The Majesty of Flying Boat Service Recaptured

I don’t usually post pictures of my talks, but a particular image is so beautiful that I had to include it. It’s not that it’s a particularly great likeness of me, but it doesn’t need to be – the important part is what I’m standing in front of – a Short Solent flying boat that first took to the skies in about 1948.

The majestic Shorts Solent, lit up like a disco and ready to party.

The majestic Short Solent, lit up like a disco and ready to party.

This shot was taken at the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland, and the occasion was a gala dinner to benefit the restoration of that aircraft. For the meal we used recipes published by the airlines over the years – and despite the reputation of airline food they were delicious.


Most of these recipes were from an era after the heyday of the Solent, though this one, christened the Aranui, continued serving Pacific islands until 1960. We were delighted and surprised when it turned out that a lady in the audience had been on two of those flights as a girl, and she brought her certificate that had been signed by the pilot in 1959. The dinner brought happy memories for her and a sense of wonder to all in attendance.