More Power; More Planes

By 1957 Eagle was offering summer flights to Perpignan with coach connections to the Costa Brava for £32.50 on Mondays or £36 at weekends. The King’s Flight inclusive holiday programme promised a 15-day package to Majorca for 38 guineas with “all the magic of swift comfortable travel in gleaming Viking ’planes.”

 

The flight to Majorca took four hours and, as Bamberg was later to acknowledge, “the Vikings were noisy brutes which flew at 200mph.” Pilots also had their reservations. “The Viking was a pig!” recalled Capt Ralph Kohn, who started as an Eagle first officer. “It was difficult to land because you had to three-point it.”

 

By now Bamberg was spouting ideas like a fountain. Also in 1957, Eagle acquired its first turbine-powered aircraft, Viscount G-APDW. As Bamberg was later to write, the transition from piston engine aircraft to turbo props and then to pure jets was “a major step in finance and technical skill.” In a dig at the prevailing system, he added: “We achieved all this but the British licensing system was not and could not be in favour of private companies and the state airlines were protected.”