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FLIGHT JANUARY 26, 1933
The Mount Everest Flight Expedition The first test flight to an altitude of
24,000 It. was carried out by the Westland P.V.3 named the Houston Westland on
January 23. Flown by Mr. H. J. Penrose, this height was reached within the
calculated time and Air Comm. P. F. M. Fellowes, acting as observer in the rear
cockpit, found the general equipment in every way satisfactory. The Bristol "
Pegasus " S.3 supercharged engine functioned perfectly, while the special
heating equipment and oxygen installation were found to be satisfactory. The
observers' cockpit is enclosed, while sliding windows are provided for operating
a cinema camera during the actual flight over the mountain. The second machine,
a Westland "Wallace," is expected to be ready for its test flights shortly. Both
these machines are designed so that a ceiling of 34,000 ft. can easily be
obtainable and the observers' cockpit in each case is enclosed for the
protection of the photographer.
FLIGHT MARCH 2, 1933
Everest Flight - THE Houston Mount Everest night, after having been weather
bound for nearly four days at Catania in Sicily, resumed their journey to India
on Thursday, February 21. They were forced to land at Trapani, on the north-west
corner of Sicily, by a heavy gale accompanied by hail. On Friday, February 24,
they arrived at Tunis, and flew on to Sirte (on the coast about 800 miles west
of Alexandria), calling at Cabes and Tripoli, where they were t he guests of the
104 Italian Squadron. They arrived at Cairo on Monday, February 27, where they
will remain until Wednesday, March 1. The subsequent route will be hy way of
Amman, Baghdad and Bushire.
FLIGHT MARCH 9, 1933
THE members of the Houston Everest Expedition arrived at Amman in Transjordan on
the afternoon of March 1, on March 2 they left for Rutbah Wells, where they were
delayed on account of violent sandstorms. They eventually reached Baghdad early
in the morning of March 3, where they were again delayed owing to permission to
fly through Persia not having arrived though it was asked for in London five
weeks ago. During their stay in Baghdad the members of the expedition were the
guests of Sir Francis Humphrys, the British Ambassador in Baghdad. On Sunday,
March 5th the Expedition reached Bushire after a very , troublesome Journey from
Baghdad; owing to sandstorms the visibility was less than 200 yards. and so the
machines turned back; Air Cdre Fellowes lost the others, but eventually reached
Basra. Meanwhile Lord Clydesdale and Flt.Lt. MacIntyre, after having landed near
the railway, eventually went to Ur, where they spent the night in a rest house.
On March 6 the Expedition reached Gwadar, on the coast of Baluchistan, having
called at Bandar Abbas.
FLIGHT MARCH 16, 1933
Houston Everest Expedition
THE Houston Everest Expedition (whose progress has been reported in previous
issues of FLIGHT) arrived at Kamchi on March 7. The s.s, Dagoma, carrying the
Westland machines, arrived on the following day, and these were removed to the
H.A.F. depot for assembling. Lord Clydesdale and FIt. Lt. Mclntyre flew to Delhi
to .inspect aerodromes in preparation Ior the flight across India. On March 10
they proceeded to Purnea, where the main base of the expedition will be
established. On March 13 Lord Clydesdale , Col. Blac ker and FIt. Lt. Mclntyre,
who were returning to Karachi from Purnea, left the Expedition's " Fox Moth "
secured by pickets on the aerodrome. During the night a storm arose which tore
the machine from its moorings and carried it 100 yds., damaging the wings,
airscrew and fuselage.
FLIGHT MARCH 23, 1933
ON Wednesday, March 15, FIt. Lt. Mclntyre, the second pilot of the Houston
Everest Expedition, accompanied by Mr Bonnett,. the chief photographer made a
successful altitude test III the Westland Wallace. In 90 min. the height of
34,000 ft. was reached, and Mr. Bonnett, with his head outside the cockpit.
experienced in photography. The wind, however, seemed to go right through his
mask and carry away the oxygen, so he was forced to return speedily to the
shelter of the cockpit and press the oxygen mask close against .his face.. Both
the pilots appear to have found the electrical heating of their boots
uncomfortable about the knees, Mr. Bonnett becoming so hot in that region of his
anatomy that he was 'unable to kneel down without switching .off
the-boot-heating apparatus. The temperature at 34,000 ft. was minus 45 deg.
(Centigrade), compared with minus 60 deg. on the Yeovil test flight. The lowest
temperature m the cockpit was minus 30 deg. The descent occupied 45 min., and
small pieces of ice thawing off the wings fell into the cockpit. Visibility at
the greatest height was only 40 miles. On Thursday, March 16, Lord Clydesdale,
accompanied by Col. Blacker, also made a test flight in the " Houston
'Westland," and reached a height of 35,000 It. 'in 2 hr. 15 min. Owing to a
false start caused by a faulty generator this flight was made in the hottest
part of the day, and Lord Clydesdale and Col. Blacker had trouble with frosted
goggles, also with the electrical heating of the boots, as during the test
flight of the day before. Lord Clydesdale reports that the Bristol " Pegasus
S.III " 'engine was most efficient. On Monday, March 20, the members of the
expedition left Karachi by air for Purnea, the main base from which the great
attempt will be made.
FLIGHT MARCH 30, 1933
The Houston Everest machines - the "Houston Westlands" The Westland "Wallace"
and the two " Moths," with the .personnel supplemented by Col. Blncker, and F/O.
R.C.W. Ellison left Karachi on March 20 (as was reported in FLIGHT of last
week). After refuelling at Hyderabad the expedition arrived at ]odhpur in time
for lunch ; here they stayed the night as guests of the Maharajah. On Tuesday,
March 21, they arrived at Delhi, where the machines were inspected by the
Viceroy. During tile afternoon of March 22 the machines arrived at Purnea, the
two larger machines being housed in two big tents at the excellent aerodrome 9
miles east of the town. The members of the expedition stayed at Darbhanga House,
the property of the Maharajah of Darbhanga, the smaller machines being
accommodated in a tent alongside the house. Two bases have been established ;
the first on the site of the mutiny battle at Lalbalu, 7 miles from Purnea, the
second at Forbesgany, 50 miles nearer the mountain. A special meteorological
station has also been erected. An experimental
flight was carried out in a "Moth" to test an anti-freezing mixture.
On March 26 Air Cdre Fellowes made the first reconnaissance of tile mountain
area in a " Puss Moth " with Mr. E.C. Shepherd as passenger. From 100 miles away
a clear view was obtained of Everest. There was evidence of high winds over the
mountains, great plumes of snow being blown off the crest of Everest's peak at
intervals, and streaming away in grey streaks against the blue sky. The wind
velocity at 11,000 ft. was estimated at 50 m.p.h., and the warm winds blowing up
from the plains on to the snow formed a belt of white clouds.
The two aeroplanes and engines have been thoroughly examined in preparation for
the great flight. The Bristol " Pegasus " engines, cruising at a speed of 110
m.p.h., consume about 20 galls. an hour. So far the weather has not been
suitable for any serious trial flights, the strength of the wind varying from 22
m.p.h. at 1,200 It. to 70 m.p.h. at 10,000 ft. lt is proposed, after the flight,
to drop photographs at Kalirnpong, from where they will be conveyed by runner to
the expedition attempting to climb Mount Everest.
Dr.S.C.Roy, Officer-in-Charge of the Daily Weather section of the Meteorological
Department in Poona, has been appointed special meteorologist to the Government
of India in connection with the two attempts, one by air and the other' by foot,
to conquer Everest. Mr. Roy, trained in England, who has had several years'
experience with the Department in India and has always been interested in
aviation, was appointed in 1929 to organise , new observatories inaugurated on
account of the then rapid development of aviation in India. He is now in charge
of Darjeeling and Purnea, the headquarters, respectively, of the main'
expedition and the Houston flying expedition, and will organise pilot balloon
stations there, which will supply the expeditions with data in regard to wind
velocities at different heights and similar information. After this Dr. Roy will
go to Calcutta, where his sole duty will be to study conditions affecting Mount
Everest and issue special forecast reports -regularly for the benefit of the
expeditions. It is likely forecasts will be dispatched by wireless from
Calcutta, particularly for the benefit of the main expedition, which will be
equipped with the best portable wireless plant available.
FLIGHT APRIL 6, 1933
APROPOS the aerial conquest of Mt.Everest (reported on page 311), Capt.
Pritchard, Secretary of the Royal Aeron autical Society, sent the following
telegrams:-To Air Commodore Fellowes,-" President, Mr. Fairey, and Council,
Royal Aeronautical Society, send you and all those concerned their heartiest
congratulations on the conquest of Mount Everest. The result is a high tribute
to British machines, engines and pilots, and the most thorough preparation which
was bound to lead to ultimate success ." To Lady Houston,--" The President, Mr.
C. R. Fairey, and the Council of the Royal Aeronautical Society , convey to you
their very sincere congratulations on the mo st magnificent success of the
Houston Expedition, culminating in the great conquest of Mount Everest. Such
success was made possible by your unfailing generosity in the cause of British
aviation. To you Great Britain owes the permanent possession of the Schneider
Trophy, and the the undying prestige of this country being the first to conquer
the highest point on the earth's surface."
FLIGHT MAY 18, 1933
Everest Fliers Return
THREE of the members of the Houston-Everest expedition returned to England by
air on May 15. Air Commodore Fellowes, the leader of the expedition, piloted
the" Puss Moth," carrying his wife as passenger. FIt.Lt. Mclntyre and F /O.
Ellison returned in Lord Clydesdales " Gipsy Moth." The machines left Karachi on
May 6, and neither they nor their engines gave any trouble, in spite of the fact
that they have by now done something like 17,000 miles since leaving Heston on
February 16. No attempt was made to make the return flight in " record" time,
and in point of fact, in spite of. bad weather and officiousness encountered at
one landing place causing delay, the return journey in 9 days was made more or
FLIGHT May 25, 1933
The Everest Photographs
ON Wednesday, May 17, Col. L.V. Stewart Blacker opened an exhibition at the
Ilford Galleries, 101, High Holborn, London, of photographs taken during the
Houston Mount Everest flight. Referring to some of the photographs he drew
attention to mysterious shapes which' were difficult to account for and which
might be taken to be the benign spirits of Everest due to which, according to
the Hindu mystics, the party was able to return safely after their flights.
Despite the excellence of the photographs Col. Blacker denied that he was
anything but an amateur at photography, as he had only to press the trigger and
the Williamson camera and Ilford photographic material did the rest. Sir Ivor
Philipps, Chairman of Ilford, Ltd., in asking Col. Blacker to open the
exhibition , drew attention to the fact that the idea of photographing Mount
Everest from the air originated in Col. Blackers mind, and was made possible by
-Lady Houston's generosity. The photographs which are on view, number fifty, and
give a comprehensive survey of the work done by the expedition. They start with
some photographs of the personnel and equipment, including an interior view of
the Houston-Westland machine. taken at Yeovil before the departure of the
expedition. One of the most awe inspiring photographs is an infra-red photograph
of the Mount Everest range taken at a distance of over 100 miles and at an
altitude of 22.000 ft. The plain can be seen dimly in the foreground below a
vast bank which fills the intervening space to where the peaks rise up in all
their grandeur. Infra-red plates appear, for work like this, to give the
photographs greater depth, more realism and make them as it were, more alive,
which is not surprising when one realises that it is possible with these plates
to get photographs even through quite thick haze. We ourselves published the
earliest photographs taken from the air on Ilford infra-red plates in FLIGHT for
September 2, 1932. For land work where the view includes trees and grass the
infra-red plate often produces a very unusual looking photograph, but for these
photographs of Everest they appear to be far better than ordinary panchromatic
plates. No. 44 is of particular interest and is described as " photograph taken
with one of the vertical cameras, showing the head of a glacier immediately
under Mount Everest Massif," but it is really very difficult to single out any
special photographs. They are all so wonderful, and we advise all our readers to
see the exhibition which will remain open for the next three weeks.
Everest Plane on View - THE Houston-Westland Everest' aeroplane and equipment is
on view in the new Duke Street extension of Selfridges, Oxford Street.
FLIGHT JUNE 15, 1933
Inner History of Everest Flight MR.
E. C. SHEPHERD, Aviation Correspondent of The Times, was the guest of honour at
a dinner given by Mr. E . C. Bowyer, of the Intelligence Department of the
S.B.A.C. at the Royal Aero Club on June 8. .Mr. Bowyer referred to the obvious
advantage it had been to send out a trained reporter to do the " story" of the
Houston-Everest flight, and recalled that although Mr. Shepherd did not know
anything about aviation when he took over on the death of Mr. C. L. G. Colebrook
some years ago, he had managed to learn his subject in a surprisingly short
time, and that now Mr. Shepherd' s articles were among the best-informed and
best-written to be found in any newspaper. Mr. Shepherd disclaimed any credit
for what he had done in the way of describing the Everest flights, mid said that
the story " wrote itself." The people who deserved credit were those in the
office of The Times. He then related some of his ex periences , which were
intensely interesting to the newspaper men present. Major C. C. Turner added his
praise to that of the chairman, and said that there was not a man in Fleet
Street who did not envy Mr. Shepherd when they heard he was being sent to India,
but it was an envy without hatred, malice or all uncharitableness. Major Oliver
Stewart, of the Morning Post, in proposing the toast of the chairman, recalled
that Mr. Bowyer had " started with a bad handicap " in being trained in Fleet
Street, but that for all that the relations between the aircraft industry and
the newspapers had been much better since Mr. Bowyer was appointed to his
present office. The dinner was a small affair, was confined to newspaper men,
and was thoroughly enjoyable and served to show the high esteem in which
Mr.Shepherd is held by his colleagues.
FLIGHT July 1933
Dinner to Houston Everest Flight
A LUNCHEON was given to the members of the Houston Everest Flight by the British
Empire Union, at the Mayfair Hotel on Tuesday, July 4. Lord Danesfort, the
President of the British Empire Union, who was in the chair, said that the
members of the flight had proved that the spirit of adventure was not dead in
the British race. They had not only shown the highest qualities of courage,
skill and enterprise, but they had also raised the name and the fame of the
British race throughout the world. NIL Frank Souter, Chairman of the Union, said
that the reason Lady Houston financed the expedition was to prove to the people
of India that British enterprise, valour and pluck were as strong as ever. Col.
L. V. Stewart Blacker told the story of an .elderly woman who wrote asking for a
piece of the ark to be brought back to her from the mountain top. The flying
machine, he maintained, with its ability to cement goodwill, would be the means
of restoring good feeling between the peoples of India and the British Crown.
Williamson Cameras Over Everest
PHOTOGRAPHY was the main object of the Houston Everest Expedition, and the
wonderful photographs which have been published indicate that the combination of
Ilford panchromatic ' and infra-red plates and Williamson cameras was a most
successful one. Some of the photographs have been' published in FLIGHT, and this
week we give, on page 465. a Times photo of the Everest range, taken at a
distance of approximately 100 miles. This photograph was taken on an Ilford
infra-red plate, and shows the marvellous fog-penetrating qualities, although
the clouds themselves, owing to the fact that the light is reflected from them.
have photographed quite clear and distinct. An exhibition of the Everest
photographs, by courtesy of The Times, was opened to the general public at the
Ilford premises. 101, High Holborn, on May 17. Admission is free.
The three types of Williamson cameras used by the expedition were : the " Eagle
" survey camera, which automatically takes a continuous strip of overlapping
vertical pictures; the P.14 hand-held camera, and the ., Pistol ,. camera. The
"Eagle" camera takes photographs measuring 5 in . by 5 in" while the P.14 size
is 5 in. by 4 in. The " Pistol " camera, designed to be operated with one hand,
takes pictures 21 by 3i in., and is particularly useful to the pilot who is
flying solo and wishes to be able to take photographs en route while flying his
FLIGHT DECEMBER, 1933
More honours for Everest flyers
COL.P.T. ETHERTON, Mr. Stewart Blacker, Flt. Lt.D. F . McIntyre and F/O. R. C.
W. Ellison, some of the members of the Houston-Mount Everest Flight, will be the
guests of the Societe de Geographie at a dinner in Paris to-day, Thursday, and a
reception on Friday, at which the President of the French Republic will be
present. On Friday evening Mr. Blacker will give a lecture which he will
illustrate by a part of the film of the expedition and some lantern slides. The
party will fly by Air-France to Le Bourget on Thursday.