May 1936

Volume 5 Number 2  (50 of 88)


This issue of Popular Flying magazine features NO “Biggles” story.  The last “Biggles” story was published in the May 1934 issue

This issue of Popular Flying magazine contained a free supplementary print illustrated by Howard Leigh



Short “Singapore III” 4 Rolls-Royce “Kestrel” Engines



This issue runs from page 57 to page 112 (56 pages)


Page 60 – Contents Page

(The contents page is on the same page as a small photograph with the caption

“Italian Single-seat fighter.  The Breda 27”)


Page 62 – Not So Very Long Ago – Historic Photograph of Hawker at the start of the Daily Mail circuit of Britain 1913




Page 63 – The Editor’s Cockpit – W. E. Johns

(Subtitled “On the Folly of War” – Johns editorial deals with the world situation following Hitler’s remilitarisation of the Rhineland.  “These words are written in the hope that they will dispel any lingering suspicion that this magazine is a protagonist of the dreadful business of war” …………………  Later in the article Johns says “Hitler says he doesn’t want war, and I believe he is speaking the truth.  Let us give him the benefit of the doubt”

Also on this page, for the first time we see a photograph of W. E. Johns with the caption “I am exceedingly sorry to inflict this on the 99 per cent. of readers who, perhaps wisely, have not expressed the slightest curiosity as to what I look like, but I am taking this, the cheapest way, of satisfying those die-hards who keep writing to me for a photograph.  This cost me a shilling in the Strand, so take a good look, for it will never be repeated”)


Page 66 – The Re-Armament Question – Captain J. E. Doyle

(This article is illustrated with photographs of the Fairey “Battle”.  “It is all metal and is fitted with a Rolls-Royce “Merlin” engine.  No performance figures are yet available for publication”.  This is the first mention I have come across of a Merlin engine which was to famously power the “Spitfire”.  The very first Spitfire prototype (K5054) flight took place on 5th March 1936 at 4.35 pm. but as yet I can find now mention of the Spitfire in Popular Flying Magazine)


Page 69 – Via Atlantic – William Courtenay

(This article features a photograph of “The new giant Zeppelin “Hindenburg” making her trial flight over Lake Constance.  She is intended for the Atlantic service”)


Page 71 – Psychology in Aerial Fighting – by “McScotch”


Page 74 – How to do that there ‘ere – Flight-Lieut. Tom Rose, D.F.C.

(This article contains some amusing advice about flying.  There is also advice about what not to say – one of which is “Of course I will let you have a short article, old boy”.  “If you do, the editor invariably throws it in the wastepaper basket, writes one himself under your name and never speaks to you again”.  Interestingly, Johns adds

“Some might, but not us – W.E.J.”)


Page 76 – Flamingo – John C. Hook (with acknowledgments to publishers of Udet’s autobiography “Mein Fliegerleben”)

(“An account of the war career of Obl. Ernst Udet, who with 62 confirmed victories, is the leading surviving German war ace.  He is still a masterly pilot in regular practice.  Flamingo was the name of his machine”)


Page 79 – A Really Light Aeroplane – The B.A.C. Drone – C. L. Startup (Staff pilot, “Popular Flying”)


Page 80 – A Flight in Abyssinia – Oloff De Wet


Page 82 – London to the Cape in a Baby Plane – David Llewellyn

(“Gales and Floods and Sandstorms make Thrills for my Journey – Forty desperate hours in the Jungle”)




Pages 84 and 85 – The Centre Pages – “Things to Come” – Scenes from London Film Productions Great Spectacle


Page 86 – Flying Wires – From All Quarters

(These brief news items still make no reference to the very first Spitfire flight which took place on 5th March 1936)


Page 88 – Pioneers of the Air Raid – Michael Lorant




Page 90 – In Lighter Vein


Page 91 – Dope Running on the Mexican Border – Charles Kennett

(““Charles Kennett” is, we need hardly say, a nom-de-plum”)


Page 93 – Modern Aircraft – The D.H. “Dragonfly”


Page 94 – Model Aircraft – The New Season Begins – W. Rigby


Page 96 – Under the Windstocking

(“Readers’ Correspondence, conducted by the Editor” –

The letters continue onto Page 102 where one is signed “Einanydd (Bill to you) Jones”.  That made me smile as I own a letter signed by W. E. Johns as “W.E. (Bill to you) Johns”.  Maybe this was where he got the idea)




Page 106 – The Aviation Bookshelf

(Subtitled “Reviews by J. C. E. and headed “Biggles Again” there is a review of “Biggles & Co.” –

“Perhaps one of the most exciting yarns yet written by W.E.J.”)


Page 112 – The Buyers’ Log




On the inside back cover, instead of the usual John Hamilton book advert, there is a full page advert for Sabatini’s Captain Blood – Fiction’s Bold Bad Buccaneer in a new series of adventures.  Starting this month.

The April Pearson’s Magazine.  Now on Sale Everywhere.

(Captain Blood had only been released as a film in 1935 launching the career of Errol Flynn in the title role)


Click here to see a much larger picture of the cover artwork – the artist is Howard Leigh