May 1939

Volume 8 Number 2  (86 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 49 to page 92 (44 pages)



Inside front cover – An advert for Lockheed showing ‘Airdraulic’ Shock-Absorber Struts on the De Havilland ‘Famingo’


Page 50 – Contents Page

(The contents page is by an advert for Air France)



Page 52 – A photograph of the “Ark Royal” Aircraft Carrier with a bi-plane overhead


Page 53 – The Editor’s Cockpit – W. E. Johns

(Not Subtitled – In his last editorial for Popular Flying, Johns returns to his favourite subject – the failure to invest in aircraft which lead to Hitler having far more planes than Britain and as a result be able to dominant Europe.  Johns blames the Navy for this.  He was later sacked as editor)


Page 55 – How they Fared – Details of Air Victories Claimed by the Italian Squadrons in Spain

(A list of confirmed and unconfirmed “kills”)


Page 56 – The American Aircraft Invasion of Australia – A Survey of the position since the abolition of the embargo – by Our Australian Correspondent

(“British v American.  Buy British!  Where’s your patriotism?  Why don’t you trade within the Empire?  You don’t really believe all that tosh about the wonderful performance and superiorty of American transports?  It’s disloyal and all that!”)


Page 60 – World Records

(The rules governing aircraft records were framed so long ago that, although they have been modified to suit changing conditions, most people have forgotten the details.  An entirely new set of rules cannot be long delayed.  Here, briefly, are those still operative in respect of “world” records.  The rules are governed by the “Federation Aeronautique Internationale” or F.A.I. founded in Paris in 1905)


Page 63 – The Speed Limit – Norman H. Warren

(A look at the complex formulas relating to horse power, speed and drag.  The speed of sound is 660 mph.  “It would appear that there is no way of increasing the speed of an aeroplane above about 600 miles per hour, and that this figure represents the “all time” high speed figure.  In addition, the horse-power required to attain this speed would be quite excessive and at the present time the speed limit is well beyond our reach”)


Page 66 – Air Re-armament & American Supplies – J. M. Spaight

(How our monthly output of aircraft compares with Germany’s is difficult to determine; no official figures are, naturally, published.

…. It may now be approaching the 500 mark.  Germany’s, however, is probably somewhere between 500 and 600 per month”.

 A search on Google tells me Britain produced 7940 aircraft in 1939 (an average of about 662 a month)

 whereas Germany produced 8295 aircraft in 1939 (averaging 692 a month) so the author wasn’t far out in his estimations)


68 – Flying Wires – Air News from all Points of the Compass

(One particularly interesting item of news is that “the 31,000 officers and men required for the R.A.F. by March 31st of this year, were enlisted by March 4th.  In 1939 another 20,000 men will be needed”)



Pages 70 and 71 – The Centre Pages – Fleet Air Operations – Exclusive Photos of Torpedo Operations Carried Out Recently in the Mediterranean


Page 72 – At Last – The Helicopter – Nigel Tangye

(A history of the helicopter – from Leonardo Da Vinci to the present time and noting “the possibilities of future development are enormous”)


 Page 74 – The De Havilland Flamingo

(Type D.H. 95 – A Medium Capacity All – Metal Liner for World Markets)


Page 76 – The World Says –

(“This important feature will consist of cogent excerpts from the world’s air press (regardless of political expression) translated into English”)


Page 79 – Aircraft Shares in the City – A Survey of the Postion – A. S. Wade

(A look at the market during the current production rush.  The article concludes “that leading aircraft company shares are sound investments”)


Page 80 – Amateur Formation – C. Nepean Bishop

(“Club machines have never really made an impression on the minds of the general public”.

The author sets out how he and his friends fly from their club in early morning “Dawn Patrols” to alter this)


Page 83 – An advert for Shell – “Pioneers of Modern Aviation” – featuring Claude Grahame-White

(who in 1910 won $10,000 for flying from Squantum to Boston Light and back.  He was the first airman to fly in the dark)


Page 85 – The Aviation Bookshelf – Books of the Month Reviewed by Denis Desoutter

(Two books are reviewed)


Page 92 – The Buyers’ Log

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

There is also an advert “FOR SALE, “Popular Flying” from No. 1 to date, unbound, perfect, clean – J. W. Griffiths, 45 Queen Street, Chester”)


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 Howard Leigh