It's In the Air


Films of Flying

This is a compilation of films taken of aeroplanes and flying by local filmmakers – largely in the 1930s.

Courtesy of Wessex Film Archive, the collection begins with the entire Vickers film charting the run-up to and participation in the 1931 Schneider Trophy Race – in which Reginald Mitchell’s superbly designed S6b seaplane won the trophy outright for Britain after 18 years of the contest. At the time of his death in 1937, this was still the event which was Mitchell’s greatest claim to fame (the Spitfire had only had its maiden flight in 1936 and was only just going into production).

Then we see a collection of well-made films by local filmmaker and plane enthusiast Herbert Arundel, including his documentary “Flight” which reviews many aircraft of the mid-1930s. There are films taken in flights, films of air shows – and a complete documentary of a day in the life of London Airport in the 1930s. London Airport was at Croydon – Heathrow and other airports were many years away.

We conclude with a short tribute to his father by Dr. Gordon Mitchell, illustrated with Spitfire footage, and the first complete film made of the Spitfire – Vickers’ own promotional film, made in 1939 to sell the aircraft. We see it in production, and being put through its paces by test pilots.