Gandar Dower: Amateur Adventure

June 20, 2016

51LtNqhagvL._AC_US160_Another of the cerise Penguins, source of some of the earliest travel writing of the twentieth century. It’s a fairly brief and rather pedestrian account, from the early 1930s, of what was apparently the first flight from London to Madras. It was not a direct flight: it involved many legs and stopovers and a rather convoluted route, with organising petrol, visas and permissions in advance being of paramount importance…

Our heroes – for there are two of them in the plane, an accomplished pilot and a rather inexperienced one, one who prefers flying over land and the other who prefers being over the sea – eventually do arrive in India without too many mishaps. The writer rhapsodises about flying over the deserts – quite a lot of desert – and that was good enough for me, and I quickly warmed to his laconic and dry sense of humour. Sadly, there was no map to accompany and track their journey. But, as an insight into the early days of long-distance flight and the difficulties involved, as well as the fragilities of the aircraft, it was illuminating.

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