Peter Morwood

I’m researching background stuff for a novel set in the early 1940s but one world over, so I can play with historical events. Since everybody seems to love Zeppelins in that sort of environment (to the point of overuse, sometimes) I decided to go for the other dieselpunk means of air travel, the big transatlantic flying-boat.

The really big transatlantic flying-boat.

I’d made up a bunch of stuff before I found this website and this plane, just what I was looking for. Meet the Blohm & Voss P.200. When I saw the colour art and the schematic I thought that the wraparound upper glazing was the cockpit and the lower one some sort of passenger’s observation port, like the old observation carriages on trains or the good seats just behind the driver of a German ICE-train Mark III.

Nope, wrong way round. The lower one is the cockpit (and it’s big enough for pilot and co-pilot, which starts to give some idea of scale) while the upper one is the window for the, get this, passenger lounge, bar and dance-floor(!) This was on the top deck of three; next down had a 65-seat dining room (no folding tray-tables here) and both a smoking-room and a cinema, besides some sleeping berths; the rest of the berths were on the lowest deck.

The BV P.200 never got further than some models (the little plane on top of this one is there for size comparison, not a piggy-back rider) and paper plans, and may not have come up to scratch if ever built, but since it’s going back on paper that doesn’t matter. If Sky Captain’s P-40 can dive into the sea and become a submarine without coming apart , then Lisbon to New York via the Azores on this big bird is just as likely!

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