No place on Earth held more allure in the 1930’s than Mount Everest, the highest summit of the Himalayas. Everest had become an even more elusive prize following the famous loss of the climbers Mallory and Irvine in 1924, who had disappeared while trying to climb the mountain.
In 1932 a prestigious team of aviators proposed to fly over the mountain. For a Britain gripped in the Great Depression, the adventure of open-cockpit biplanes roaring towards the peak instantly caught the public’s imagination. The aim of the flight over Everest was to identify a route up the mountain that would allow a successful climb to the summit. The expedition was commanded by Air Commodore Peregrine Fellowes and the flight was carried out by two intrepid volunteers from the Royal (Auxiliary) Air Force – David Fowler McIntyre and Lord Clydesdale, the future Duke of Hamilton. Lady Houston, who had earlier sponsored the British entries for the Schneider Trophy Air Race, financed the expedition. The novelist John Buchan took charge of publicity. Wings Over Everest, the documentary film made by the expedition, won a 1936 Academy Award for “Best Short Subject (Novelty)”, however it would be twenty years beforel Tenzing and Hilary, using McIntyre and Hamilton’s survey photographs, would finally scale the world’s highest mountain.
On their return from the Everest Expedition, Clydesdale and McIntyre founded Scottish Aviation Limited and Prestwick Airport, Scotland, where the first Prestwick World Festival of Flight will be held from August 30th to September 8th this year.
For further details on the event: www.WorldFestivalofFlight.com