Category:
Air Travel and Airlines

Captain Yancey and His Fabulous Autogyro



Source of clipping: Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa) 03 Jul 1931, Fri Page 1



Good article here.

The Pitcairn PCA-2 autogyro was developed in 1931 and proved to be a reliable, unique aircraft. The rotor at its top was unpowered and it flew more like a fixed wing aircraft than a helicopter, based on the power from its radial engine on the nose. Once at speed, the rotor spun based on aerodynamic forces alone thus generating lift. It was an amazing sight and attracted crowds wherever it flew. By April of 1931, the autogyro had flown across the United States at the hands of John M. Miller, had landed on the White House lawn (by test pilot Jim Ray), and had soared to a new altitude record of 18,415 feet (this being Amelia Earhart’s record).

Seizing upon the press interest in the design, the Champion Spark Plug company purchased one and painted the sides with their logo and named it “Miss Champion”. It was the perfect flying billboard. After hiring Captain Lewis “Lew” Yancey, a former Naval Lieutenant and USCG officer who was a maritime captain, they directed that he fly the nation on an advertising tour. By the end of 1931, Captain Yancey had flown the autogyro 6,500 miles, transiting 21 states and touching down in 38 cities around the nation. Yet the Champion Spark Plugs company still wanted more attention — and thus they asked him to beat Amelia Earhart’s altitude record as well.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 05, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Inventions, Publicity Stunts, World Records, Advertising, Air Travel and Airlines, 1930s

The Reid Flying Submarine



More pix and article here.

It wasn't a high-tech machine, despite its abilities. In the air it was powered by a 65 horsepower four-cylinder Lycoming engine. While underwater a 1-horsepower electric motor provided propulsion. Conversion from aircraft to submarine was a clumsy affair. The pilot first had to remove the propeller, and then cover the engine pylon with a rubber diving bell to keep the engine dry. The pilot used an aqualung to breathe. Maximum depth was roughly 10 to 12 ft (3.5 metres).


From THE SATURDAY EVENING POST for January 1, 1966.



Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 21, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Death, Disasters, Inventions, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Air Travel and Airlines, 1960s

Presenting the Losers

A 1967 ad campaign for Eastern Airlines.

Of course, I'm pretty sure all the women in the ad were actually models/actresses. So in their true profession they were winners of a spot in the campaign. Most notably, that's Ali MacGraw sitting in the front row.

Time - Sep 29, 1967



Some analysis by Kathleen Barry in Femininity in Flight: A History of Flight Attendants

Since the 1930s stewardesses had been ubiquitous in airline advertising. But by the 1960s they carried even more figurative weight as the embodiments of airlines' mass-marketed personalities. Gone were generic references to friendly staff alongside offers of specific services and amenities; in came promises of a hand-picked servant for every passenger. An advertisement for Eastern from 1967, for instance, titled "Presenting the Losers," pictured a group of nineteen applicants whom the carrier had rejected for stewardess positions. The attractive, slender, and well-groomed "losers" were distinguishable from "winners" only by their frowns and lack of airline univorms. The text explained that they "were probably good enough to get a job practically anywhere they want," but that because of its high standards of appearance, intelligence, and personality, Eastern turned down nineteen desirable candidates for every exemplary one hired. With mock defensiveness, the ad read, "Sure, we want her to be pretty... don't you? That's why we look at her face, her make-up, her complexion, her figure, her weight, her legs, her grooming, her nails and her hair." In addition, Eastern boasted, it screened each applicant for "her personality, her maturity, her intelligence, her intentions, her enthusiasm, her resiliency and her stamina." With such an exhaustive list of qualifications, readers may have marveled (or doubted) that women so wondrous existed, let alone would serve them on Eastern.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 26, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Advertising, Air Travel and Airlines, 1960s

Balloonfest ‘86

From Wikipedia:

Balloonfest '86 was a 1986 event in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, in which the local chapter of United Way set a world record by releasing almost one-and-a-half million balloons.[2] The event was intended to be a harmless fundraising publicity stunt, but the balloons drifted back over the city, Lake Erie, and landed in the surrounding area, causing problems for traffic and a nearby airport. The event also interfered with a United States Coast Guard search for two boaters who were later found drowned.[1] In consequence, the organizers and the city faced lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages,[1] and cost overruns put the event at a net loss.







Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 18, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Charities and Philanthropy, Disasters, Noises and Other Public Disturbances of the Peace, Urban Life, Air Travel and Airlines, 1980s

The Boeing Sky Commuter

Another car-plane hybrid that never made it into production.

Article here.



Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 02, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Technology, Air Travel and Airlines, 1990s, Cars

The Airphibian

Flying cars just had a recent moment in THE NEW YORK TIMES. But there have been many predecessors.

We are continuing our streak from yesterday's Amphicar: bi-modal transport!



The Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 14, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, Kludges, Hacks and Duct-tape Repairs, Air Travel and Airlines, 1940s, Cars

Airplane Modules

Back in the 1980s, FAA scientist Albert Lupinetti imagined a future in which airplanes would be divided up into modules, or small pods. Instead of passengers changing planes to get to their destination, their module would be transferred onto a new plane. And the modules could even be placed onto trains, allowing transport from the airport straight to a downtown train station — without passengers ever leaving their seats.

I can imagine this might work for cargo. But as a passenger, sitting in a pod for hours on end... I'd pass.



Calgary Herald - Dec 30, 1988

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 23, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Air Travel and Airlines, 1980s

A Horn for Airplanes

Invented by Charles Adler, Jr. of Baltimore and granted a patent in 1947.

I imagine the last thing you'd want to hear as your flight is cruising at 30,000 feet is the pilot suddenly honking the horn.

Though, of course, the horn was intended for small planes, not passenger jets.

Adler himself used it to nag his wife by flying low over his house and honking the horn so that she'd know to start preparing his dinner.



Massillon Evening Independent - Aug 1, 1946

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 25, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions, Air Travel and Airlines, 1940s

The American Airlines Recipe Book

We recently posted about the American Airlines Wine Club, which allows people to enjoy wines served inflight at home. Turns out that in 1994 the company did something similar with its airline food, publishing a recipe book so that people could "prepare their inflight favorites at home". It was titled A Taste of Something Special.

The book was given to frequent fliers, rather than being sold to the public. But you can now download a pdf of the entire thing via Michigan State University Library.





Yonkers Herald Statesman - Feb 8, 1996

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 14, 2021 - Comments (8)
Category: Food, Cookbooks, Air Travel and Airlines, 1990s

American Airlines Wine Club

Fans of mile-high drinking can now get a taste of the same experience at home thanks to the new American Airlines Wine Club. For $99 a month, members get three bottles of some of the wines served inflight shipped to them each month.

I'm sure it's good wine. For $33 a bottle, it better be. But it seems to me like a weird extension of the American Airlines' brand. Although as an economy flyer I associate air travel with misery and discomfort. Perhaps if I flew first-class I'd feel differently.



via Retail Therapy

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 28, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Air Travel and Airlines, Alcohol

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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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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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