Welcome to the Flight Archive Project
Welcome to the very first post on this blog which will chart the progress of our unique experiment to make our archives available online. Flight is lucky enough to have one of the very finest aviation archives in the world and it has long been a frustration that we have not been able to share this resource with a wider public.
Well, now, thanks to advances in technology and some dedicated work from our staff, we will be able to do just that.
Our efforts in archiving fall into three categories:
Over the next few months we will be scanning some 200,000 pages of Flight and Flight International magazines back to the very first issue published way back in 1908. We will be using advanced OCR techniques to ensure that virtually every word can be searched online which will provide unparalleled access for the very first time. To give you an idea of what to expect take a look at some specimen pages from 1910, here and here. We hope our final technical solution will be more elegant and the interface much more usable, but you get the idea.
Over the years we have amassed an estimated one million pictures - many on glass plates - currently stored in our head office in Sutton, Surrey in the UK. A team in our offices in Rugby led by Steve Butler, Martin Smith and Keith Blincow have been carefully scanning and touching up a selection of these images and we now have over 1,000 on the web, from the pre-1914 era, from the 1930's - civil and military, from the second world war and from the immediate post-war era. The team have also selected some pictures linked by themes and the first - air races - are now available.
Finally Joe Picarella, Flight's Senior Technical Artist, is painstakingly scanning the vast library of techical drawings and cutaways published over the past 100 years in Flight, Flight Itnernational and The Aeroplane. As Joe says in his introduction page: "This collection will ultimately represent 75% of the world's aerospace cutaway images."
The Archive Project is very much a work in progress and we will be charting our progress here. We are very much interesting in your views and suggestions so please use the comment links on our posts to provide some feedback.