Boosted to unsustainably high levels levelsWorld War I, aeroplane production was drastically curtailed after the Armistice. Air forces were reduced to a minimum and orders were cancelled. Civil aircraft manufacturers found little demand for new products; many of the nascent airlines employed converted bombers, while private owners purchased surplus military trainers for a few pounds. However, matters gradually improved, and the 1920s and 30s blossomed into a “Golden Age” of aviation. In the wake of pioneering long-distance and survey
flights, the larger airlines began casting their networks across and between continents. Meanwhile, record-breaking speed, duration. altitude, and distance flights steadily advanced aviation technology. The large flying boat, with its aura of glamour and romantic adventunre, reached its zenith in the 1930s. Also during that decade. fabric-covered biplanes began making way for sleek, allmetal monoplanes with enclosed crew and passenger accommodation, retractable undercarriages, autopilots, and devices to improve slow-speed handling and safety.