A Dublin author is appealing to Irish filmmakers to progress a proposed movie on John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown’s first non-stop 1919 Atlantic flight from St John’s, Newfoundland to Clifden.
Brendan Lynch is keen that the movie is made ahead of the centenary of the historic flight which changed the face of aviation, in three years time.
The film was to be based on Brendan Lynch’s account of the pioneering flight, Yesterday We Were in America, which was praised by well-known authors Len Deighton and Colum McCann for its dramatic coverage of the event.
Mr Lynch said that he signed a holding agreement with a New York company, who initially informed him of their progress with screenwriters and producers.
“But they have now gone cold and I hope an Irish filmmaker may step in to record the dramatic flight which put Ireland on the world aviation map.’
The author spent two years researching his book on both sides of the Atlantic. He met the late Steve Fossett, who replicated the flight in July 2005, and also Clifden’s Harry Sullivan, who witnessed Alcock and Brown’s June 1919 arrival.
“With the 2019 centenary looming, planning would have to start soon, if a film were to be made.” Alcock and Brown survived continuous cloud, snow and ice and a near-fatal stall in their open-cockpit Vickers Vimy, as well as a damaged exhaust and a non-functioning wireless, before landing at Derrygimla, near Clifden on Sunday morning, June 15, 1919.
Mr Lynch insisted ‘The all-action John Alcock and his introspective navigator, Arthur Whitten Brown, are the two of the world’s most successful and, sadly, most neglected aviation pioneers.
“Their 16-hour flight was probably the most significant and dramatic aviation feat, after the Wright Brothers’ early efforts. ‘It marked the first crossing of an ocean and, at 1880 miles, the longest distance ever flown up to that time. Though the Atlantic was not flown again until Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 crossing, it was Alcock and Brown who pioneered the route we all take for granted today.’
With Failte Ireland’s assistance, a boardwalk was recently erected on the landing site to make the area more accessible to both aviation fans and those interested in the early Marconi station which once stood there.
Mr Lynch concluded ‘A film on this great flight could also boost the number of transatlantic visitors to Ireland.’