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W.S. Van Dyke
Theodore Honey is an aeronautical engineer being sent to Labrador from London to examine the wreckage of a new passenger plane designed by his company. His theory is that the planes are susceptible to metal fatigue after a specific amount of time in the air. The absent minded Honey boards the Reindeer class plane and only realizes that this plane is due to fail in the next few hours after the plane is airborne. He decides to warn the crew and creates an incident regardless of whether he is right or wrong. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It is particularly notable that the Reindeer aircraft has square windows. The Comet 1 jetliner which had a number of disastrous crashes a few years later, did so due to metal fatigue caused by stress around its square windows. Later models of the Comet had oval windows. See more »
On the flight to Labrador, the wing outside Honey's window keeps appearing and disappearing. See more »
This movie is one of the few films about airplane disasters that really goes into the fundementals of design and construction problems. For it deals with metal fatigue, and how it causes an apparently marvelous airplane to become a death trap. The film is well written and acted by Jimmy Steward, Glynis Johns, Marlene Dietrich, and Jack Hawkins. There is nothing to say about that. I only feel that it is interesting to think of the author of the screenplay, Nevil Shute.
His real name was Nevil Shute Norway. He is remembered for his writing, in particular the novels A TOWN NAMED ALICE and ON THE BEACH. But he was also an aviation engineer. Working for Vickers, he helped design all types of aircraft. In particular, he helped in the building of the zeppelin R-100 which Vickers designed in a contest between private industry and the government. A Labor government in office was trying to demonstrate the superiority of government sponsored projects over private industry. The R-100 proved a perfectly adequate zeppelin, that did a maiden trip to and from Canada safely. The government sponsored R-101 crashed on its first voyage in France, and killed 44 out of 48 men on board, including the Secretary of State for Air, Lord Thomson (who had pushed the project) and most of the government's aviation experts. Shute wrote a very good account of his career as an engineer, and of the R-101 Tragedy, entitled SLIDE-RULE. I recommend reading it if you ever get a chance. It helps explain the experience he brought to the writing of NO HIGHWAY.
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