History

Lost airport amenity: Lindbergh’s monocoupe leaving St. Louis airport

For years, the 1934 Model D-127 Monocoupe once owned by aviator Charles Lindbergh has been on display at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL), over the Concourse C security checkpoint in Terminal 1.

But the airplane, which has been on loan to the airport from the Missouri Historical Society since 1979, is coming down for good on Tuesday June 12 and put away for what is described as a “much neeed rest.”

“The 1934 Lindbergh Monocoupe is an exceedingly rare aircraft in that it still retains its original fabric covering,” said Katherine Van Allen, managing director of museum services for the Missouri Historical Society, in a statement, “In order to ensure that this unique piece of history is preserved for future generations, the Missouri Historical Society is removing the plane to a humidity and climate-controlled storage facility in accordance with present-day best practices in collections care.”

 

According to the Missouri History Museum, which received the plane in 1940, Lindbergh flew this airplane regularly, but didn’t really love it.

And even though he’d had it personalized extensively, he wrote that “It is one of the most difficult planes to handle I have ever flown. The take-off is slow…and the landing tricky…[it] is almost everything an airplane ought not to be.”

Still, it is an aviation treasure. And one that could have been lost to history back in April 2011 when a tornado hit the airport, doing millions of dollars of damage. By luck, Lindergh’s monocoupe had been moved to a storage facility just a few weeks before, in preparation for scheduled terminal renovations.

Here’s a video of the plane being rehung in the airport in 2013:

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When you visit STL,  you’ll still see an airplane suspended from the ceiling over a Terminal 2 checkpoint. That plane is also owned by the Missouri Historical Society, but it’s a 1933 Red Monocoupe 110 Special with no link to Lindbergh.

 

Munich Airport Christmas Market

Munich Airport’s Christmas and Winter Market is open – so here’s hoping you have a long layover here.

For the 19th consecutive year, the large covered space between the Munich Airport terminals has been transformed into a winter wonderland with more than 40 kiosks in among 450 real Christmas trees and plenty of seasonal treats and local handicrafts.

Better yet, at the center of the market is a free ice-skating rink (with low-cost skate rentals) where visitors can try out Eisstockschiessen, Bavaria’s broom-free version of curling.

Entertainment is offered daily, except Mondays, starting at 6 pm, with a wide range of live musical acts, including jazz, swing, gospel, rock and pop bands and, every Thursday at 6pm, a DJ spins tunes for the skaters on the ice. Each Wednesday starting at 4 p.m. an evening of family-oriented fairytale performances and magic shows is scheduled.

Sound like fun at the airport? Munich Airport’s Christmas and Winter Market is open daily from 11am – pm through December 30.

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.

 

At Miami Airport: The Beatles, Bob Hope, Ava Gardner & more

 

Earlier this week, Miami International Airport shared a very short sample of the longer reels of film clips now showing on old-style flight display monitors in Concourse F at the airport.

The reels were put together by the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives at Miami Dade College and the reel filled with celebrities arriving at MIA from the 1950s through the 1980s is especially fun to watch.

Looks for Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, Liberace, Ed Sullivan, Susan Hayward, The Beatles, Bob Hope, Jane Mansfield, Eleanor Roosevelt, Spiderman, Sylvester Stallone, and Elizabeth Taylor, among others.

 

By showing this reel of clips – and the other below, “We are hoping that passengers and airport staff would be delighted to see how the airport and city looked years ago. It’s a real treat to contemplate, through these images, that Miami has a long history of aviation and airports, especially when you consider that Miami is a relatively young city – founded in 1896,” said Gendry Sherer, MIA Fine Arts and Cultural Affairs Director, “Also, I think it’s quite enjoyable to see for instance the Beatles, Frank Sinatra and all these other celebrities arriving and departing from MIA, but most interesting is just seeing everyday people at the airport or seeing families enjoy a day at the beach – normal activities locals and travelers still enjoy today.”

At Miami Int’l Airport: Be sure to check the monitor

Here’s a great new amenity to look for at Miami International Airport:

Rather than rip out some outdated flight display monitors, MIA is using them to play vintage film clips starring the airport from the 1950s and 1960s; celebrities arriving at the airport from the 1950s to the 1980s; home movies filmed in Miami between the 1920s and 1960s; and the 1940s promotional film Florida: Land of Perpetual Sunshine.

The clips come courtesy of  the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives at Miami Dade College, which also has an extensive Eastern Airlines collection.