Vintage Visions: Villemard’s 1910 Depictions of 21st Century Aviation

villemard art  Vintage Visions: Villemard’s 1910 Depictions of 21st Century Aviation(All images via Tom Wigley)

Flying machines were in their infancy in 1910, the ability to fly in itself a technological wonder.  But that didn’t stop eccentrics and inspired thinkers dreaming of a time when aircraft were so ubiquitous that bars and restaurants would offer ‘fly-throughs’.  That might sound rather far fetched, even by today’s standards, but French artist Villemard offered an image of Parisian life in the year 2000 that in some ways has come to pass.

villemard art 2  Vintage Visions: Villemard’s 1910 Depictions of 21st Century Aviation

These retro-futuristic postcards show a variety of aviation-related scenes in which aircraft rescue stricken sailors, helicopters patrol the skies, spying on those below, and a seaplane – in this case a vintage wooden boat held aloft by two zeppelin-like hot air balloons – drifts above an ocean.

villemard art 3  Vintage Visions: Villemard’s 1910 Depictions of 21st Century Aviation

Elsewhere, flying cops hold up unruly airborne motorists – a theme explored in science fiction films such as Minority Report, but perhaps not too far from (an alternate) reality if flying cars are anything to go by.  In more serene scenes, all manner of flying machines, from prop-planes to ornithopters, cruise down the Avenue de l’Opéra.

The scenes are at once pleasant and chaotic.  While Villemard could never grasp the rate by which technology would advance over the next 90 years, he clearly understood the crucial role aviation would play in our modern world.

Soviet Monuments: Decaying Lenin Statue Watches Over Abandoned Fighter Jet

abandoned mig 15 lenin statue  Soviet Monuments: Decaying Lenin Statue Watches Over Abandoned Fighter Jet(Image: Danner Gyde, reproduced with permission)

Situated at the entrance to the Russian Federation Air Force Museum at Monino, this derelict Soviet-era MiG-15 lying alongside a decaying statue of Vladimir Lenin is as much social commentary as it is scrap metal.  While the museum’s impressive collection represents a timeline of Russian aviation, the “gate guards” symbolise the decline and fall of the Soviet Union and with it, communism.  Of course, they are just two among hundreds of reminders of the old epoch in a landscape littered with rusting monuments.

Rare Behind-the-Scenes Footage from 1969 “Battle of Britain” Film

The Battle of Britain was a story of heroism and hair-raising dogfights, and film production depended heavily on the availability of period aircraft.  Overall, 100 planes were assembled, dubbed the “35th largest air force in the world”.  This rare behind-the-scenes footage was filmed on location, and documents some of the film’s most memorable moments – including the Eagle Day onslaught against British airfields.  For anyone with an interest in aviation and pyrotechnics, working on the Battle of Britain must have been a dream come true.

battle of britain behind the scenes  Rare Behind-the-Scenes Footage from 1969 “Battle of Britain” Film

This 8mm footage was shot in 1968 by Bob Foley, who was working as Sound Recordist on the “Making of the Battle of Britain” documentary.  Rediscovering the footage 30 years later in his loft, Bob was impressed to find it still worked on the projector, and re-filmed it using digital video.  Music and warplane sound effects helped bring the silent footage to life superbly.

battle of britain behind the scenes 2  Rare Behind-the-Scenes Footage from 1969 “Battle of Britain” Film

In addition to real aircraft, a number of full scale models were built – some to be destroyed by “German bombs”.  Several were capable of taxiing, with lawn mower engines to power their propellers.  In one amusing shot, three Spitfires can be seen taxiing without their propellers moving.  More relaxed moments show Messerschmitt BF 109s (really HA-1112 Buchons) parked near British Spitfires and Hurricanes, awaiting the call to “action”.

Video footage and screenshots reproduced with thanks to Bob Foley (via YouTube). 

Aircraft in Movies: Wings Museum Offers World War Two Film Props for Hire

(Images courtesy of Wings Museum, reproduced with permission)

The post-World War Two film industry featured numerous aircraft in movies, and the sheer number of planes rendered surplus to requirements by the close of hostilities ensured a plentiful supply for filmmakers.  But after more than 65 years, authentic aircraft props are not as easy to find.  Enter Wings Museum, which offers a variety of fully equipped vintage aviation props for hire.

The forward fuselage of this Douglas DC-3/C-47 Dakota, complete with fully restored cockpit, is one of the movie props available.  Used in the filming of the popular television show Band of Brothers, the Dakota cockpit also comes with a removable canopy section to offer filmmakers a wider field of vision.

A DC-3/C-47 Dakota fuselage – also from Band of Brothers and most recently used in the filming of a horror movie – is also available alongside a vintage World War Two Jeep, restored Morrison Shelter and a variety of other movie props.  Find out more about Wings Museum here, and for more prop aircraft in movies, check out this abandoned plane wreck prop in Nevada, and this “crashed” Boeing 747 featured in War of the Worlds.

Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel

jumbo hostel  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Images: Stefan Sjögren, cc-sa-3.0; jingdianjiaju1 (inset), cc-sa-3.0)

In these times of escalating travel costs, an economy seat on a Boeing 747 is going to set you back a few quid.  But ironically, an entire bed on this retired Jumbo is ideally suited for budget travellers and aviation enthusiasts alike. Known as the Jumbo Hostel, the decommissioned 747-200 boasts 27 bedrooms equipped with wireless internet and flatscreen TVs. With the exception of Air Force One, it’s arguably the most comfortable 200 series 747 in the world.

jumbo hostel cockpit suite  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Image: Lioba Schneider, reproduced under the Free Art License)

Located at the entrance to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport in Sweden, the Jumbo Hostel offers 24 hour service and features a cafe where guests and non-guests can enjoy breakfast – served on airline trays, of course. For a little extra exclusivity, guests can book the “Cockpit Suite”, a twin bedroom located on the flight deck with ensuite bathroom and even the remains of the 747’s flight controls.

jumbo hostel 3  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Images: jingdianjiaju1, cc-sa-3.0)

This Jumbo Jet was originally built for Singapore Airlines in 1976 before serving with Pan Am. The plane’s final operator, Swedish airline Transjet, collapsed in 2002. Authorities consented to the 747’s conversion to a hostel in 2007, and work began ripping out the original 450-seat interior and installing 70 beds in 27 bedrooms, while adhering to modern building regulations and energy standards. The hostel opened in 2008.

jumbo hostel 2  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Image: Brorsson, cc-sa-3.0)

At the Jumbo Hostel, guests can monitor flight information from the comfort of their own rooms, while the terminal buildings are just five minutes away. This Jumbo, which featured in our companion site’s article about creatively recycled and DIY 747s, is one of the lucky older model versions to have escaped the scrap heap, and stands resplendent in a fresh new livery today.?