Flight 714

Flight 714

Graphicnovelbox| englishtitle=Flight 714
foreigntitle=Vol 714 pour Sydney

caption=Cover of the old English edition, using its former title
series="The Adventures of Tintin (Les aventures de Tintin)"
transtitle=Flight 714
transseriestitle="The Adventures of Tintin"
translator=Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Michael Turner
previssue="The Castafiore Emerald", 1963
nextissue="Tintin and the Picaros", 1976

"Flight 714 to Sydney", published for a time under the title "Flight 714", first published in 1968, is the twenty-second of "The Adventures of Tintin", the penultimate volume of a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero. Its original French title is "Vol 714 pour Sydney" ("Flight 714 to Sydney").


Tintin, Captain Haddock and Calculus are on their way to Sydney for an international conference on space exploration. While their flight makes a refueling stop in Jakarta's Kemayoran Airport, they unexpectedly meet their old friend Piotr Skut (see "The Red Sea Sharks" for backstory), who is now the chief pilot for eccentric millionaire Laszlo Carreidas. A short time earlier, the Captain had erroneously taken the somewhat disheveled Carreidas for a tramp and surreptitiously slipped him a five-dollar bill, which later is taken by the oblivious Professor Calculus, making the millionaire laugh for the first time in years. When introduced to Carreidas, the Captain inadvertently shakes the hand of the millionaire's secretary, the tall, aloof Spalding.

Unable to politely refuse Carreidas's offer of a ride on his prototype private jet, Tintin and his friends join the millionaire on the way to Sydney. Carreidas plays Battleships with the Captain, defeating him repeatedly by cheating with a hidden closed-circuit television camera and monitor. Unbeknownst to Carreidas and the others, Spalding and two of the pilots, Boehm and Colombani, have been recruited to hijack the plane and bring it to a deserted volcanic island called 'Pulau-Pulau Bompa' in the Celebes Sea. Skut is not involved in this plot; therefore he becomes a prisoner too. After a rough landing, our friends are escorted out of the plane, and a terrified Snowy breaks out of Tintin's arms and runs off. Armed guards shoot at him, and a mortified Tintin takes him for dead.

A moment or two later, to Tintin's further shock, it is shown that the mastermind of the plot is none other than the evil Rastapopoulos, who declares on grounds that "it's a bore to stop being a millionaire" that it would be easier to simply take Carreidas' fortune. Accordingly, he has hatched an elaborate scheme to kidnap Carreidas and extract his Swiss bank account number. Captain Haddock's corrupt ex-shipmate, Allan, is working (as in earlier books) as Rastapopoulos's henchman.

The prisoners are therafter bound and held in Japanese World War II-era bunkers. A use of real Indonesian occurs here; two of Tintin's captors talk while on duty about a particular Indonesian cuisine originated from Java, "sambel bajak" (ground chilli sauce with shrimp paste).

Meanwhile, Rastapopoulos takes the defiant Carreidas to another World War II-era bunker and has him strapped to a chair, to be interrogated by one Dr. Krollspell. This corrupt scientist injects the millionaire with a fictional variety of truth serum, so as to enable Rastapopulos to learn Carreidas's Swiss bank account number. Unfortunately for Rastapopoulos, Carreidas becomes relentlessly eager to tell the truth about everything except the Swiss bank account. To Rastapopulos's fury, Carreidas launches into long disquisitions about his greedy, unscrupulous nature, boasting that he first stole a pear in 1910, at the age of four; shamed both his grandfather and his great-aunt to death; and has generally led a life of perfidy and corruption. In a towering rage Rastapopulos becomes enraged, lunges at Krollspell who is still holding the truth-drug syringe, and is accidentally injected with the serum, becoming intoxicated. He too recounts hideous deeds in a boasting manner, calling himself "the devil incarnate". This angers the still drugged Carreidas, who begins an argument wherein both of the two men boast, rage, and quarrel over which is the more evil. During this argument, which waxes in intensity, it is shown that nearly all of the men recruited by Rastapopoulos, including Spalding, the aircraft pilots, and Krollspell, are already marked to be killed by Rastapopoulos himself.

With the help of Snowy, who is not dead after all, Tintin and his friends manage to escape the bunker in which they are being imprisoned and find the bunker where Carreidas is held prisoner. Tintin captures Krollspell and Rastapopulos and escorts them to lower ground, intending to use them as hostages. However, the serum wears off and Rastapopulos escapes, despite Krollspell's warnings; the doctor is released afterwards and continues to accompany Tintin and Haddock, watching the still irritable Carreidas.

Rastapopoulos, freed from his bonds but furious at the protagonists, at his own men, and at himself, sends Allan and some Sondonesian revolutionaries misled into joining his operation to kill and capture the fugitives. Throughout the pursuit, Rastapopoulos is repeatedly struck over the head, stripped ragged when Allan mistakenly throws a grenade in his direction, and insulted when Allan glimpses a Proboscis monkey ("Nasalis larvatus"). Allan seizes this opportunity to comment on and laugh at the similarity between the monkey's and Rastapopoulos' large noses, wondering aloud, "Reminds me of someone. Now, who can it [be?] ...", until he realizes, to his horror, that it is his commander, who is behind him.

Led by a telepathic "voice" Tintin is hearing, the protagonists discover a hidden entrance to a statue-filled cave. Knowing that they are in danger, they decide to enter the cave and they discover a large hallway, leading to the inside of the volcano. They enter the volcano's core by triggering a hidden mechanism. Rastapopulos and his cohorts are not far behind, but they fail to find out how to open the secret passage. Instead, they use explosives to make their own entrance.

Penetrating deeper into the volcano, Tintin and his friends meet a strange man, Mik Kanrokitoff, a writer for magazine "Space Week", who wears a transmitter on his ear and speaks with a heavy Russian accent, who reveals to them that his is the guiding voice that they have followed, having received it into their minds via the transmitter, which is an extra-terrestrial device designed to utilize telepathy. This device was given to Kranokitoff by a technologically advanced, extraterrestrial race of humanoids, who were formerly worshipped on the island as Gods and who use it as a landing-point whereby to contact Earth's people. Here, Kranokitoff is implied to know the name of the extraterrestrial species, but conceals it from the protagonists and thereby from the reader.

Because the explosion set off by Rastapopoulos and his men has triggered a volcanic eruption, it becomes imperative that all the characters leave the island. Fleeing the lava flow, Carreidas pushes Haddock off the stairs, but fortunately Haddock grabs onto a stalagmite, narrowly escaping imminent death. Meanwhile, Rastapopoulos and his henchmen flee the eruption by running down the outside of the volcano and plan to take refuge in a rubber dinghy.

Once Tintin and his friends find their way out of the volcano, Kanrokitoff puts them all under his hypnosis. He uses his transmitter to summon a flying saucer piloted by the extraterrestrials, whereupon the hypnotised group climb up a retractable ladder and board the saucer, narrowly escaping the volcano's dramatic eruption. Kanrokitoff spots the rubber dinghy and exchanges Tintin and his companions for Allan, Spalding, Rastapopulos, and the treacherous pilots, who are whisked away in the saucer to an unknown destination. The group - including Krollspell, who is later deposited by the saucer at his institute in Cairo - awakes from hypnosis and cannot remember what happened to them. The party is eventually rescued, but no one has any recollection of the adventure. Professor Calculus has a souvenir - a crafted rod of alloyed cobalt, iron, and nickel, which he had found in the caves and forgotten in his pocket. Because the cobalt is of a state that does not occur on Earth, it is is therefore clearly extraterrestrial and is the only evidence of a close encounter with its makers; only Snowy, who cannot speak, remembers the hijacking and alien abduction.

The four lead characters resume their journey to Australia on a public airline.

Missing pages

Hergé made an error when drawing the story: it was meant, like all Tintin albums, to be 62 pages long, but when he finished, it was found to be 64 pages long. Hergé's solution was to remove two pages from the end of the story, which covered the rescue of Tintin's group from the erupting volcano.

The omission meant that the reader now sees a cliffhanger. At the bottom of one page a reporter on a seaplane watching the raft holding Tintin's group exclaims (in the English translation), "They'll be boiled alive like lobsters! We've got to do something". On the next page ("Thousands of miles away, several days later"), the story switches to Jolyon Wagg's living room as his family watches a TV interview of Tintin and associates.


*The story seems to have been influenced by the "ancient astronauts" literature popular at the time, in addition to the mythology of a hidden ancient city in the South Pacific.

*Laszlo Carreidas is based on aircraft manufacturer Marcel Dassault, [ [http://www.editorialjuventud.es/84-261-0811-3.html Juventud (Spanish publisher of Tintin)] es] although he clearly also displays some characteristics of another aviation legend, Howard Hughes (hypochondria, obsession with hygiene, hypercompetitiveness for example).

The Carreidas 160

Deserving of special mention, and almost a third of the panels of the comic is Lazlo Carreidas C-160 Supersonic Business Jet.

This is a remarkable piece of design by Roger Leloup, at the time an assistant of Hergé Studios and later creator of comic strip character Yoko Tsuno.

Though the design is not based on any real aircraft, it does have strikingly similar design features shared with a number of different contemporary aircraft.
*The jet's swing-wings appear to be directly modelled after those of the F-111.
*The undercarriage pods are similar to those of Andrei Tupolev's jet transports.
*The tri-jet formula, merely an idea then, was later implemented in private jet aircraft such as the Yakovlev Yak-40, and Dassault Falcon 50/500 series.
*The intake geometry is reminiscent of the Rockwell B-1 bomber, a prototype at the time.
*Afterburning jet engines, a feature shared with the Concorde
*A high set T-tail whose design is similar to the F-101 Voodoo, and the trans-sonic HP Victor Bomber.

Significantly, modern concepts of supersonic private jets also have triple-jet engines as their basis, such as the Sukhoi-Dassault SSBJ Project. Many aircraft designers who have reviewed the drawings of Carriedas 160 often remark on how very competent and finished the design is.

Complete design drawings of C-160 were published in the Hergé Magazine at the time of the serialisation of Flight 714, and digitised copies may be sourced from 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 posesses remarkably mature, docile flight characteristics.


*In the English translation, Dr. Krollspell is the former head of a psychiatric clinic in Cairo, but in the animated television series it is based in Delhi, as was the case in the original French version. Tintin has an unpleasant time in such a clinic in India in "Cigars of the Pharaoh".


External links

* [http://www.tintinologist.org/guides/books/22f714.html Flight 714] at Tintinologist.org------

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