Film: 8856

Aviation | 1970 | Sound | Colour


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A documentary covering the early history of aviation and airplane development 1970's

Black and white archive footage of man, at the beginning of the 20th century, about to jump off the Eiffel Tower. He (Reichelt) jumps. (The commentary describes him as 'a bird man'). Colour footage of biplane being flown in the present day. Close up of pilot with landscape behind him as he performs acrobatics in the air: looping the loop; stalling the plane; spinning. Cut to Black and white footage of the 'bird man' crashing to his death at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. The dead man is subsequently carried away by gendarmes pursued by a crowd. Colour footage of seagull in flight. It lands on a sandy beach next to a calm sea. More shots of seagulls flying and on beach. Shot of the sun through leafy trees. Camera tilts to reveal English countryside, cows, field, Red Admiral butterfly on thistle, bee collecting pollen, ladybird on leaf, Cabbage White butterfly on thistle, another shot of a bee, river bordered by trees. Commentary tells of the Wright brothers in 1909 and the competition in America to cross the Atlantic by flying. Black and white archive footage of two men standing on the roof of a building, one is waving a flag. Another sailor waving a flag at 4 am on cliffs in Calais, France, Europe. Some men around him talking, others using binoculars. Louis Bleriot on crutches in the clothes of an aircraft pilot. Bleriot's plane taking off in 1909. Men pointing. Bleriot's plane seen in distance leaving the French coast and then crossing the cliffs of Dover, England. Bleriot surrounded by crowd (including a policeman) in Dover after his hour flight from Calais. Bleriot's airplane being moved. Bleriot getting into car with crowd surrounding him. Recent shot of a memorial to Bleriot in French. Sandy beach, Les Baraques, France, the start of Bleriot's crossing of the English Channel. Shots of sea, back to English countryside, river, rape seed. Recent shots of a reconstructions of one of the first aircraft. Shots of pilot pumping instrument, waving arms, starting engine. Wheels turning on grass. Brooklands, England, the 'First Flying School', green fields and aircraft hangars. Black and white archive footage of plane being pushed at Brooklands by two men. More shots of early planes being pushed. Archive shot of pilot lighting cigarette surrounded by suited men. Pilot in cockpit, pilot putting jacket on before getting into cockpit. Pilot in open cockpit. Early monoplane taking off. Wright brother style aircraft taking off. Archive footage of early planes in the air, one crashing, pilot crossing himself while walking in crowd. Colour footage of a reconstruction of Bristol Biplane. Dirty hands spin propeller. Biplane takes off. Commentary speaks of Captain Burtram Dixon flying the Bristol Biplane. B/W footage of: man getting of horse drawn car and opening doors to aircraft hangar. Biplane is pulled out of hangar, sideways. Plane's tail is pulled into position. Archive footage of aircraft demonstration in England. The Wright brothers talking. They had brought their aircraft to the demonstration. Wright brothers' plane taking off. Men watching take off. Farborough, England, colour footage of monument to the aircraft demonstration. B/W stills of aviators, including Cody. Colour footage of reconstructed early monoplane taking off. Shot of headline from The Daily Mirror newspaper: 'Cody and Mr. W.H.B. Evans killed' another headline: 'Airman's sons see his death: Leon Cody, flings himself on his father's body', and another: 'Dashed to death from mid-air: Airman and famous cricketer fall from machine…'. Monument to H. Latham, aviator. Pilot's log book perused by camera. Plans of a newer, sleeker' biplane. Colour footage of biplane being started and taking off. B/W footage. Large British 'battle' biplane being pulled into position outside aircraft hangars during the First World War. The planes being started. The pilots in open cockpits buttoning up their jackets. Machine guns attached to front of the cockpits. World War One aircraft taking off. B/w stills of Royal Airforce (RAF) aviators in flying gear. World War One German flyers in uniform. (B/w still). B/w footage shot from behind cockpit of biplane with tail in foreground and three more planes, in formation, in background. B/W stills of World War One pilots, British, French, German, intercut with B/W footage of biplanes in flight. Navigator waving from biplane. B/w still of German ace pilot, Von Richthoven, 'The Red Baron'. B/w still of the Red Baron's squadron standing and sitting by aeroplane. B/w archive footage of soldiers dismantling further a wrecked aircraft (which the commentary states is the Red Baron's plane). A military funeral, which is said to be that of 'The Red Baron', given by Australian troops. Commentary claims that this is a general's funeral. Colour shots of a First World War biplane (reconstructed) taking off. Stills of rows of RAF biplanes, with their crews, from the First World War. Shots of a crowd in an English street celebrating the arrival, by air, of John Allcock and Arthur White Brown in 1919. Archive footage of the two men sharing a joke. Allcock and Brown taking off in the vimmey with which they crossed Atlantic (B/w archive footage). Ross and Leats Smith in the Vimmey with which they flew to Australia. Views of Australia (?) from high altitude. Aborigines walking through. Outback in Australia. Black man in loin cloth catching fish with a stick. Shot of pilots in flight. (B/w archive footage). Colour shot of monument to Allcock and Brown. B/w archive footage of seven winged airplane being pushed along until wings collapse. An aircraft with revolving wings which break up. An aircraft with wings that flap as propeller falls off. A machine that has a top that rises and falls, the machine bounces on the ground but does not take off. A man jumping of a bridge into a river in a hope that the wings that he is attached to would help him to fly. English countryside, rivers, horses, forests, trees with autumnal colours. Colour footage of reconstructed early biplanes (including Bristol biplane, Wright brother's aircraft, Bleriot's monoplane, Avro 504 biplane). Shots of two biplanes (Avro or Bristol) doing aerial acrobatics, shots from front of aircraft backwards, planes turning, looping, spinning.

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