Article: The Royal Bubble

  • Princess Elizabeth  '51 176com
    November, 1951, Canadian Aviation
    by Ronald A. Keith

    Ingenuity and enterprise are familiar characteristics of the flying business and have been essential qualities from the beginning. One of the most recent and interesting examples concerns the royal tour and the Plexiglas bubble.

    When Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Toronto, the breeze was so cool that they had to take refuge in a closed limousine, much to the chagrin of would-be spectators who had lined the streets for hours in anticipation. Mindful of the still-chillier prospects further west, the Duke wondered aloud whether someone couldn’t devise a transparent canopy for the convertible. He even made a rough sketch.

    The automobile manufacturers consulted by tour officials talked in terms of months. Then someone remembered that de Havilland had experience with cockpit canopies. They got the assignment on a Saturday afternoon when a sample convertible was driven to the plant at Downsview.

    First thing the following Tuesday morning, the royal couple were astonished and delighted to see a clear-canopied convertible awaiting them in Winnipeg.

    The task of fashioning the structure and molding the Plexiglas to meet the Winnipeg deadline called for skill, hard work and co-operation. Principals were: W.D. Hunter, de Havilland director of engineering; Fred H. Buller, senior design engineer; Adam W. Davidson, manager of the engineering experimental shop; and William Hall, shop foreman, plus a crew of 12 fitters.

    The canopy was completed by Monday morning and flown to Winnipeg in the afternoon for installation the same evening and ready for the royal visitors the next morning.

    This article originally appeared in the November, 1951 edition of Canadian Aviation.

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