Gander's Future Prophesy
The war was almost over. VE Day had taken place and VJ was a hurdle about to be accomplished. As the base at Gander was about to close its doors, this ‘tongue in cheek’ article was written about Gander’s future in the RCAF’s “The Gander” magazine in 1945. The airport’s future prospects were recognized by those that served there.
Could This Happen to Gander
By Rita Larsen
The average wind-torn, rain soaked Erk of present day Gander doesn't spend much time wondering what Newfoundland may mean to the aviation world after the war. He simply doesn't care. The Newfoundlanders will have it back again and Gander will fade into a charming memory. That applies, at least, to the present. But when he is zooming around in the family plane some fifty years from now with all his little Erks and grand-Erks, He will probably think of Gander as a well known city, an important link in extensive air networks all over the world.
By that time, of course, airports will be as common as railroad stations, jet propulsion will come into its own. Gander’s geographical location indicates its great possibilities as a central air terminal. Planes even now are able to make a non-stop flight from America to Europe but the costs of operation are a great deal less with an intermediate stop available for refueling purposes and maintenance. Therefore extending into the future it is possible that Gander terminal will feature prominently not only in flights between America and Europe but daily time-tables will be arranged to London, Paris, Moscow, Rome or Casablanca. With possibly a bi-weekly or more frequent schedule to Australia and the Middle East.
The terminal itself will not bear much resemblance to the No. 5 Hanger of today. The potentialities of plastic are becoming more and more significant everyday, and the material will figure outstandingly in its construction, such as impressive full length panels for windows, a transparent roof, and even plastic furniture. Cement and steel, magnesium alloys, towering pillars, mirrors stretching from the floor to ceiling, indirect neon lighting, enormous drapes, every comfort and convenience will go into the structure which will actually be a city complete in itself.
The ground floor of the terminal will be a constant stream of hurrying people, eagerly rushing around with bellhops and attendants, or studying specially designed maps containing simple illustrations to the bars. Linguists will be in many and convenient locations and able to direct an Italian or a Hindu with perfect ease. An announcer will be calling out plane schedules, special acoustical equipment will eliminate the nasal drone peculiar to present day train announcers, and after a refresher at the bar, people will have no difficulty locating the exits as indicated on their maps
The second floor will probably be devoted to the shopping area, with drug stores, dress shops, and millineries. A couple of theaters will rival with each other for patronage. Lineups will be unknown because of elasticity of seating devices, and the maneuverable chairs will eliminate the agonies attributable to the well known movies pest. According to technical engineers, dimensional projection will be effectively developed, as well as some device for conveying the odor of a rose garden scene or a beef steak fry specializing in fried onions and ketchup.
Lunch counters and dining rooms will undoubtedly occupy the third floor together with of course, the bars. In another fifty years a Zombie or Singapore Sling will be a mere insipid memory and customers will mix their own, auto-mat style. The thirsty one will walk along and study small flashing neon signs; “Brandy”, “Scotch”, “Rum”, ”Soda”, “Gin”, plug in a coin and fill glass. The last sign will switch on and off with effective brilliance, and will read “Bromo”.
The fourth floor might be a business section, commercial people fussing around in their law offices, untangling international mix ups and valiantly trying to get a sad faced little Yugoslavian his permit to enter Russia; real estate people high pressuring a timid few into purchasing a plot of land located on the outskirts of Bombay; bankers wearily computing foreign exchange and forgetting how many yen or kronin make up a dollar and ten cents
Outside huge transports will continually be landing or taking off. There will be no control tower as planes will be brought in and dispatched on radar beams and by radio control. Privately owned aircraft will whiz in and out with cheery independence, for refueling of both the plane and the pilot. Aircraft checkups will be accomplished by shooting the plane down a giant ramp to the maintenance section, located conveniently beneath the terminal. The odd aged pilot or passenger will reminiscently peer at the surrounding countryside and shake his gray beard in the wind, (in spite of fifty years’ worth of improvements, nothing can be done about that wind), as he marvels at the amazing buildings and runways, remembering the days when dull green barracks and cinder paths and rocks were the order of the day. He may even incredulously gape at the Silver Bullet speeding through with its luxurious coaches and jet propelled engine, and then go back and tell his bored descendants for the tenth time, wild exaggerated tales of when the Newfie Bullet was known to puff in a day or even two days late.
In fifty years the airport certainly won’t be for the sole use of wealthy or famous people. Air travel will be inexpensive and safe, so that Grandfather Erk and his descendants can spend a three week holiday on the Riviera or wander down to Egypt and gaze at the Sphinx if they have a mind to do so, using either commercial airlines or their own private faithful airplane.
Let no one deny Gander has exciting possibilities. What’s to prevent its future development and a return visit of Grandfather Erk? The old boy would certainly enjoy it.Contributed by J. Pinsent