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My late mother used to reminisce about the old flying boats, having flown Southampton-New York in one in 1946 or 1947. And then from NYC it was coast-to-coast in some old piston-engined thing. Which broke down.

I remember flying on Comets, too, courtesy of Desperate Dan Air. Years later, I met an ex-DA stewardess who had fond memories of the Comet. She told me it was the last proper civil airliner which had a hand crank attachment for lowering the landing gear if the hydraulics failed, as in ‘Memphis Belle’. She had to do it once. The crank point was under the floor in the galley, apparently, so they just closed the curtain and cranked away and the passengers were none the wiser.