This article was published in the magazine Heritage, May 2009 heritage

Seventy years after it first soared into British skies the Spitfire plane is more than a weapon, it's a national icon, a cultural phenomenon and a focus of post-war pride, writes Ivan Rendall

The Spitfire was born in controversy. In the early 1930s there was a debate between air power theorists, who believed as the politician Stanley Baldwin despairingly put it, that "the bomber would always get through" and those, most notably Air Vice Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding, who believed there was a defence against air attack. Dowding also faced opposition from air power enthusiasts within the RAF for whom open-cockpit, biplane fighters were the way ahead. One such fighter, the Hawker Fury; had just been introduced, but it was only marginally faster than the bombers it had to attack and could only be deployed in small numbers because Britain was broke.



This article was published in the Flight International magazine, 30 May 1978 flight int

On February 7 David Cyster took off from Dunsfold, Surrey, in his Tiger Moth on a 10,000 n.m. flight to Sydney, 50 years to the day after Bert Hinkler's departure on the first solo flight to Australia. The story of how Flt Lt Cyster relived this pioneering flight in an old open­ cockpit biplane is told by IVAN RENDALL, who looked after the many arrangements needed.

DAVID CYSTER set out to operate as far as possible under the same conditions as Hinkler - a brave exercise, inviting inevitable and critical comparisons between today's pilots and the pioneers of the 1920s. It may seem significant, therefore, that he suffered from the same three main problems that plagued Hinkler: unpredictable weather (despite modern forecasting methods), fatigue and fuel leaks. But there was an obstacle in 1978 which Hinkler was blessedly spared: the bureaucracy which surrounds international flying, especially in light aircraft.


This article was published in ARENA, July 2000 arena

High octane. High stakes. High paying. Or just plain high. . . Inside the fast , dangerous and fun world of the Formula 1 playboy

Text Ivan Rendall

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was once quoted as saying that 'the world revolves around sex and money, in that order. Except in America, where it is money and sex'. And he should know.

The 69-year-old Mr Ecclestone, who is married to a stunning former model (not a rarity in his industry), presides over the business of Formula1 as a personal fiefdom based on revenues from global television and sponsorship of over £2 billion a year. One of the richest men in the world, he is at the head of a coterie of team bosses and drivers who share in this bonanza, most of them millionaires several times over.


This article was published in The Business, 22.04.00
the business

Just how many mechanics does it take to change a tyre?

Tomorrow's British Grand Prix at Silverstone will be the first of the season in which artificial driver aids, such as traction control and pit lane speed limiting, are banned. This is part of a concerted campaign by the sport's ruling body to make sure that, for all the technological advances, the essential man-versus-machine dynamic is maintained.

This approach seems to work. The sport has a global audience of 5bn people, among them the devoted Ferrari fans, known as the Tilosi, who will be cheering on race favorite Michael Schuhmacher. This session is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the world championship, and the sport is more popular with public and sponsors every year.


This article was published in the Radio Times, 12-18 November 1983 radio times

The Spirit of Kitty Hawk - Friday 4.10 Radio 4UK

The irresistible rise of the aeroplane this century has been made possible by the daring exploits and bold explorations of the men and women celebrated in The Spirit of Kitty Hawk. Ivan Rendall, the deviser and presenter of this six-part series, gets it off to a flying start

Reaching for the Sky

THIS YEAR marks a milestone in the history of aviation: it is 200 years since the Montgolfier brothers flew their hot­ air balloon over Paris and just 80 since the Wright brothers' flights at Kitty Hawk heralded the age of powered flight.