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Inauguration of First Highland Air Service

Opening of the Inverness - Orkney Route

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The Inverness-Orkney plane is christened by Mrs Donald McDonald of Scorguie. Passengers board the plane, speeches are made and the plane takes off. People featured in the film include Lady Findlay, Sir Edmund Findlay, Mr Peter Findlay, who flew from Edinburgh to Inverness to be present at the opening service and then proceeded by plane to Kirkwall. The film features shots of a monospar (small two-propeller plane), a small plane marked "Inverness Highland Airways Limited, 36 Academy Street Inverness" as well as shots of a Foxmoth bi-plane "Aberdeen" (of the Highland Airways). Note: Shots of a Gypsy Moth bi-plane occur throughout film.

Questions & Activities


  • Who would go on the plane?
  • How comfortable do you think the flight was? Does the plane look safe?
  • Why would the air service to the Islands have been important?
  • Who was able to use this service?
  • How were these planes powered?
  • Could you open the window on the plane?
  • What other uses did opening up these routes by plane have?
  • What can you see being loaded on to the plane?


Social History: Research when the first passenger flight took place? How are modern passenger planes different from the plance in the clip?

Geography / History: Compare with modern day links to Highlands and research how widespread flight was at this time as a form of passenger transport.

Maths: Compare the times of the journeys from the 1930s to today - take into account the ferries.

Technologies: Research how these planes were made and what were they made of. Do they look safe?

Art and Design / Media Studies / English: Design a corporate identity for the Highland Air Service and make an advert or design a poster promoting this new mode of transport. Add sountrack in the form of a newsreel.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-099-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 0646B
Date 1933
Genre Local Topical
School Subject Art and Design, History, English, Technologies, Media Studies, Social Studies
Subject Matter Aviation
Who Malcolm "Pop' Roberts, cinema manager (commissioned by), Playhouse cinema, Inverness (sponsor)
Where Inverness, Kirkwall, Scorguie
Event Opening Ceremony
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 3:36
Film Length 06:00