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WWII Flights To Lisbon

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    I should have said: the photo above appeared in FLIGHT but was credited to a photo agency called PLANET.

    I have not researched PLANET at all but FLIGHT used one of their photos on at least one other occasion and that photo, too, was taken in the West Country, so I suspect that PLANET may have been based in Bristol or somewhere in that area.

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      The question of the number and length of the runways at Portela Airport came up earlier in this thread, as I recall. The contemporary reports are a bit opaque, with secrets that aren’t really secret and the like, but I think we get there in the end.

      On 5 November 1942, FLIGHT carried an article on “Lisbon’s New Airport”. It said that, as of 19 October 1942, aircraft could use the airfield as the runways were ready though not the buildings. It said that it would be officially opened once “the buildings are finished and the radio installation, ordered in the U.S.A., had been established”.

      It went on to say: “The new airport was ‘symbolically’ inaugurated on October 15th, when an aircraft of British Overseas Airways (of American construction and the property of a Dutch company) flew over the city and landed on the new airfield”. Quite why the author was so coy about it being a Dakota of BOAC/KLM, I’m not sure, as it would have been information well-known to all and sundry, including our enemies, as a later part of the report revealed. And the airport was opened "symbolically"; I never heard that word in this context before (though there are at least three dates given for the opening of what became called Heathrow Airport, so we shouldn't sound superior, I would suggest).

      The article continued by giving details of the passengers: the British Minister to Portugal, the Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese Air Force, the President of the Lisbon Municipal Chamber and two representatives of “British Airways”, one of whom sounds like its Portuguese representative by his name. I cannot imagine that the Portuguese passengers flew to Britain first in order to come in on this plane. My suggestion is, therefore, that this was a regular flight to Sintra, where the Portuguese contingent were picked up for the final ‘hop’ to Portela.

      The report added that, “Representatives of Lufthansa and Ala Littoria were also present at the airport – representing ‘symbolically’ their respective nations”. So much for being coy about it being a Dakota of BOAC/KLM!

      I will not repeat the article content about the location of the airport and its access to the city and the flying boat base but this is of interest, I think: “Although no longer a secret, it is not yet possible to publish details as to the size, length and number of runways and other interesting facts: these should be available shortly”.

      What is odd about this last bit is that, over two years earlier, at the end of June 1940, it had repeated information from a publication called AERONAUTICAL WORLD NEWS. It started by stating that, “A new airport for Lisbon at Portela de Sacavem, to replace the Sintra airport for civil aviation, is nearing completion” – a little premature, one might comment. It goes on to state, “There will be four runways about 3,963 ft. in length [I love the word "about"] and one of which may be extended to 6,500 ft.”. It goes on to report the width of the runways, the square footage of the central building and that “Tenders have been invited for the lighting, communications and other installations”.

      3,963 ft.” is more like a mile than the kilometre reported in one source and very close to the “1500 metres” in the 1943 report contained in Post # 56, above.
      Last edited by ianwoodward9; 16th June 2017, 17:47.

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        3963 feet (about3/4 mile) is roughly 1200 metres

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          I agree. Mea culpa.

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            This view fromthe Portela tower around early 1944 does seem to show two intersecting runways but I've never seen a plan of the airfield layoutClick image for larger version

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              Before Portela Airport opened, air services to Lisbon arrived at Sintra but, whereas we’ve seen quite a few photographs taken at Portela, there appear to be none taken at Sintra. This is surprising.

              The first of KLM’s Amsterdam-Lisbon services arrived at Sintra on 2 April 1940. It had left Schiphol at 8.00 a.m., arrived at Espinho (the airport was about 15 Kms south of Porto, more or less on the coast) 7.25 hours later. It refuelled, took off at 17.50 hours, arriving at Sintra at 18.55 hours, just ahead of schedule. Captain Parmentier and his crew (there were no passengers, just ten bags of mail and some boxes of Dutch flowers) were met by dignitaries and some ex-pat “Nederlanders”, to quote a contemporary report.

              That report goes on to say: “While everybody was waiting for the arrival of Parmentier’s plane, another Douglas DC-3 took up a party of Nederlanders for a joy ride. This was followed by a free trip for the Press and on the trip the first Amsterdam-Lisbon plane was escorted in”.

              Whose was this other DC-3 and where are the photographs a plane-load of “Press” must surely have taken?
              Last edited by ianwoodward9; 16th June 2017, 23:02.

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                The KLM DC-3 that was used to open the Amsterdam-Lisbon service (as described in the preceding post) was PH-ARX ("Xema"). It probably goes without saying that it was in neutrality colours ("the deep orange colours of the neutrals" - FLIGHT).

                KLM ran the service twice a week to link with the Pan Am Clipper service (see Post # 191 above). In the period up to bombing of Schiphol by the Luftwaffe on 10 May 1940 (the opening of the offensive against France and the Low Countries), KLM had run 10 such services.

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                  Longshot that is a very interesting photo of Lisbon. The foreground dakota looks like D-ARPF, ex PH-ALV, the BOAC dakota is G-AGJ? (GJV-Z were Daks). The other camo dakota doesn't have any obvious marking, next Iberia Dakota and a TAP Lockheed 18 CS-ADS? Then what appear to be Lockheed Hudsons of the Portuguese Air Force, plus a possible BOAC example? Then two of the six captured B-24's. Fascinating photo.

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                    The Lufthansa DC-3 is definitely D-ARPF; the Portuguese Lodestar is indeed CS-ADS; and the Spanish DC-3 looks like EC-AAB.

                    The camouflaged Dak looks to me as if they have painted over its identifying marks. Were any Daks impounded by the Portuguese? Maybe the same for the Hudson behind it.

                    The BOAC Dakota (after a bit of playing around with brightness, contrast and the colour spectrum) looks to be G-AGJX to me - see the odd-looking image below. G-AGJX was registered on 25 July 1944
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 17th June 2017, 15:40.

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                      And here's D-ARPF by the same process:
                      Attached Files

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                        The Aero Portuguesa Lodestar is CS-ADD. the Spanish Douglas is a DC-2. I think the unmarked C-47 was the first impounded by the Portuguese. The photo came from the air museum at Alverca about 10 years ago, though it had been published before and was on Key in 2011 http://forum.keypublishing.com/showt...gs-in-Portugal which has a link to a blog about forced landings in Portugal http://landinportugal.blogspot.co.uk/
                        Last edited by longshot; 17th June 2017, 16:40.

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                          Thanks, once again, longshot. I should have spotted it was a DC-2. More than that, I knew that EC-AAB was a DC-2 and here's another of those weirdly manipulated images that I think makes the registration pretty clear - as these things go, anyhow:
                          Attached Files

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                            And here's a photo of EC-AAB on another occasion and from a very different angle.
                            Attached Files

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                              And I knew that CS-ADD was an Aero Portuguesa Lodestar but the manipulated image did make it look very like an "S" on the end of the registration, not a "D" - see here:
                              Attached Files
                              Last edited by ianwoodward9; 17th June 2017, 19:37.

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                                And, for good measure, here is CS-ADD in a photo that shows the same aircraft as in Post # 213 but taken from the opposite direction:
                                Attached Files

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                                  The DC-3 between the Lodestar and the DC-2 in Posts # 213 and 215 is D-AAIF, formerly owned by the Czech airline CLS.

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                                    There was discussion earlier in this thread about the seating arrangement in a KLM DC-3. This image comes, as I recall, from a pre-WWII KLM timetable and certainly looks like it was taken inside a DC-3. Our Dutch contributors will probably correct me but it came with a caption that went something like, "An empty seat awaits you" or "Ready for you, a vacant seat". As I understand it, the KLM interiors stayed more or less intact for the Lisbon run.
                                    Attached Files

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                                      A slight change of topic. Earlier in the thread, there was a nice photo of a P-38 impounded by the Portuguese and one of the photos taken at Portela Airport showed a couple of Portuguese Liberators in the background and maybe a couple of Hudsons, too. I think one of the earlier news articles mentioned seeing Blenheims at Portela - were they impounded, I wonder? I've also read about 11 Airacobras ending up there on one day (and a twelfth at another airfield, I seem to recall). Someone must have compiled a list of aircraft that fell into Portuguese hands this way. Here's another - a Sunderland [sorry about the quality but you tend to get this with old news reports]:
                                      Attached Files

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                                        Sunderland probably P9623, so info here
                                        http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...gal-14-02-1941

                                        more info on aircraft landing/crashing in Portugal during WW2 1939-42
                                        http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/aviati...rtugal-117514/
                                        http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/aviati...942-a-117505/?

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                                          The Sunderland must be P9623, as you say, farnboroughrob. The date in the link you posted (14 February 1941) fits the date in the news clipping [February 1941] and the place likewise. The location in the link [Tria] is on the opposite bank of the river from that in the news clipping [Septbal]. Pretty conclusive, I think. Thanks for your contribution.

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