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The Parker Flighters, as indestructable as a vintage pen gets.

Posted by Kevin Randle on

The Parker Flighter pens originated with the Parker 51 Flighter in 1949, largely due to Kenneth Parker's obsession with flying.  In addition to the very 'plane like' effect of the brushed steel barrel and cap the pen was also declared to be 'flight-safe', meaning it would not leak ink at altitude.

In the ensuing decades just about every Parker model produced included a flighter version in it's range.  Other companies followed suit with brushed steel pens but were legally not permitted to call them Flighters, and would have been certain to lose any law suit had they attempted to do so.

Some flighter examples. the 65:

The 65:

The 45:

the 25:


and, I suppose, the ultimate in 'plane like' pens, the 50 Falcon:

It is, perhaps, more than coincidence that the Concorde aircraft first came into service in 1975, less than three years before Parker launched the Falcon.

The Flighters are, first and foremost, extremely robust and hard wearing pens.  The metal casings appear to be largely 'ding immune', so much so that it is difficult to find, say, a Parker 45 Flighter that has any dings.  I choose a 45 as an example as it was not an expensive pen when new and would not have been cossetted throughout its life, but many emerged after fifty odd years totally unscathed.  The same can be said for the even less expensive Parker 25.

It could be argued, with some justification, that the prettiest Flighter, the 50 Falcon, doesn't quite fit into the robust category because of the nib.  It does look delicate but is tougher than the Gold nibs on other models, it's just that it's not a simple job to repair or replace it in the event that it does get damaged.

Nevertheless, the toughness of the Parker Flighter models makes them well suited to use as an every day writer.  The way pens are used has changed a great deal in the last few decades in response to changing lifestyles. 

The comparitive hectic pace of modern living means that there simply isn't time to lavish care on an every day pen so there are more opportunities for a pen to become damaged as it is stuffed into a pocket or bag, along with keys, phones coins, or other hazards. The idea of taking a pen to work in it's box, removing it, replacing it after use and generally 'keeping it safe' is just not workable, it is more likely to be carried 'caseless' and placed onto a car shelf or put in a glove compartment to rattle around with other items.

I'm not suggesting that a vintage pen should be treated in this way but, if the reality is that this would be the case then a Parker Flighter is a very good choice.







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