Tiger Wings

In 1948, when the world was recovering from the aftermath of the Second World War and the

old empires were disintegrating, JOAN ALLEN flew solo in a 2 -seater small aircraft,

without a radio and with dodgy oil pressure, all the way from England to Singapore.

This was the trip of a lifetime, back to her old haunts in order to make a new future for herself.

 
JOAN'S STORY IS TOLD IN RADIO DRAMA SERIAL 'TIGER WINGS' IN
 
5 EPISODES OVER A WEEK IN WOMEN'S HOUR ON BBC RADIO 4, JUNE 2012

 

 

 

 

EXTRACT FROM EPISODE 1 - GIRL MEETS PLANE

 

THE TELEPHONE RINGS.

JOAN PICKS UP THE RECEIVER.

 

Joan: Uptons.

Becky: (ON PHONE) Please may I speak to Joan?

Joan: Speaking.

Becky: Hello Joan, it’s Becky Sharpe.

Joan: Becky, how are you?

Becky: Very well, thanks. How about you?

Joan: As ever. What’s up?

Becky: Actually, I have a proposition for you that I hope you will like.

Joan: Fire away.

Becky: A client of ours has recently bought himself a Fairchild Angus. Do you know it?

Joan: Training craft, isn’t it? Sporty little thing.

Becky: This one is a two seater, and has made the trans Atlantic crossing a couple of times,

previously registered in the US. Was used by the ATA during the war as it happens.

Joan: So she’s one of us.

Becky: She certainly is.

Joan: And what does your client want to do with this new toy of his?

Becky: He’s registered her to the Kuala Lumpur Flying Club,wants her dropped off in Singapore…

Joan: I know it well….

Becky: Which why I thought of you….

Joan: Go on.

Becky: It would cost a great deal more to dismantle this thing and send it in pieces than it

would to pay the expenses for a single pilot to fly her over there.

Joan: Are you offering a free flying trip to Malaysia?

Becky: Just you. Very basic equipment. Not even a radio. Quite a trek. Not without its risks…

Joan: A solo flight half way around the world?

Becky: That’s more or less the shape of it.

Joan: When?

Becky: As long as it takes to make introductions, check everyone’s happy and sort out the

paperwork. Early to mid spring. Say April?

Joan: You have your woman.

Becky: I knew it.

Joan: You do realize that Singapore is where I learned to fly in the first place…My 21st birthday present…

Becky: I have a hunch it won’t quite be the same now as it was in the 30s…

Joan: So it’s time I saw for myself what kind of state the place has been left in.

 

 

EXTRACT FROM EPISODE 4 – ORANGES AND PEARLS

 

MUSIC FROM “THE WAY TO THE STARS” BY NICHOLAS BRODSKY.

SOUNDS OF PLANE FLYING HAPPILY.

 

JOAN: “Small April sobbed, I’m going to cry

Please give me a cloud to wipe my eye

Then April Fool, she laughed instead

And smiled a rainbow overhead.”

 

 

Say Peg, what a glorious All Fools Day over Palestine this is. Let’s take full advantage

and scoot right across. I utterly refuse to go back to Cairo again. And that is no joke.

 

MUSIC STOPS.

 

JOAN: Oh I see. Was this your idea? Don’t play the innocent. I warned you to bear with it -

desert and mountains and a momentary flash of the river Jordan. Why have you found a town…

no, a city…no, the very one we’re not meant to fly over. Yes I know I said I was sorry to miss

Jerusalem.. Yes the dome really is rather golden…But pray no one sees us! Very funny.

 

MUSIC CONTINUES.

 

SOUNDS OF PLANE BEGINNING TO STRUGGLE.

 

 

JOAN: Peg? How are we doing? Hold your course through the cumulus. Let’s stick at 4 to 5000 feet.

Trust me. If we keep smart, we’ll spot a space to squeeze through these mountains. We can.

We must. We are we are we are….EEeek..Just about…Keep going…

 

 

MUSIC SWELLS.

 

PLANE IN FLIGHT GETS BUMPIER AND BUMPIER.

 

 

JOAN: Grim grim grim. No I don’t like the trans-Jordan desert either, my dear. But I’m being calm

and so can you pretend at least, please….

 

 

MUSIC BUMPS THEN CALMS.

PLANE CALMS. FLIGHT SMOOTHS.