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In 1946 Jack Ruskin, demobbed after World War II but with flying still in his blood, struggled to find work with civilian airlines and so chanced his arm by founding his own. His partner in the new Ruskin Air Services was ex-forces colleague Peter Witney.
Operating with an old Dakota aircraft that Ruskin had bought, they aimed to cut themselves a slice of the world cargo market. However, the business had difficulty getting off the ground, in more ways than one.
Ensnared by shady business deals and hampered by bad weather, Ruskin Air Services offered its staff and management an uncomfortable ride, as Jack lurched from one financial crisis to another. But his entrepreneurial spirit was not to be denied.
He raised his sights, took on passenger transport and later became involved in the Berlin Airlift.
Ernie Cade was the company’s dodgy backer, McEvoy was the company engineer and Jennie Shaw was Jack’s girlfriend. Tony Hatch provided the music.
Roy Marsden, Polly Hemingway (Marsden’s then real-life wife) and the whole Airline ethos was borrowed for a British Airports Authority commercial several years later, a move which brought an unsuccessful lawsuit from the show’s creator, Wilfred Greatorex.