Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Q&A with Tessa Arlen

From my Q&A with Tessa Arlen, author of Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers:
Your title refers to two Attagirls, female civilians who pilot planes from factories to military airfields all over Britain, who die in suspicious circumstances. Are these incidents wholly a product of your imagination, or did something like that actually happen during the war? 

Complete fiction on my part! But I read that one ATA volunteer in ten suffered fatal accidents delivering planes during WWII. Seasonal fog, ice storms, and the hazard of barrage balloons were very real dangers, especially as ATA pilots flew without radios to prevent them from blocking RAF communications. They also flew no higher than 1,000 feet above ground level so they could recognize the landmarks: railways lines, bridges, and rivers, shown on their maps. Not all new planes were reliable either. The Ministry of Transport was churning out aircraft like kitchen appliances, sometimes with very few test pilot hours on a new mark before production, which made flying in wartime doubly dangerous. So, I thought...[read on]
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Q&A with Tessa Arlen.

--Marshal Zeringue