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Summary: Documentary scenes and a dramatised plane-ferrying incident illustrate the work of RAF Air Transport Auxiliary.
Description: Opening scenes outline the organisational work behind Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) daily ferrying of new planes from factories to airfields. Pilots are mostly middle-aged and highly versatile and include women who mainly fly training planes. Ansons act as taxi planes between airfield and factory, where workers are seen arriving. (Reel 2) Factory test pilot (Spitfire test pilot, Alex Henshaw) does aerobatics in Spitfire, a plane much admired by "Alabam", an American pilot who has come together with an English pilot Thompson to deliver two Spitfires to an airfield. Planes take off side-by-side and pass barrage balloons in the distance as Alabam soliloquises about the beauty of the English countryside before the pilots land to pick up a Whitley. Thompson has not flown a Whitley before so asks the test pilot to compare it with a Wellington. Back at the control room news of approaching bad weather causes signal to go out ordering Thompson not to take off. Message arrives too late to prevent Whitley taking off as suspense mounts. (Reel 3) Thompson looks apprehensive. Flying without wireless or armament, he is defenceless against an approaching German plane which is driven off by a Spitfire moments before attacking. Meanwhile Thompson lands his plane safely, unaware of the danger which had threatened, and remarks calmly "nice little uneventful trip". Taxi planes return to base as dusk falls and film ends with tribute to ferry pilots.
Production Details: Crown Film Unit (Production company)
Jackson, Pat1916-03-262011-06-03 (Production individual)
Dalrymple, Ian Murray1903-08-261989-03-28 (Production individual)
Fowle, H E (Production individual)
McNaughton, R Q (Production individual)
Easdale, Brian (Production individual)
Mathieson, Muir (Production individual)
Cameron, Ken (Production individual)
Stone, Sidney (Production individual)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: Royal Air Force, Air Transport Auxiliary (regiment/service)
Keywords: aircraft, British - combat: Supermarine Spitfire (object name)
aircraft, British - combat: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley (object name)
operations, British air - movement (object name)
operations, British air - routine (object name)
GB, England (geography)
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Sound
Soundtrack language: English
Title language: English
Subtitle language: None
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 3
Footage: 2800 ft; Running time: 32 mins
Notes: Credits: produced "with full cooperation of ATA, RAF and the British Aircraft Industry".
Summary: the location of the Spitfire aerobatics sequence has been tentatively identified as West Bromwich.