Flight 714

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Flight 714
(Vol 714 pour Sydney)
Tintin, Snowy, Haddock, and others emerge from a cave into an underground cavern, adorned by statues of ancient astronauts.
Cover of the English edition
Date 1968
Series The Adventures of Tintin
Publisher Casterman
Creative team
Creator Hergé
Original publication
Published in Tintin magazine
Issues 836 – 997
Date of publication 1 September 1966 – 1 January 1968
Language French
Translation
Publisher Methuen
Date 1968
Translator
  • Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper
  • Michael Turner
Chronology
Preceded by The Castafiore Emerald (1963)
Followed by Tintin and the Picaros (1976)

Flight 714 (French: Vol 714 Pour Sydney) is the twenty-second volume of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. The title refers to a flight that Tintin and his friends fail to catch, as they become embroiled in a plot to kidnap an eccentric millionaire from a supersonic business jet on an Indonesian island. This album, first published in 1968, is unusual in the Tintin series for its science fiction and paranormal influences. The central mystery is essentially left unresolved.

Synopsis[edit]

On a refueling stop in Jakarta, Tintin, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus are on their way to Sydney when they meet aircraft industrialist and eccentric millionaire Laszlo Carreidas. Unable to politely refuse Carreidas's offer of a lift, Tintin and his friends join the millionaire on his prototype private jet, the Carreidas 160. Unbeknownst to Carreidas and the others, his secretary Spalding and two of the pilots are in a plot to hijack the plane and bring it to a deserted volcanic island in the Lesser Sunda Islands. The aircraft makes a rough landing on a make shift runway made of interlocking metal strips and a nylon barrier at the end. While disembarking from the plane, a terrified Snowy bolts from Tintin's arms and runs off. Guards shoot at him, and a horrified Tintin believes that he is killed.

The mastermind of the plot then reveals himself as the evil Rastapopoulos, intent on taking Carreidas' fortune. Captain Haddock's corrupt ex-shipmate, Allan, is present as Rastapopoulos's henchman. The Sondonesians have been hired as mercenaries. In return, Rastapopoulos promised to help them gain their independence.

The prisoners are bound and held in Japanese World War II-era bunkers. Rastapopoulos takes Carreidas to another bunker where his accomplice, Dr. Krollspell, injects the millionaire with a truth serum to enable Rastapopoulos to learn Carreidas's Swiss bank account number. Unfortunately for Rastapopoulos, Carreidas becomes all too eager to tell the truth about his life of greed, perfidy, and corruption—everything except the Swiss bank account. Furious, Rastapopoulos lunges at Krollspell, who is still holding the truth serum syringe, and is accidentally injected. He too recounts hideous deeds in a boasting manner, as he and Carreidas begin to quarrel over who is the more evil. Rastapopoulos reveals that nearly all of the men he recruited, including Spalding, the aircraft pilots, the Sondonesians, and (the increasingly unnerved) Krollspell, are all marked to be eliminated after Rastapopoulos gets Carreidas's account number.

Snowy, alive after all, helps Tintin and his friends escape by distracting the two guards, enabling Tintin to knock them out, and find the bunker where Carreidas is held prisoner. Tintin and Captain Haddock bind and gag Krollspell, Rastapopoulos, and even the irascible Carreidas, and escort them to lower ground, intending to use Rastapopoulos as a hostage. However, the serum wears off and Rastapopoulos escapes as Allan detects the escaping prisoners. Krollspell, in fear of Rastapopoulos, throws in his lot with Tintin and Haddock; he is subsequently released and continues to accompany Tintin and Haddock, watching the still irritable Carreidas.

Tintin, led by a telepathic voice, guides the protagonists to discover a hidden entrance to a cave. Through a large hallway they discover a temple hidden inside the island's volcano, guarded by an ancient statue that has all the appearances of a modern astronaut. Penetrating deeper into the volcano, Tintin and his friends meet Mik Kanrokitoff, a writer for the magazine Space Week, who reveals to them that his is the guiding voice that they have followed, having received it into their minds via a telepathic transmitter. Kanrokitoff obtained the device from an extraterrestrial race, who were formerly worshipped on the island as gods and who use it as a landing-point to contact Earth's people.

An earthquake and explosion set off by Rastapopoulos and his men triggers a volcanic eruption. Despite Carreidas's irascible behaviour, Tintin and his party finally reach relative safety inside the volcano's crater bowl. Meanwhile, Rastapopoulos and his henchmen flee the eruption by running down the outside of the volcano and launch a rubber dinghy from Carreidas' plane.

Once Tintin and his friends find their way out of the volcano, Kanrokitoff puts them all under hypnosis and summons a flying saucer piloted by the extraterrestrials. The hypnotised group boards the saucer, narrowly escaping the volcano's dramatic eruption. Kanrokitoff spots the rubber dinghy and exchanges Tintin and his companions (except Krollspell, who is taken back to his base in Cairo with hypnotic-induced amnesia) for Allan, Spalding, Rastapopoulos, and the treacherous pilots, who are whisked away in the saucer to an unknown fate. The group awakens from hypnosis and cannot remember what happened to them. Professor Calculus has a souvenir, though—a crafted rod of alloyed cobalt, iron, and nickel, which he had found in the caves. The cobalt is of a state that does not occur on Earth, and is the only evidence of a close encounter with its makers. Only Snowy, who cannot speak, remembers the hijacking and alien abduction.

The story ends with Tintin, Carreidas, and companions finally catching flight 714 to Sydney.

Carreidas 160[edit]

A significant piece of fictional technology that occupies nearly a third of the album, the Carreidas 160 is a prototype supersonic business jet.[1] The aircraft was designed by Roger Leloup, at the time an assistant at Studios Hergé. Leloup had previously produced detailed sketches of aircraft in a previous Tintin album, The Black Island.

The Carreidas 160 is a synthesis of late 1960s/early 1970s aircraft design technology, borrowing features from a large number of different contemporary aircraft, both military and civil. At the time of the book's writing, the Concorde was taking shape, and so a supersonic business jet, while fanciful, could not be viewed as implausible. The resulting design is mature, elegant, and not outrageous in any significant way. The following are noteworthy design features of the Carreidas 160, and where appropriate, source aircraft for a feature is identified:

  • Supersonic: It is stated to be able to achieve speeds faster than the speed of sound, with a maximum speed of Mach 2.
  • Variable geometry: The Carreidas 160 has swing-wing capabilities. The clean, swinging wings most closely resemble those of the Dassault Mirage G supersonic fighter prototype, in that they are not coupled to a pressure-point control system (e.g. canards, vanes nor glove root spoilers) seen on contemporary American military aircraft.
  • Undercarriage: The Carreidas 160 sports an unusual undercarriage, almost identical to the undercarriage of the real-life SAAB 37 Viggen family of combat aircraft, with tandem two-wheel main bogies, and a twin-wheeled nose bogie. It is seen in some detail during the landing sequence in the middle of the book.
  • Engines: In keeping with the contemporary theme, the Carreidas 160 has three afterburning turbojet engines. Intakes for the engines have sharp, squared off lips for breaking down shock waves during supersonic flight. The third engine is fed by two half-width intakes mounted inboard of the outer engine splitters, where the fuselage acts as the supersonic shockwave breakdown surface.
  • T-tail: The sharply swept T-tail of the Carreidas 160 is a design feature which found much favour with designers in the 1960s, as it allowed a smaller, more highly flying surface at the rear of the aircraft, which then was only interacting with "clean air", in comparison with more conventional tail planes which are often interacting with air that has been disturbed by the preceding main wing. In addition, a T-tail configuration allows designers to mount the propulsive engines behind the passenger cabin on the fuselage, permitting a much quieter cabin. Contemporary airliner designs, such as the Boeing 727, Douglas DC-9, Yakovlev Yak-40, BAC 1-11, and Vickers VC-10, as well as most business jets, such as the Learjet, Sabreliner, and Falcon series, all possess this configuration. The Carreidas 160 fits within latter class of aircraft very well, thanks to this design feature.
  • Cabin: Passengers of the Carreidas 160 are able to stand when inside the cabin, a feature very few private jets provided. The Carreidas 160 was therefore designed to be a competitor with the best in the sky at the time.
  • Galley: The Carreidas 160 also has a galley at the rear of the cabin. At the time, this was the height of luxury, making the Carreidas 160 a direct competitor with the most expensive and luxurious private jets of the period: The North American/Rockwell Sabreliner, and the Lockheed Jetstar.
  • Air conditioning: Contemporary business jets do have air conditioning, though theirs were never as good as that of the Carreidas 160, whose system resembles that of the Boeing 707, even down to the inclusion of integrated lighting clusters.
  • Boarding stair: The Carreidas 160 has a boarding staircase built into the passenger door. This most closely resembles the system of the Gates Learjet.

Complete design drawings of the Carreidas 160 were published in Tintin magazine at the time of the serialisation of Flight 714, and digitised copies may be found on the Internet. The design's practicality has been demonstrated in the form of fan-built free-flight and radio-control electric ducted-fan models, all of which demonstrate that it possesses remarkably mature, docile flight characteristics.

Some Tintin fan sites note on their artist's mistakes section that the plane does not appear to have any immediately visible air intake for its third jet engine, though consultation of the blueprints and cartoon panels reveals that there are two half-width intakes inboard of the outer jet engine intakes, which feed into the third engine by a convergent duct. The ducts do not require a splitter plate, as the fuselage acts as a laminar-flow surface for air entering the intake pair.

The Carreidas 160 is an expansion aircraft in the very accurate X-Plane flight simulator.[2] And there is a very good version of the Carreidas 160 made for the freeware and open source flight simulator FlightGear.

Trivia[edit]

  • Writer Hugo Frey argues that Rastapopoulos' appearance was an example of post-war anti-Semitism on Hergé's part,[4] though other writers argue against this, pointing out that Rastapopoulos is not Jewish and surrounds himself with explicitly German-looking characters: Kurt, the submarine commander of The Red Sea Sharks; Dr. Krollspell, whom Hergé himself referred to as a former concentration camp official; and Hans Boehm, the sinister-looking navigator and co-pilot, both from Flight 714.[5]
  • The statues on the island have eyes similar to the Japanese Dogū figurines.
  • A use of the real Indonesian language occurs here: while on duty, two of the guards that keep watch on Rastapopoulos' bunker talk about a particular Indonesian dish that originated in Java, sambal rujak (ground chilli sauce with shrimp paste).
  • This Tintin story takes place over the shortest time-span of all The Adventures of Tintin. All except the last three pages occur within 24 hours.
  • The Komodo dragon, a reptile endemic to Komodo Island of Indonesia, makes an appearance when Tintin is traversing the jungle. Another Indonesian animal that appears is the Proboscis monkey (bekantan) or Dutch monkey, which is endemic to the island of Kalimantan. Its characteristic bulbous nose is compared to that of Rastapopoulos.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Vol 714 pour Sydney". Hergé - Moulinsart SA. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  2. ^ "x plane freeware". xplanefreeware. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  3. ^ Mohsin Hamid, "The Reluctant Fundamentalist". Orlando: Harcourt, 2007 at p.52
  4. ^ Hugo Frey, "Trapped in the Past: Anti-Semitism in Hergé's Flight 714" in Mark McKinney, ed., History and Politics in French-Language Comics and Graphic Novels at p.31
  5. ^ The Metamorphoses of Tintin: or Tintin for Adults by Jean-Marie Apostolidès, Jocelyn Hoy, published in 2009 by Stanford University Press
  6. ^ Yeung, Kenneth, "Tintin in Indonesia", Jakarta Expat, 28 January 2013
  7. ^ Walker, Marc (2014-03-17). "Malaysian plane mystery copies comic story of hijacked jet which landed on remote island". Daily Star. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  8. ^ "Missing Malaysian jet MH370 has all the elements of a Tintin adventure". IBNLive. 2014-03-19. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 

External links[edit]