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I have a photograph of me and my sister in 1955 or 1956 boarding Air France to Paris. I seem to remember the route was:

  • New York - Gander
  • Gander - Shannon
  • Shannon - Orly

Is that correct? I know the return flight (westbound) was that route. Does anybody know how long it took?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Stackoverflow Aviation, could you please reformulate your question and explain what you would be looking for. I suppose there are several flights, even for 1955 1956, that would cover these destinations, so it would be useful to have some more details too regarding what you are seeking. $\endgroup$ – Pierre Chevallier Jul 17 '18 at 7:14
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    $\begingroup$ Hello Merrily. Welcome to Aviation Stackoverflow. I've edited your question in to make it a bit clearer for our readers. I hope I didn't misinterpret your intentions. Feel free to edit again. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Jul 17 '18 at 7:33
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    $\begingroup$ It would be helpful to know the type of aircraft used, which could be identified from the picture. I’m not asking you to upload your doubtlessly personal picture, but are there any details of the aircraft you could share? $\endgroup$ – Cpt Reynolds Jul 17 '18 at 10:47
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    $\begingroup$ @CptReynolds: According to this 1955 Air France timetable, they were using Lockheed Constellations & L-1049 Superconstellations for their New York–Paris service at the time. (Unfortunately, the timetable doesn't mention refueling stops as far as I can tell.) $\endgroup$ – Michael Seifert Jul 17 '18 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ This is a fantastic question. $\endgroup$ – Fattie Jul 17 '18 at 18:03
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The route was IdleWild (renamed JFK in 1963) or LaGuardia -> Gander, Canada -> Shannon, Ireland -> Paris. The trip took a total of about 18 hours going eastbound with tailwinds, and 24 hours going westbound with headwinds.

Gander was opened in 1938 and still is the preferred refuelling stop for aircraft that can't make the hop across the Atlantic in one go, simply because it is the easternmost point on the North American continent where such a facility could be built. For a while it was the largest airport in the world, and was used extensively by the military during WW2 as a stopover point for aircraft being ferried to Europe.

Air France used the route from the beginning of their transatlantic service in 1946 until the late 1950's, when the jet age made it possible to fly the route non-stop.

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Sometimes they used the southern route.
ORL to Azores to Gander to IDL.
Or ORL to Azores to Bermuda to IDL.

Sometimes instead of Gsnder they stopped at Goose Bay.

AND even with jets, they still had to stop for refueling on westbound flights. They often still do on certain aircraft flying the route.

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