nuclear power would be generated using fast breeder reactor technology. The great dome at Dounreay had been constructed to contain the results of any mishaps. Fast breeder technology was new and untested. Unlike gas or water cooled reactors, the nuclear core was taken past the point of simple criticality to generate heat, and operated at a much higher power level, such that the uranium fuel was converted, or bred, into plutonium, and giving the the fast breeder its name.

In order to harvest the heat of the intensified reaction, it was necessary to replace the more usual gas or water cooling with something that could carry more heat energy. This was achieved using a liquid metal known as NaK, an alloy of sodium and potassiu, of which the Dounreay reactor contained almost 170,000 litres. Although effective at controlling the intense heat, the alloy is toxic and poses a serious risk to health. It also ignites on contact with air, and reacts violently with water.

However, such reactors are extremely compact, and prove useful for nuclear power vessels, and explains the development of the Vulcan Naval Reactor Test Establishment next door.

The former nuclear reactor site is being restored by Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL), which has just been taken over by Babcock International Group, a move which marks the end of the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s presence at Dounreay after 55 years, and also completes the privatisation of the entire workforce at the site.

The DSRL site contains numerous archives relating to the Dounreay, including documents, photographs, and videos, such as shown below:

09/11/2009 Posted by | Cold War, Naval | , , | Leave a comment

James Clark Maxwell statue in Edinburgh

jamesclarkmaxwell

James Clark Maxwell (1831-1879)

I suppose it’s probably a result of having Maxwell’s equations (and quite few others) endlessly hammered into my head over a number of years, but I’d never really thought of James Clark Maxwell as a national secret, or as much of an unknown as he appears to be.

Audio clip: “He’s the biggest scientist Scotland has ever produced”.

However, according to the BBC, it seems that despite coming up with his set of equations – Maxwell’s equations – which demonstrated that electricity, magnetism and light are all manifestations of the same electromagnetic field, and unifying these disciplines of physics, he remains generally unknown to most people not generally involved in the business.

He took the first colour photograph, defined the nature of gases and with those few mathematical equations had expressed all the fundamental laws of light, electricity and magnetism – in doing so he provided the tools to create the technological age, from radar to radio and televisions to mobile phones. Maxwell has been credited with fundamentally changing our view of reality, so much so that Albert Einstein said of him, ‚ÄúOne scientific epoch ended and another began with James Clerk Maxwell‚ÄĚ.

Although noted, the 175th anniversary of his birth in 1831 passed with little public interest, in 2004 his theory of electromagnetism was voted the joint-top equation of all time, and he also polled third in a poll of the greatest physicists of all time

Maxwell is now to be commemorated in Edinburgh by the erection of a statue produced by Paisley-born sculptor Alexander Stoddart, and which will be the first statue to be put up in Edinburgh’s George Street for almost a century.

Following his birth in Edinburgh, his family moved to Glenlair near Corsock in Galloway while he was still a child, but he later returned to Edinburgh where he completed most his education before heading to the University of Cambridge.

He would later be elected to the Royal Society, and held the position of¬† professor of natural philosophy at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and then King’s College, London. However, by 1865 he had retired and returned to the family estate in Dumfries and Galloway where he would spend most of his days until his death in 1879, aged 48.

He is buried at Parton graveyard, close to his family home.

More details and many of his papers can be found on the site of The James Clerk Maxwell Foundation, which was formed in Scotland in 1977 to honour one of the greatest scientists who has ever lived.

Given the physics required to make the global positioning system (GPS) operational, it may be fitting that there is a geocache hidden near Maxwell’s burial place.

25/11/2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

70th anniversary of long distance flight

Period newspaper feature

Period newspaper feature

I never cease to be amazed as records that I have never even heard of appear in the news.

October 6 marks the 70th anniversary of a long distance flight which took place between Dundee and South Africa in 1938 – the longest non-stop flight by a seaplane between Dundee and Walvis Bay just short of Cape Town. The flight covered 6,045 miles at a speed of 144 mph, which was the highest maintained speed on a long-distance test, and the decline in such flights to the present day means that this record, set by seaplane, stands unbroken to this day.

I can’t resist drawing the comparison with a NASA photograph of the space shuttle Endeavour atop a 747 Shuttle Carrier at Kennedy airfield, even though there is no question of the Shuttle starting its slightly longer orbital trips in this way – although it was originally released from the Carrier for test glides. Spare a moment to reflect on the separation of the two images by only some 40 years – the Shuttle Carrier entered service in 1978 – and on how the major advances in both jet and rocket propulsion that made the second picture possible both came about as a result of World War II, with the jet engine being developed for the next generation of fighters and bombers, and the rocket engine for the V2, forerunner to the ICBM (inter continental ballistic missile).

Endeavour at Kennedy

Endeavour at Kennedy

The flight was accomplished using the Short Mayo Composite, a piggy-back long-range seaplane/flying boat combination which had been produced by Short Brothers to provide a reliable long range air transport service to the United States and the far reaches of the British Empire and the Commonwealth.

The pair were described in Time magazine of February 14, 1938, thus:

The pickaback plane, or “Short-Mayo Composite Aircraft,” consists of two seaplanes‚ÄĒa small, swift, long-range ship securely locked on the back of a big short-range “mother” flying boat. The top plane, named Mercury, has a 73-ft. wing span, weighs 20,000 lb. loaded, is powered with four air-cooled 16-cyl. Napier-Halford 340-h.p. engines, carries a total payload of 1,000 lb. (but no passengers) 3,500 mi. at 160 m.p.h. Its mother beneath, Maia, weighs 40,000 lb. loaded, has four big 9-cyl., 960-h.p. Bristol “Pegasus” radial engines, a wing span of 114 ft., speed of 160 m.p.h. and a range of 730 mi. Though no passengers are intended to ride in mother plane Maia it is equipped as an Empire flying boat, has seats for 16. Fastened together the two planes, all eight engines (5,200 h.p.) roaring, take off. In command is the pilot of Maia, connected by telephone with the pilot of Mercury. On signal both pilots unlock the elaborate hooking device‚ÄĒMercury soars off with its half-ton load; Maia returns to its base.

Unfortunately, although it seems Shorts had high hopes for this method of air mail delivery, the Second World War intervened and Mercury was broken up and Maia was destroyed by enemy action in 1941.

We’ve come up with this intriguing article which has managed to unearth some pictures of the composite aircraft in flight, and while separating.

I’d like to have forewarned anyone interested that there was to be an exhibition in Dundee about the flight, complete with films and models, and a Typhoon flypast, but as usual, the BBC ran their story on the fort coming event only only the day before, so that means little chance of an alert unless I glue myself to the box 24/7.

05/10/2008 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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