Mark Hannant

London's famous Science Museum is to host an exhibition of the cut-away drawings which appear in Flight International to mark the magazine's 90th anniversary.

Since the 1920s Flight, as the magazine was then named, has featured hand-drawn artwork; from the 1930s onwards the cut-aways for which it has become famous have appeared regularly.

Flight began life in November 1908 as a section in the weekly magazine The Automotor Journal. Founded around the turn of the century, the journal started covering the experimentation taking place in aviation around 1906. On 2 January 1909 Flight became a publication in its own right, predating the world's first aircraft production line and the birth of a commercial aviation industry, as publisher Allan Winn proudly points out.

"Flight has been in existence longer than the industry itself and has been there to record and cover all the developments and milestones in the industry. We were there when Bleriot flew the Channel and covered the first flight of a British-built aircraft from British soil.

"During the First World War the magazine covered the war, as it happened, reporting from the front every week. It became very much a military publication covering all aerial activity.


"Throughout the Twenties we covered the build-up of air transport services as they became economically viable and the civil air transport industry was born."

In 1962 Flight became Flight International, reflecting the increased scope of its own coverage and the increasingly international nature of the business itself. It now has offices in the USA, France, Germany and Singapore. Flight has benefited from the stability that lengthy tenure of editors brings. Since launch editor Stanley Sponger there have been only seven editors - the most famous perhaps being Mike Ramsden or "JMR", who was with the title for some 30 years.

Winn, who studied aeronautical engineering in his native New Zealand, held the reins for eight years. He became publisher earlier this year.

Although he is obviously pleased to take a look through the back issues he also has got an eye on future developments. Does the blossoming of electronic publications mean paper publications (forestware as opposed to software) will become redundant? "Not at all," he says. "I have every confidence that we'll be celebrating in 10 years with a humdinger of a centenary party. ATI has been developed to service the needs of the industry and it compliments Flight."

The 90th anniversary exhibition takes place at The Science Museum from the end of November until April 1999.

Source: Flight Daily News