No Highway in the Sky

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An aeronautical engineer predicts that a new model of plane will fail catastrophically and in a novel manner after a specific number flying hours.

ACTORS :   James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Glynis Johns

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1951

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No Highway in the Sky   Theodore Honey is an aeronautical engineer being sent to Labrador from London to examine the wreckage of a new passenger plane designed by his company. His theory is that the planes are susceptible to metal fatigue after a specific amount of time in the air. The absent minded Honey boards the Reindeer class plane and only realizes that this plane is due to fail in the next few hours after the plane is airborne. He decides to warn the crew and creates an incident regardless of whether he is right or wrong.

Inspiring, entertaining, and prophetic gem of a film

I first saw “No Highway in the Sky” when I was 11 years old. What has always impressed me about the film is the fact that it shows how the courage of the little known people of the world can accomplish a greater good. Theodore Honey (Jimmy Stewart’s character) is a written-off by his peers, superiors and the outside world as a strange sad little man. He is a widower, and a single parent. All he has is his daughter and his work to keep him going.

But he is also single minded in his pursuit of his knowledge and his craft. He gathers his data, forms his postulate and relentlessly pursues his goal regardless of the establishments thinking on the matter. When he realizes that he or people that he has met and starts to care for may be injured or killed if does not act on his theory, he has the moral fortitude to act to save their lives and prevent tragedy. Unorthodox, yes. Odds against him? Yes. Do you admire him? YES!!! Dr. Honey versus British Government and British Airways is prophetic. (e.g. The British Comet disasters of the early 50’s happened after this film was made) (Also think about the engineers at Thiokol battling NASA over the Challenger launch) James Stewart, a pilot himself, shows us that this courage of facts versus opinion and profit is the courage that should be encouraged and rewarded.

35+ years later, I am an engineer and I owe a great deal of it to this film.

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