A.V.M. Bennett, much decorated in the war for his exploits flying Lancaster bombers, was appointed to run British South American Airways (BSAA) straight after the war, using converted Lancasters as passenger aircraft and employing members of his wartime squadron as pilots. His was one of the first long-haul airlines, and he specialized in the South American routes. The Lancasters were wholly unsuited to the job and the airline had a phenomenally high accident rate. Bennett was operating on a shoestring, his pilots were often insufficiently experienced at flying the routes and the planes frequently had barely enough fuel to reach their destination. But enough people were prepared to pay #100 for the three-day flight and it wasn't until a number of planes had crashed with the loss of many lives that the airline finally lost its licence. Interleaved with this story is the modern day expedition to find the crashed Stardust which, despite a massive search of the Andes had never been found until two Argentine climbers came upon parts of the aircraft on a glacier high up in the Andes beneath the massive Tupangato peak (6800m), more than 50 km's from the area where the plane was last reported. One of these climbers was the son of a man obsessed for years with finding the aircraft, which was rumoured to be carrying gold. This is a story with several ingredients: the romance of the early days of longhaul flying; the mystery of the crash and the eccentric, cavalier, swaggering figure of A.V.M. Bennett himself.
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The fascinating story of the mysterious loss of an aircraft, Star Dust, in the Andes in 1947; the rickety airline company that flew the plane and the discovery of the plane and its crash victims in January 2000.
Star Dust Falling by Jay Rayner
Used - Very Good
Transworld Publishers Ltd
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