Flight Plan Film - 1950

Flight Plan

In 1950 DCA commissioned a short black and white film titled Flight Plan and subtitled A Review of Civil Aviation in Australia Today. The film was intended to show the breadth of aviation activity in Australia at that time, how aviation was contributing to the development of the nation and some of the advances being made in air safety. As such, it presents a very good snapshot of Australian aviation in that era.

Among other things, the film features footage of a trans-Tasman Short Sandringham flying boat, Qantas Lockheed 749 Constellation ("half way around the world in four days"), BCPA Douglas DC-6, MMA Avro Ansons and a crop-dusting Tiger Moth.


Flight Plan

Flight Plan also features a particularly good sequence filmed in Sydney/Mascot Tower and Area Control Centre, showing how these units functioned. This sequence includes footage of well-known ATC Supervisor Norm Rodoni.

The ATC component of the film was considered so important that it featured heavily in advertisements for the film, such as the one below which appeared in the travel industry publication Gordon's Australasian Air Guide in October 1950.


Troubleshooter ad
Flight Plan

< Click on the image at left to download a .pdf version of this June 1950 story publicising the film.


The script, though perhaps a bit overblown and flowery to our ears today, says a great deal about how Australians viewed themselves and the role of aviation in 1950. In particular, the 'tyrrany of distance' was still very much on people's minds. The quote below comes from the closing scenes of the film. It is especially interesting to see how officialdom, at least, viewed aviation then, compared with today's attitudes.

"Move up from the land and put the roadways in the sky. Shatter with the roar of engines, the menace of distance. Fly over the tops of the mountains and make neighbours out of strangers. Bind together the scattered segments of this huge country. No longer do natural barriers divide the orchardist of Tasmania from the drover of the Kimberleys - or the cane-cutter of Queensland from the axman of Victoria.

The Airlines are helping to build a unified nation. The steelworker of Newcastle and the shipwright of Whyalla know the goldminer of Kalgoorlie. And all the far-flung people of the continent are within a few hours of the coast. There are no distant places any more.

Just as the aircraft has brought the people of Australia closer together, so too has it brought them closer to the people of countries overseas. Each year new international operators are adding new routes to the network that links us with the world, adding their routes to the existing routes flown by Australian airmen.

Where the sailing ships once took six months, the aircraft takes four days, the longest and fastest air route in the world. Our Australian international aircraft operate between Britain, Australia and Canada, flying the greater part of the all-red route that circles the globe.

Aviation and Australia have grown up together and they are going forward together. The aircraft has become the servant of the people; uniting the citizens of this country, uniting the countries of the world."

Flight Plan poster



('Trouble Shooter' Ad: Gordon's Australasian Air Guide via Roger McDonald / Remainder: CAHS collection)

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Download this Flight Plan story