presented on the





Published on the

Spectrum Headquarters


with the gracious

permission of

Mike Adamson

Original series Suitable for all readers



By Mike Adamson

In the editorial of Red Alert! #1 I raised the question of whereabouts Glenn Field is located. By implication it is in the United States, everyone certainly spoke with American accents, and the weather was sufficiently warm and sunny to suggest a southerly locale, while the run of the story indicated it was near the sea, but no more specific information was supplied in the movie.

Following the launch of the first issue, I was contacted by England's Nigel Preece (who bought the very first copy!), with some fascinating information about real-life "Glenn Fields." Nigel said: "I noticed in the editorial for the book that you were debating where to place Glenfield. Well, get this, my Father... was stationed in a small village in Leicestershire during the 2nd world war which doubled as a storage area for army vehicles. It was, and still is today, called Glen Field.

"It will make for a superb launch site in about 2028 for the Zero-X, and may even make a good site for the HQ of the S.S.E.C., as well as be close enough for Penny to get there in time to go to the press conference and attend the launch. The north sea is not too far away, so there will be a suitable jetty for FAB1 to shoot off and into the sea to shoot down the Hood's copter!

"However, if you prefer, I have it on good authority that there is a Glenfield in North Dakota, not to mention one in your own part of the world, just a few miles south west of Bankstown, New South Wales, or the Glenfield just north of Auckland in NZ. If anything the NZ one is the best because of the proximity of the water."

I had no idea! I checked some maps (thanks for the files, Nigel!) and indeed located the Australian and New Zealand Glenfields.

The latter is a suburb of North Shore City, Auckland, and there is a small airfield just west of the city, on another peninsula. But going by the scale of the map and the kind of runway Zero-X would require, "Glenn Field" would stretch from somewhere in Waitemata Harbour right across the peninsula into Rangitoto Channel...! The Australian Glen- field lies 14km south-west of Bankstown, a suburb of Sydney, and is just outside the city in hill country. The Zero-X runway would stretch halfway from Sydney Airport to Bankstown Aerodrome!

The North Dakota location is out because of proximity to the sea and the apparently lush environment of the film (green trees by the roads, green hills and countryside backing the spaceport). England? It's tempting, but all those America accents give the game away. Besides, the UK couldn't muster the funding or interest to put up a capsule, never mind the kind of investment even an international part-share in Zero-X would cost...

 Alan Fennell named a location in the Zero-X comic strip, and not surprisingly he placed it in Florida, as the natural descendant of the modern day space program. The sunshine and lushness match up, the accents are appropriate, and though there are no ranges of hills such as we see backing the launch on the "rolling sky," nor coastal hills and cliffs such as the chase with The Hood was staged against, it's a fair bet.

Looking for flare, Jack Heston placed Glenn Field in Texas, another traditional home of the US space program, which similarly matched the warm weather, proximity to the sea, and generally interesting terrain. Spaceports are usually close to the sea so ships can launch over essentially unpopulated parts of the world, a safety measure. Most spaceports are on the east coast of continents, and ships launch to the east so as to take advantage of the inherent rotational kick of the turning planet. The closer the equator, the bigger the available free acceleration.

On the naming of the spaceport, Gerry was probably naming it in tribute to John Glenn, the first American in space, but there is an extra tribute that could be involved, if we wanted to see it this way; Glenn Curtis was the founder of one of America's oldest aviation companies, around 1910, and products from the firm he created are still around today, long after the absorption of the company in the great cycles of corporate take-over that have so remodelled the face of aerospace. Who knows, "New World Aircraft" could be a descendant of all the present-day combines. And in the fictionalised closing credits of Thunderbirds Are Go!, "Jim Glenn, President of New World Aircraft and designer of Zero-X" is cited, so there's another angle!