Aviation history

Getting ready for the eclipse

 

Courtesy NASA

Like everyone else, I’m pretty darn excited about the Great American Eclipse taking place on August 21.

I’m luckier than most. Not only do I live not far from the path of totality, but I’ve been invited to join Alaska Airlines on a special flight that will leave Portland International Airport early Monday morning and head out over the ocean to meet the eclipse as it heads towards the west coast.

The plane will be filled with astronomers, airline employees, special guests and media representatives. And while I won’t have one of the highly coveted seats on the right side of the plane where passengers are promised a straight on view of the eclipse from their seats, I’ll have a front row seat for the festivities leading up to the flight and at least a sliver of a galley window during the flight.

There won’t be WIFI on the flight, so I won’t be able to do any live reporting – but my story and some of my photos from the adventure will be on USA TODAY, here on StuckAtTheAirport.com and on social media soon after we land.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready by watching this video taken by a passenger on Alaska Airlines Flight #870 in 2016, when astronomers convinced Alaska Airlines to change the course of the  course of a flight from Anchorage to Honolulu just a bit so that eclipse chasers – and regular passengers booked on the flight – could get  a view of an eclipse taking place over the Pacific Ocean.

 

CVG celebrating National Aviation Day – with hot dogs, ice cream

Courtesy Henry Ford Museum

 

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is celebrating National Aviation Day (Aug 19), which commemorates the history and Orville Wright’s birthday, with ice-cream, chili and aviation-themed giveaways.

 

More than 2,000 arriving passengers will be treated to Gold Star Chili cheese coneys (hot dogs) and Graeter’s Ice Cream. There will also be a band, giveaways and other surprises at the Welcome Point of the CVG Terminal.

 

CVG will also host a scavenger hunt on social media for passengers to find Wilbur Wright in the Terminal and two Concourses. Hints will be shared on Twitter and prizes will be awarded to the first passengers who spot Wilbur, snap a photo with him, and share on CVG’s Twitter account.

 

And what’s National Aviation Day without some plane spotting? At 2 p.m., there will also be free Mr. Softee ice-cream (first-come, first-served) and aviation-themed treats out at the airport’s airplane viewing area (1459 Donaldson Hwy, Erlanger, KY). 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Cat Appreciation Day

August 17 is evidently Black Cat Appreciation Day, so we bring you this photo of a member of the 13 Flying Black Cats – an early aerial stunt team – from the archives of the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

The Flickr caption on this photos says: 1st Lieut. Frank B. Estell stands by his “Texas Longhorn” Jenny at the North Memphis Driving Park, Memphis, Tennessee, on April 12, 1919.

Pop-up lounge at O’Hare Airport – for kids

At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, a pop-up lounge just for kids (and their parents) is moving through the terminals.

Called the “Fly with Butch O’Hare” lounge, it’s described as a place to relax, take selfies, re-charge cell phones and devices and to learn about the Fly with Butch O’Hare mobile game the airport developed in collaboration with DeVry University.

First, who was Butch O’Hare? He’s the airport’s namesake, Edward “Butch” O’Hare – and this year marks the 75th anniversary of Butch O’Hare’s heroic actions in World War II, saving the aircraft carrier Lexington.

He was honored with the Navy’s first Medal of Honor, and in 1949 Chicago’s airport, Orchard Field was renamed Chicago O’Hare in his honor.

The lounge is outfitted with chairs and foot stools, cell phone charging stations, the airport code  in 8 – f00t-tall letters,  orange flooring and a miniature plane flying overhead with – you guessed it – Butch O’Hare.

There’s also an almost life-size cut-out of O’Hare and a plane – for selfies.

ORD is also giving out flat photos of Butch O’Hare (on a stick) in the lounge and at bins in the domestic terminals and encouraging passengers to pose with the flat Butch O’Hare while in the airport or and around the world and post their photos  online with the hashtag #FlyWithButchOHare.

 Looking for the lounge?  It’s in Terminal 1, near Gate B12 through August 9 and then moving to Terminal 2, near Gate E1, from August 10 through 31.

And what about that Butch O’Hare game?
Updates on the progress of that project is on this Fly with Butch O’Hare    page along with some airport trivia  and a list of airport shops and restaurants offering discounts.

New aviation history gallery at Jacksonville Int’l Airport

In Florida, Jacksonville International Airport has a new exhibit featuring the area’s aviation milestones and memorabilia from an era when Florida was sparsely populated.

The exhibit starts its story with January 28, 1878, when a hot air balloon containing one man was sighted floating a “mile high” over the city at 5:00 p.m. and ends on the eve of World War II, when the military created bases bigger than most Florida cities.

 

In addition to a wall mural noting historical highlights and photos of significant events in Jacksonville’s aviation history, seven cases display a variety of aviation artifacts. There are also interactive monitors with additional  information about the area’s  aviation history.

Jacksonville Takes Flight: North Florida aviation history from 1878 to 1941” is located next to the center courtyard food court, where there’s also a great window for viewing modern day airfield activity.

 

Airport officials say this is just Phase 1 of the gallery exhibit. Phase II will begin its story at the end of World War II and conclude with aviation milestones leading up to the present day. Look for that to be completed in 2018, when JAX celebrates its 50th anniversary.