….was the slogan adopted by Israel airline El Al when it introduced the Bristol Britannia non-stop London-New York in 1957. Up to that time range limitations required an intermediate landing point. On the North American side this role was performed by the airports of Gander, Newfoundland and Goose Bay Labrador. Keflavik in Iceland provided a mid-way option and Shannon and Prestwick were stops on the European side. All these stops provided a break for passengers who, apart from being fed and watered, were given the opportunity to buy postcards…and being stuck in the middle of nowhere some occupied their time by writing cards – especially if technical or weather delays extended their stay. So all these airports have left us quite a variety of cards – many with interesting messages. As usual with airport cards, it is a matter of pure chance what was sitting there when the card photographer made his visit.  Here we feature two unusual visitors to Gander, one from the prop and one from the jet era, by which time Gander was usually by-passed. 

This card was mailed from Gander to Germany 1949.

There are two odd things about the DC-3 – the aircraft and the caption. This says “Alaskan Airliner at Gander”…..  . It  MAY have been in transit from Alaska but is actually South African, ZS-BWX titled Skyliner with “Mercury” over the door. Mercury Aviation operated 1946-1948 and acquired ‘BWX in late 1947, it crashed at Paris Nov 1948 so this is presumed taken on its delivery. Another card in the same style from publisher Photogelatine shows Flight refuelling Lancastrian G-AKDP at Gander – this Ex TCA machine was delivered to Flight refuelling for Airlift use in Jan 48 so this series is dateable as 47/48.

The second card shows a Convair CV880 in a private owner colour scheme. Now the most renowned private CV880 was an Ex Delta machine owned by Elvis Presley who named it Lisa Marie. It now resides at the Elvis “shrine” at Graceland. But this is another one, N58RD, an ex Japanese example owned by a succession of private owners in the 1970’s – which ties in with the deckle-edge style of card favoured at the time. This was finally acquired by the Federal Aviation Administration and destroyed in a crash test in 1986.

This is a 1970s card by which time Gander was largely limited to deliveries and diversions – as witness the message on this card, mailed to Liverpool 1983 “ Not quite on the flightplan but when things go bang it is”

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