Aviation history

BWI & LAX airports mark anniversaries

Two airports celebrate dedication anniversaries this week: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

70 years ago, on June 24, 1950, President Harry S. Truman officially dedicated Friendship International Airport, which is now known as Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

11 years later, then-Vice President Lynden B. Johnson was on hand on June 25, 1961 for the dedication of the Jet Age terminals at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

A few years later, in 1964, Lucille Ball was at LAX to inaugurate the first “Astroway” – or moving walkway – at LAX .

Vintage travel posters to inspire a post-pandemic trip

Courtesy Boston Public Library

If you have been heeding the shelter-at-home advisories during this health crisis you may be organizing your photos and looking through scrapbooks from past trips.

Here’s something else to add your list: planning your next trip using the collections of vintage travel posters we came across while researching this fun story for AAA Washington as inspiration.

Here are some of the vintage travel poster images we enjoyed.

Smithsonian Institution Air & Space Museum

Courtesy National Air & Space Museum

About 1300 airline posters dating from the early 1920s to the present are on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum website.

SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport  

Courtesy SFO Museum

More than 1200 travel posters promoting global air travel are in the collection of the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport. Most are accessible online.

Boston Public Library

Courtesy Boston Public Library

More than 350 travel posters are in the collection of the Boston Public Library, which shares them on Flickr.

Library of Congress – WPA Travel Posters

Courtesy Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has hundreds of travel posters in its collection, including the now-iconic travel and tourism posters promoting national parks and other U.S. destinations made by artists hired by Works Projects Administration (WPA) from 1936 to 1943.

Space Tourism Posters

Why not consider a trip to space?

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers a series of specially-commissioned WPA-style posters promoting space tourism

Chill like Amelia Earhart

It’s been a tough few weeks for a lot of us. And there are more tough weeks on the way.

We’re being told to stay home, keep our distance from others and stay away from airports and airplanes.

Yet, we’re being encouraged to stay busy.

So today we’re sharing two great “be chill” photos we found in the collection of the International Women’s Air & Space Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

The photos are from a collection focusing on Amelia Earhart.

One shows her relaxing and reading a book.

The other shows Amelia in her garden.

If Amelia Earhart can take a break, I guess we can too.

Stay safe!

Nellie Bly landing soon at Pittsburgh Int’l Airport

Nellie Bly – Courtesy Library of Congress

We take a short break from coronavirus coverage and anxiety today to give a cheer for Pittsburgh International Airport, which is celebrating Women’s History Month by putting a statue of legendary traveler and early investigative journalist Nellie Bly in the terminal.

Bly, the pen name for Elizabeth Seaman Cochran, grew up in Western Pennsylvania and in 1885 went to work for the Pittsburgh Dispatch, which is now the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She moved to New York City in 1887 to work for the New York World and wrote a groundbreaking expose of the terrible conditions at a mental institution by posing as a patient.

In 1889 she set off for a trip about the world, determined to break the fictional record of Phileas Fogg, whose journey was described by Jules Verne in his 1873 novel, “Around the World in Eighty Days.”

Bly left Hoboken, New Jersey by ship and completed the trip in 72 days, 6 hours 11 minutes and 14 seconds, traveling by horse, rickshaw, sampan, burro and other vehicles along the way.

Courtesy University of Iowa Libraries

“Round the World” board game. Courtesy University of Iowa Libraries.

Her 1890 book chronicling the adventure is “Around the World in Seventy-Two Days.”

Pittsburgh International Airport already has two statues in the terminal: George Washington and Franco Harris, a legendary Pittsburgh Steelers player.

Those statues are stationed in the PIT terminal as promotions for the city’s Heinz History Center and are popular spots for selfies.

At the end of March, to mark Women’s History Month and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the Heinz History Center will add Nellie Bly’s statue to the PIT terminal.

Courtesy PIT Airport. Photo by Beth Hollerich

Celebrating National Aviation Day

Sculpture at the Wright Brothers National Monument _courtesy National Park Service

Today (August 19) is National Aviation Day, which celebrates the development of aviation and marks Orville Wright’s birthday.

Airports and aviation fans around the country will be noting the day in various ways.

Courtesy CVG

At Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), they’ll be celebrating with two events.

*From 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. CVG is inviting community members to stop by the Airport Viewing Area to watch planes take off and land and enjoy a family-friendy outing with the Kona Ice truc, the CVG fire truck, games and other activities.

*From 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. CVG and Graeter’s Ice Cream will be greeting arriving passengers with samples of ice cream. There will also be a performance from ArtsWave Presents and aviation-themed giveaways in the terminal.

Mural honoring Wright Brothers – at Tampa International Airport

On National Aviation Day, one of my traditions is to remember Katharine Wright, Orville and Wilbur’s sister, who was often referred to as “The Third Wright Brother.”

Don’t know about her? That’s because Orville tried to have Katharine’s role in the brothers’ accomplishment erased from history.

Here’s a short feature story I produced about Katherine Wright back in 2003 for National Public Radio as part of my Hidden Treasures Radio Project series.