Aviation history

Souvenir Sunday: read an illustrated history of travel

Journey – an Illustrated History of Travel, published by DK in association with the Smithsonian Institution, arrived in the mail a few weeks back and our household has been leafing through it since then.

It’s a big coffee table-style book – 440 pages, in full color and pretty heavy – and is separated into 7 chapters, or “ages,” each tackling advances, experiences and the means by which humans have made their way around the world.

Chapters 1 through 3 tackle the Ancient World (including travel in ancient Egypt and the travels of Odysseus and Alexander the Great), travel that powered trade and conquests, including the travels of Marco Polo, and The Age of Discovery, when explorers set out to find “new” parts of the world.

Chapters 4 through 7 dig deep into the ‘The Age of Empires’, ‘The Age of Steam,’ ‘The Golden Age of Travel,’ and “The Age of Flight,’ with lots more achival images, historic maps, artifact images, bits of journals, and works of art.

I was delighted to find a spread on the Wunderkammern – or curiosity cabinets – that collectors began putting together in the 16th century to show off souvenirs such as shells, preserved animals, scientific and mechanical obects, and other odd tidbits they’d picked up on far off journeys or purchased from others who had gone on adventures.

The three voyages of Captian Cook are detailed, as are the inventions and inventors that brought the world flight.

There are sections on the rise of the manufactured souvenir, World’s Fairs, Grand Hotels, luggage labels, national parks, efforts to create maps that accurately reflect the world and parts of it, camping, Route 66, travel to every corner of the world, the Jet Age, space travel – and much, much more.

Towards the end of this big book there’s a section of biographies stretching from Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen, to Amelia Earhart, Thor Heyerdahl, Ernest Shackleton, and Amerigo Vespucci.

This one is a keeper and a good gift for anyone interested in travel or history.

All images from Journey – an Illustrated History of Travel.

 

Old plane gets new home at San Antonio Int’l Airport

Courtesy San Antonio Int’l Airport

This ‘”Jenny”-  a 1918 Curtiss JN-4D biplane – has just been installed in Terminal B at San Antonio International Airport (SAT).

The historic aircraft, one of only 2,800 made, comes from San Antonio’s Witte Museum.

The “Jenny” was used as a military trainer for pilots in the U.S. Air Service during World War I and as a mail-carrying airplane during the 1920s. The namesake of San Antonio’s Stinson Municipal Airport’s, Katherine Stinson, flew this type of plane for fundraising tours on behalf of the American Red Cross during World War I.

The plane can be seen from anywhere in the terminal – including through the airport’s Suitcase Wheel, created by the Art Guys.


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Souvenir Sunday: 747-themed amenity kits on United

United Airlines is going to retire its Boeing 747 fleet on November 7 and to mark the occasion the airline is giving out 747-themed Polaris amenity kits starting Monday, October 23, through January 2018.

Silver kits go to first class customers, while blue kits will be handed out to business class fliers. In addition to the usual amenity kit items, each kit contains a pack of five 747 trading cards, so you can swap with your friends.

Passengers on United’s premium transcontinetnal routes (EWR-SFO, EWR-LAX, BOS-SFO) will receive (smaller, but just as charming) commemorative kits as well.

 

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Fun, fast facts about London Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport, The Beatles depart from Heathrow on their American tour. August 13, 1965.  Courtesy Heathrow Airport

Next time you’ve got some time to spend at London’s Heathrow Airport, take a moment to read some of the commemorative signs the airport posted to mark its 70th birthday in May, 2016.

There are 70 of factoid-filled signs throughout the terminals, marking everything from where the The Beatles were met by screaming fans (repeatedly) in the 1960s to where film scenes were shot and where the Concorde last landed at Heathow in 2003.

You’ll find a list of the contents and locations of all the signs in Terminal 2, Terminal 3, Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 on the Heathrow website.

The copy on the signs ranges from cute and corny to cheeky.

In Terminal 2 departures, one sign marks the spot where actor and pilot John Travolta landed his Boeing-707 in 2002. “He had recently completed his flight training. Fact, not pulp fiction,” the sign notes.

In Terminal 4 departures is  the spot from where Muhammad Ali flew, “like a butterfly,”  in 1974 to fight George Foreman in The Rumble in the Jungle.

And in Terminal 3, a sign notes the spots where the opening sequence in the film “Love Actually” was filmed.  “Think of here whenever you feel gloomy,” Heathrow advises..

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Exquisite airplane models on view at SFO Museum

Hughes H-4 Hercules (“Spruce Goose”) model. Courtesy SFO Museum

A new exhibition from the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport features almost  three hundred 1:72 scale (one inch = six feet) models of pioneer, sport and commercial aircraft made with plastic, wood, metal, wire, string, and epoxy and detailed with paint and decals.

Air France Concorde SST (Super Sonic Transport) model aircraft. Courtesy SFO Museum

The models come from the collection of Jim Lund, a Bay Area native who made aircraft models as a kid and returned to the practice as an adult.

“Numerous models were constructed or modified from kits produced by manufacturers worldwide,” exhibit notes tell us,  and “In the many instances when no kit was available, Lund crafted the model parts from scratch based on manufacturers’ plans using the ‘vacuform’ process—a method that creates plastic parts from his hand-carved wood forms.”

Aviation Evolutions: The Jim Lund 1:72 Scale Model Airplane Collection is on view pre-security on Depatures Level 3 through May 13, 2018.

Here are some more examples of what’s on view.

 

American Airways Curtiss Condor T-32 airliner model aircraft. Courtesy SFO Museum

 

SCADTA (Sociedad Colombo Alemana de Transporte Aéreo) Junkers F.13 airliner model aircraft . Courtesy SFO Museum

 

Dornier Do X flying boat airliner model aircraft. Courtesy SFO Museum