Operation Pegasus - BBC Airborne TV Broadcasting
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Newsreel | Operation Pegasus

News report on the first live television filming from the air.

CHANNEL | BBC Television Service

FIRST BROADCAST | 29 September 1950

DURATION | 1 minutes 39 seconds




Television takes to the air in this short news report about the first BBC attempt to film Britain aerially, using a Bristol freighter plane, the Giant Brabazon. The test footage of St Paul's Cathedral in London gives us a glimpse of what was included in the programme, which was aired on 1 October. Read about how this disrupted the television schedules.

Did you know?

The technical difficulties on the test flights included effects of plane vibration on the camera, radio interference from taxis and lorries, and the transmission aerials breaking down or not having enough power. Most of these problems were resolved and the BBC film crew, RAF and Bristol Aeroplane Company felt that they learned a great deal about aerial filming from 'Operation Pegasus'.


Camera, Reporter







Television Goes Flying

The BBC makes its second attempt to broadcast live from the air.

CHANNEL | BBC Television Service

FIRST BROADCAST | 22 August 1955

DURATION | 15 minutes 14 seconds




The first of two experimental broadcasts from a Vickers Varsity in flight over Norfolk. Cameras from the cockpit and the bomb aimer's compartment, supplemented by cameras on the ground, capture the plane taking off and landing, as well as other aircraft, such as a Lincoln, Canberra and Meteor NF12, flying alongside.

Did you know?

The Vickers Varsity weighed 15 tonnes and carried half a ton of equipment on this flight. Power for the camera and sound equipment actually came from the aircraft itself. The Vickers Varsity was designed and produced to train pilots, flight engineers, radio operators, navigators and bomb aimers. The latter were seated in a very large ventral gondola, which contained bomb aiming equipment and a small quantity of training bombs. This is where one of the cameras was positioned.


Alan Chivers













View Full Version : BBC 1955 First Live airborne TV broadcast

2nd Jan 2010, 21:03
Saw this and thought of you lot. Enjoy.

BBC - Archive - Aerial Journeys - Television Goes Flying (http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/aerialjourneys/5347.shtml?all=1&id=5347)

3rd Jan 2010, 08:54
This is brilliant, wonder what the good Wg Cdr and Raymond Baxter would have thought if you told them that the Canberra they were discussing being replaced by the Javelin would actually stay in service until 2006. :ok:

Background Noise
3rd Jan 2010, 09:43
It's good - we liked it before too :8


3rd Jan 2010, 10:28
So when did groundcrew stop wearing hats? :=

3rd Jan 2010, 11:11
Mighty Gem

After quite a few were sucked in by the new fangled jet engines !


3rd Jan 2010, 13:22
If you dont mind a "civi" butting in on this forum, and perhaps move it to the historical section you might find that it wasnt the first time a television camera was put in a plane. I remember Richard Dimbleby ( senior) around the middle 50,s hosting a show from above Boulogne with a 3tube pedestal camera mounted in the rear door of a Bristol Freighter with all the gubbins in the nose. There are some ex BBC Techies out there who lurk who could supply all the details. It wasnt all that succesfull, a little bit like the first sattelite transmission through Goonhilly, but I do remember seeing the church on the hill above the town through a an electronic mist.
As a matter of interest around the mid sixties the founder of one of the pirate pop stations bought an aged Constellation based in Luxemburg and filled it with transmitting equipment and intended to fly a racetrack above Europe transmitting un licesed programmes to all and sundry It foundered for some reason and I have always wondered why, the americans did something similar around the same time and the technology certainly existed for it to work. Regards Alan

3rd Jan 2010, 15:40

Is this not what Peter Dimmock refers to about 30 seconds in?
I know you say mid '50s and he mentioned 5 years previous.

Also see a memo by P. Dimmock on the subject of costs;

BBC - Archive - Aerial Journeys - Operation Pegasus Memo (http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/aerialjourneys/dr5350_1.shtml?docall=1&doc=5350)

BBC - Archive - Aerial Journeys - From an Aeroplane over London (http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/aerialjourneys/dr5348_1.shtml?docall=1&doc=5348)

The note at the end of page 4 is quite interesting !


Pontius Navigator
3rd Jan 2010, 18:36
I remember an early 'airborne' broadcast where the reporter/cameraman was, IIRC, called Noble. He carried a huge backpack, it looked about 18x24x10, and he jumped from a Beverley on a mass parachute assault on Salisbury Plain. He was right there when the paras took out a pill box with a bazooka.

edited to add:

Bigal, thanks for that. I should have said that this was a live broadcast after a para jump. It says something for the ruggedness of the kit that it worked after the jump.

3rd Jan 2010, 21:17
He was Ronnie Noble and was very much a legond in the BBC as a News cameraman. He covered the D day landings, the pictures from the landing craft which is well recorded were his. He covered the Inchon landings in Korea, and ended up on Sportsview where I remember him well both at Lime Grove and Ken House, all parties long gone. Alan

3rd Jan 2010, 21:41
Thank you for posting the link.
I couldn't help but think that the hunters still looked like modern aircraft, while all the others shown looked very dated in shape and style. Although aircraft design has had several shapes and 'fashions', and the hunters shape was even pre 'area rule' (although not sure on that), they still look agile and business like.
I know many PPRuNer's are serial hunter fans, but does anyone else agree on this, or is it just me?

Sorry for thread drift.

3rd Jan 2010, 21:51
The earliest Outside Broadcast I remember was when I was a boy shortly after the war ended. Children's Hour (radio) broadcast a radio commentary from an RAF Stirling bomber flying over London.

I lived in North London at the time and followed the broadcast intently watching out for the Stirling as the commentator reported what part of London he was flying over. In due course it appeared flying over Broadcasting House and firing off Very Lights, very visible to me and my schoolfriends in my house as we listened to the broadcast.

I guess it took place in 1945/46.

3rd Jan 2010, 22:48
I loved it that the Hunters started on Avpin (nice flames at the rear) and then taxied over the grass without any remark. And that it was at Watton, not too far from my home.




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