British Civil Aviation in 1950

28 January
The introduction of a pre-selection scheme allows pilots in the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy to be chosen in advance of their release and given the facilities to obtain civil aviation licences whilst still serving. The scheme is designed to address a projected short-fall of suitably experienced pilots, who would be available for the Ministry of Civil Aviation when leaving the services.

15 February
A de Havilland 108 research aircraft, powered by a Goblin jet engine, crashes at Brickhill in Buckinghamshire killing the pilot, Squadron Leader J.S.R. Muller-Rowland, Flight Commander of the Aerodynamics Flight Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.

12 March
An Avro Tudor V (G-AKBY) crashes whilst making an approach to land at Llandow airfield, killing 80 people.

14 March
The Minister of Labour and National Service announces that an estimated 2,000 aircraft workers will become redundant over the next few months, following the cancellation of Government orders for aircraft, aero-engines and accessories.

15 March
In Parliament, there is an announcement that British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) will, for economic reasons, withdraw flying boats from service as soon as landplanes are available to replace them.

16 March
A de Havilland Comet jet airliner, piloted by Group Captain John Cunningham, flies from Hatfield in Hertfordshire to Ciampino in Rome and back, covering 1,831 miles in 4 hours 6 minutes.

20 March
The council of the Air League of the British Empire issues a statement expressing deep anxiety regarding the air defences of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

21 March
Group Captain John Cunningham flies a de Havilland Comet jet airliner from Hatfield in Hertfordshire to Copenhagen, covering 608 miles in 1 hour 18 minutes, with the return journey taking 1 hour 24 minutes.

24 March
In Parliament, there is an announcement that the use of helicopters for carrying mail is far from economical at the present time.

31 March
British Overseas and British European Airways Corporations announce losses for the previous financial year.

4 April
Squadron Leader Jan Zurakowski flies a Gloster Meteor jet fighter from Northolt to Kastrup Airport in Copenhagen in 1 hour 5 minutes and makes the return journey on the same day in 1 hour 11 minutes.

12 April
Lorne Welch completes the first glider (sailplane) crossing of the English Channel.

16 April
British European Airways (BEA) begin operations from Heathrow airport. Its first service is a Vickers Viking flight from London to Paris.

24 April
Group Captain John Cunningham flies a de Havilland Comet jet airliner from Hatfield in Hertfordshire to Khartoum and Nairobi and sets up two new point-to-point records.

1 May
A de Havilland 108 research aircraft, powered by a Goblin jet engine, crashes at Hartley Wintney Hampshire killing Squadron Leader G.E.C. Genders of the Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough.

3 May
Queen Elizabeth II launches the new aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal at Birkenhead.

1 June
British European Airways Corporation inaugurates an experimental passenger service with Westland Sikorsky S51 helicopters between Cardiff and Liverpool, but the service is later discontinued on 31 March 1951.

7-8 July
A Royal Air Force display is held over two days at the Royal Aircraft Establishment airfield in Farnborough.

22 July
Royal Air Force Reserve Command becomes known as Home Command.

26 July
British flying and gliding clubs are permitted to claim relief for extra expenditure due to increases in petrol tax.

29 July
A prototype Vickers Viscount V630 (G-AHRF) is experimentally introduced on British European Airways Corporation’s London to Paris and London to Edinburgh routes and flies until 22 August 1950. It is the world’s first scheduled service by a turboprop-powered airliner.

3 August
British European Airways Corporation (BEAC) signs an order for 28 Vickers Viscount airliners, with Rolls Royce Dart propeller-turbine engines.

15 August
British European Airways provides a London to Edinburgh route using the Vickers Viscount V630. This is the first United Kingdom domestic service to be flown by a gas-turbine powered airliner.

Yvonne Pope becomes the first woman air traffic controller in the United Kingdom.

5-10 September
The 11th Society of British Aircraft Constructors is held at Farnborough airfield, but Russian Embassy officials and representatives from the Soviet bloc are not invited.

7 October
The last Avro York is withdrawn from the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) passenger services, but BOAC retains ten Yorks to be used as freighters.

2 November
The Ministry of Civil Aviation announces that new equipment using heat to disperse fog over airfield runways is under test at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.

8 November
British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) starts a non-stop service between New York and Nassau in the Bahamas, using Boeing Stratocruisers.

14 November
The last Solent flying boat to be operated by British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) on a regular service, arrives at Southampton from Johannesburg, to be replaced by Handley Page Hermes aircraft.