Air Travel and Airlines

Blaze, the Dog That Flew First Class

In the year 1945, a dog named Blaze, while being shipped on Army Transport planes, bumped off several traveling soldiers, causing a national controversy.

Read about it here.

A funnier account was composed by James Thurber, viewable after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Mon Mar 30, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Government, Scandals and Controversies, War, Air Travel and Airlines, Dogs, 1940s

Airplane Hat

Created by Gilbert Myers of Boise, Idaho. He was evidently worried that someone might steal his idea because, in 1929, he patented it. From the patent:

an important object of this invention is to provide a novelty hat in the form of a simulated air plane intended to be worn during festivals, parades, dances, expositions lawn parties and the like especially when aviation is the subject of the celebration...

Use of a number of novelty hats constructed as herein disclosed has demonstrated that the hat enjoys the favor of adults as well as children and may be applied to heads of various sizes in a highly convenient and expeditious manner and will remain firmly in place, all without exerting an objectionable pressure on the head.

The picture below shows the airplane hat being worn. (The accompanying article identified it as Myers's hat).

Minneapolis Star Tribune - Feb 2, 1930

These other photos, of actress Alice White, I'm not so sure about. It looks a lot like his hat. If it isn't, someone ignored his patent.

source: Flickr

Battle Creek Enquirer - Jan 14, 1930

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 23, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Air Travel and Airlines, Headgear, 1920s

Elm Farm Ollie Day

Feb. 18 is Elm Farm Ollie Day, commemorating the first flight in a plane by a cow. An article posted over at tells us that Elm Farm Ollie (aka Sunnymede Ollie, Nellie Jay, or Sky Queen) is remembered each year at the dairy festival in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin:

Celebrated as a pasteurized legend of the pasture, Ollie has for 60 years remained the star attraction at the Feb. 18 dairy festival held each year at Mount Horeb, Wisc. In addition to having her praises sung in such works as "The Bovine Cantata in B-Flat Major" (from Madame Butterfat) and the stirring "Owed to Ollie," she has been the subject of stories, cartoons and poems. E. D. Thalinger even painted her portrait for posterity.

A 1930 news-wire story provided details about the historic flight:

Will Milk Cow in Air
Claude M. Sterling, of Parks Air college, will pilot Sunnymede Ollie, Guernsey from Bismarck, Missouri, over the city in a tri-motored Ford.
The cow will be fed and milked and the milk parachuted down in paper containers. A quart of milk will be presented to Colonel Lindbergh when he arrives.
Weighing more than 1000 pounds, the cow will be flown to demonstrate the ability of aircraft. Scientific data will be collected on her behavior.
-The Evening Tribune (Albert Lea, Minn.) - Feb. 18, 1930.

More info at wikipedia and

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 18, 2020 - Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Farming, Air Travel and Airlines, 1930s

Joe Wardle’s Emergency Landing

This photo illustrates the more likely intersection of plane and car. But in 1952 a certain Joe Wardle got lucky.


Posted By: Paul - Mon Dec 09, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Accidents, Air Travel and Airlines, 1950s, Cars

Think of her as your mother

American Airlines ran this ad in magazines in 1968.

The ad became notorious enough to eventually attract the attention of academics. The following analysis comes from “‘Think of her as your mother’: Airline advertising and the stewardess in America, 1930-1980,” by Peter Lyth in The Journal of Transport History (Oct 2012):

while the headline... says ‘mother’ the illustration suggests something rather different. Traditionally American motherhood is, stereotypically speaking, wholesome and fairly innocent, yet the look on the model’s face is neither especially innocent nor entirely wholesome. Indeed, as Kathleen Barry has pointed out, her ‘atypical stare and casual posture conveyed smoldering sexuality rather than maternal concern’. ‘Mother’s world’ is about housework and children, it is not supposed to be erotic—indeed, the worlds are usually separate—yet the expression on the model’s face is alluring and flirtatious. The associations here are more complex than the headline and body copy would suggest, so that the word ‘mother’ in the headline both invokes and denies the associations of motherhood. This ‘inner contradiction’ between copy and illustration is a rhetorical device used constantly in advertising to play on the opposition between appearance and reality, to create in effect double meaning or paradox. The paradox... is that the illustration shows us an attractive female model, but the copy asks us to ‘Think of her as (our) mother’. These jarring ideas create the appeal of the advertisement; the inner contradiction makes us take notice. However, paradox also means that apparent difference conceals real similarity: she may be attractive and alluring, but she is also your mother.

It also inspired some copycats, such as this 1971 ad from Southwestern Bell:

However, not all American Airlines stewardesses appreciated the ad:

The Nashville Tennessean - Jun 29, 1968

Posted By: Alex - Thu Oct 03, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Advertising, Parents, Air Travel and Airlines, 1960s

Douglas Bader, the Legless Ace

The Wikipedia page.

Bader joined the RAF in 1928, and was commissioned in 1930. In December 1931, while attempting some aerobatics, he crashed and lost both his legs. Having been on the brink of death, he recovered, retook flight training, passed his check flights and then requested reactivation as a pilot. Although there were no regulations applicable to his situation, he was retired against his will on medical grounds.[3]

After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, however, Douglas Bader returned to the RAF and was accepted as a pilot. He scored his first victories over Dunkirk during the Battle of France in 1940. He then took part in the Battle of Britain and became a friend and supporter of Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory and his "Big Wing" experiments.

In August 1941, Bader baled out over German-occupied France and was captured. Soon afterward, he met and was befriended by Adolf Galland, a prominent German fighter ace.[4] Despite his disability, Bader made a number of escape attempts and was eventually sent to the prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle. He remained there until April 1945 when the camp was liberated by the First United States Army.

He even featured in a comic. (Use link for readable copy of image below.)

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 16, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Accidents, War, Air Travel and Airlines, 1940s, Differently Abled, Handicapped, Challenged, and Otherwise Atypical

Warhol Flies Braniff

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 21, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Avant Garde, Business, Advertising, Air Travel and Airlines, 1960s

The Whirlybirds

Once upon a time, helicopters were miraculous and sexy enough to fuel a TV show. What technology could do so today? THE SEGWAY SQUAD? ADVENTURES OF THE JUMP BIKE PATROL? CAPTAIN BIRD SCOOTER?

The Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 23, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Technology, Television, Air Travel and Airlines, 1950s

Shortest Commercial Flight

Odd Trivia: The shortest scheduled commercial flight in the world takes a mere 90 seconds. It's the Loganair flight between the Scottish islands of Westray and Papa Westray. From

In good conditions, Loganair’s 1.7-mile jaunt between the Scottish islands of Westray (population: 640) and Papa Westray (population: 72) in the Orkneys, off the north coast of the mainland, can take under a minute. Headwinds can make the flight a whopping two-and-a-half minutes. Retired police officer Graham Maben is one of the route’s regulars; the 70-year-old Orkney native now runs a tour business on the islands, and estimates he has taken the flight around 40 times over the past 15 years.

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 11, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: World Records, Air Travel and Airlines

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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