April 1939

Volume 8 Number 1  (85 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 runs from page 1 to page 48 (48 pages)


Inside front cover – An advert for Lockheed “Retraction!” Undercarriage


Page 2 – Contents Page

(The contents page is by an advert for Wills’s Gold Flake cigarettes)


Page 4 – A photograph of the Monospar ambulance machine, “Florence Nightingale”


Page 5 – The Editor’s Cockpit – W. E. Johns

(Not Subtitled – Johns has written this editorial whilst on holiday in the low Alps recovering from influenza.

He is between France and Italy and talks about all the guns he can see from where he lays and how mad it all is)


Page 6 – Naval Aircraft in War – Louis Aubert

(The author hypothesises about a war either between Britain and France and Germany or Britain and France and Italy and Germany and the use of the navies of Britain and France in the Atlantic and Mediterranean)



Page 10 – Air Travel in Africa – by “H. W.”

(“The Africa of to-day can be visited without difficulty, thanks to the aeroplane and to long years of patient flying by pioneers and others”)


Page 13 – The Expansion of an Air Force

(The author talks about the R.A.F. as the Cinderella of the Services and says “indeed rags were the portion of that Force

 between the years 1919 and 1935.  Since then, however golden apparel has begun to replace the rags”)


Page 14 – Why the Gas Masks? – Arch Whitehouse

(The authors queries if an attack with poison gas could really be carried out by aerial bombardment)


Page 16 – The Bird’s Power Loading – General W. B. Caddell

(An article about bird flight as compared to aircraft flight)


Page 20 – Flying Wires – Air News from all Points of the Compass

(One particularly interesting item of news is that of the 31 Empire flying-boats

that have been delivered to Imperial Airways since 1937, six have been lost)


Page 22 – Aviation in Russia – Dr. Louis Segal

(A run down of the state of aviation in Russia.  Of interest are the estimates of the number of Aeroplanes that the Axis powers have.

6,000 for Germany,  4,000 for Italy and 3,500 for Japan.  No estimate is given for Russia, presumably due to the secrecy in that country)



Pages 24 and 25 – The Centre Pages – Italian Wings Over Spain – Eight photographs showing Italian Bombers assisting General Franco


Page 26 – Light ‘Planes and the Flying Clubs – C. Nepean Bishop

(An article about how private flying clubs came into being and the types of planes used for training.  The article refers to one biplane that is still regularly flown today -The Tiger Moth, “which is used by nine civil clubs and also by the majority of R.A.F.V.R. training centres as well. 

The Tiger is used all over the world, and there are probably more flying at the moment than any other type of training biplane”)


 Page 30 – Henshaw’s Great Flight

(“Even the embittered few who sneer at record breaking and regard the more courageous flights as pandering to sensationalism, can have nothing but praise for the exploit of Alex Henshaw in flying to the Cape and back in 4 days, 10 hours, 21 minutes”)


Page 31 – The Lockheed Fighter – Arch Whitehouse

(A report on the new American Lockheed XP-38 fighter, which has recently crashed)


Page 32 – Gottfried Banfield – The Ace of Trieste – H. J. Wilson

(At the beginning of the First World War, Austria only had four Naval Air Service pilots and Banfield was one of them.

This article explores his career in which he had 10 victories)


Page 34 – Have you Met Mr. Jones?

(Johnny Jones flew his 50 horse power plane from Los Angeles, California, non-stop to New York City and the 2,785 mile journey, which took 30 hours and 47 minutes only cost him £5.00.  This compared to the cheapest bus ride which was £8.00, 10 shillings)


Page 35 – Memorable Mess Nights – Major Oliver Stewart

(This article talks about how officers amused themselves in the mess.  Officers who were gifted musicians were particularly sort after by various squadrons.  Games such as “tanks” were played – involved two upended sofas with officers underneath, trying to overturn the other)


Page 36 – A Review of 1938 Air Mails – Francis J. Field

(The author talks about worldwide air mail routes)


Page 37 – An advert for K.L.G. Sparking Plugs referring to Alex Henshaw’s successful Cape Record attempt (from London to Cape Town and back)



Page 38 – A full page reproduction of a Cable and Wirelss telegram from Henshaw (see above) confirming “there is no better oil than Castrol”


Page 39 – Aviation’s Middle Men – Major Oliver Stewart

(The author was a ferry pilot in the First World War flying planes out to France and he tells of his adventures)


Page 41 – An advert for Shell again referring to Henshaw (see above) – “Mr. Henshaw was sure of Shell”


Page 48 – The Buyers’ Log

(This carries the same Royal Air Force advert for vacancies for pilots and air observers as set out in previous months)


Inside Back Cover – Advert for Grey’s Cigarettes


Back Page – An Advert for the M.G. Midget



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