The costliest sandwich shop on planet Earth, Part 2

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A Felixstowe F-5L operated by Atlantic Coast Airways Corporation of Delaware. Anon., “Airport and Airway.” Aero Digest, November 1929, 96.

Hello, my reading friend. Shall we begin? Initially used by the United States Navy, the Felixstowe F-5L maritime patrol flying boat in the photo we saw in the first part of this article was converted into a 12 passenger airliner at some point in the early 1920s. No information on its first civilian owner(s) has come to light. In the late 1920s or early 1930s, the F-5L was acquired by Atlantic Coast Airways Corporation of Delaware. This airline, incorporated in June 1928, obtained six or so these ex-United States Navy aircraft for next to nothing. It even hired some United States Navy pilots on leave to fly them.

At the time, Atlantic Coast Airways Corporation of Delaware wanted to create a route between 8 cities in Canada, the United States and Cuba: Montréal, Québec; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Maine; New York City, New York; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Charleston, South Carolina; Miami, Florida; and Havana, Cuba. While it is true that this airline flew between New York City and Atlantic City from August 1928 onward, one had to wonder if it covered other stages in its great route. We do know, however, that the flights between the 2 locations mentioned above continued at least until the end of August 1930. This being said (typed?), the aircraft used at that time may have been three-engine landplanes.

Atlantic Coast Airways Corporation of Delaware was a rather innovative airline. For at least a brief period of time, from August 1928 on, it showed movies, and talking ones at that, to its passengers. First National Pictures Incorporated, a motion picture production and distribution giant, was talking to a number of airlines at the time. Whether or not this in flight service proved successful is unknown. This being said (typed?), one has to wonder if passengers could hear the dialogue over the roar of the F-5Ls engines. And no, my reading friend, this was not the first time that movies had been shown in an aircraft.

Another example of the innovative thinking of Atlantic Coast Airways Corporation of Delaware was visible in the photo of our sandwich stand with wings. Have you noticed the propellers, my reading friend? I will once again go on a limb to state that these are very modern propellers with aluminum alloy blades made by Hamilton Aero Manufacturing Company, or Hamilton Standard Propeller Corporation, a new company formed in 1929.

Back in 1910, an American by the name of Thomas Foster Hamilton designed, built and tested a powered airplane, one of the first if not the first in Washington, the state, not the city. He formed a company and made a few airplanes. In 1915, Hamilton founded Hamilton Aero Manufacturing Company Limited. This company, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, completed a biplane in the spring of 1916. Soon after, Hamilton set up the British Columbia Aviation School Limited, the first flying school in western Canada, and used his airplane, by then modified into a two-seater, until it crashed that is. The company and school shut down before the end of 1916. The latter seemingly did not graduate any student.

In any event, Hamilton returned to the United States where he became involved in propeller manufacturing, with Matthews Brothers Manufacturing Limited. UTC Aerospace Systems, one of the great propeller makers in the world and a division of United Technologies Corporation, itself an aerospace giant, is the direct descendant of the company Hamilton joined a century ago. By the way, did you know that Canadian-designed and -made Bombardier Q100 to Q300 commuter airliners fly with Hamilton Standard propellers? And yes, yours truly would be very pleased to add one of these excellent aircraft to the collection of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, in Ottawa, Ontario.

While I do realise that you are all fired up to finally read the story of the Floridian F-5L, I’m afraid this second part of the article would be too long. The Canadian content always gets in the way. Sigh. Why don’t you come back in a few days? Part 3 of this article will be waiting for you.

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Rénald Fortier