Thursday, January 3, 2008

Worst Aircraft: Aviation Traders ATL-90 Accountant

For Christmas this year, I got a book from Barnes & Noble called The World's Worst Aircraft, by Jim Winchester. It's a hard-cover, oversized book, part of a series that includes THe World's Worst Automobiles. Only cost about $15 because it's published by B&N themselves, as a discount book. Full color illustrations, at least a couple for each plane mentioned. Good quality.

In addition to discussing women aviators on this blog, as well as women ground crew, etc., I figured I'd also discuss the history of aviation itself. And I'll start with commenting on these Worst Aircraft...because you've got to wonder what these men (yeah, all these craft were designed and produced by men - no, that's not a feminist dig, just a reminder that incompetence runs across all genders, not to mention race, creed and color, and things are as bad today as they have been throughout history, since no one ever, ever learns from past mistakes. ; ) )

Aviation Traders ATL-90 Accountant
There were only two things wrong with this plane, according to Winchester. The name was ridiculous (agreed), and it was simply unveiled at the wrong time as the market was already saturated with similar planes.

This was an attempt to replace the DC-3 after WWII.

Aviation Traders, owned by Freddie Laker, was a small British company, which worked on the Accountant starting in 1952. It would have a crew of 2-3 and 28 passengers.

The ideas behind the Accountant changed considerably from the time they built the protoype to the time they built the working model. Author Winchester states: "the company...promised that the production aircraft would differ greatly from the prototype, which was perhaps not the wisest marketing strategy."

The prototype was displayed at the 1957 Farnborough Air Show. There was some interest, but no orders.

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