Aviation history

Airports celebrate Amelia Earhart’s Birthday

July 24th was Amelia Earhart’s birthday and over the weekend many airports marked the day with some great images and historical tidbits. Here’s a sampling.

Courtesy International Women’s Air & Space Museum

Airports, airplanes & Alexander Calder

Courtesy Calder Foundation

July 22 was artist Alexander Calder’s birthday, giving us an excuse to share some photos of his work in airports and on airplanes.

The photo above is of Calder in 1957 inspecting the installation of his work originally titled .125, after the gauge of the aluminum elements in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (then Idlewild Airport). The piece was later redubbed Flight.

Courtesy Library of Congress

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) also has a work by Alexander Calder in its collection. This piece is titled, appropriately enough, Pittsburgh.

Courtesy Pittsburgh International Airport

Calder’s work also appeared on Braniff International Airways airplanes in the mid-1970s.

The first was a Douglas DC-8 known as Flying Colors of South America. The second was a Boeing 727-200 named Flying Colors of the United States.

Courtesy of the Calder Foundation

To learn more about the airplanes Calder painted for Braniff, see this article from 2020 by Chris Sloan in Airways Magazine.

Celebrating the centenary of Bessie Coleman’s pilot license

On Monday, the National Air and Space Museum, and many others, marked the 100th anniversary of the day Bessie Coleman earned her pilot’s license – and changed history.

Click through the links in the tweets below to learn more about this incredible woman and some of the men and women who were inspired by her accomplishments.

Bessie Coleman next to a Curtiss JN-4 Jenny aircraft  -courtesy National Air and Space Museum

Fresh art (and history) at St. Louis Lambert Int’l Airport

There’s a new glass mural at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) honoring the life and legacy of airport founder Major Albert Bond Lambert.

Born in 1875, Albert Lambert was an avid balloonist and an accomplished golfer who competed in the 1900 and 1904 summer Olympics. And, lucky for us, he was also an aviation enthusiast who, after taking a ride in a plane piloted by Orville Wright, took flying lessons from the Wright Brothers’ company. In 1911, Lambert became the first licensed pilot in St. Louis.

In 1920, Lambert and the Missouri Aeronautical Society leased farmland to serve as an airfield for St. Louis. And it was Lambert, whose family owned the pharmaceutical company that made Listerine, who paid to have the land developed as an airfield. In 1925, when the lease ran out, Lambert purchased the airfield property. He sold it in 1928 to the city of St. Louis, at cost.

The new mural, “Dream Beyond the Clouds,” was designed by Martin Donlin. And in the video, below, Donlin describes the artistic inspiration for the mural design, the ‘making-of’ the mural, and what he learned about the airport’s namesake.

You’ll want to see the mural up close. Look for it in Terminal One, across from entry door 4.

Travel Tidbits: chocolate, aviation history, bonus miles for rides

Alaska Airlines + Seattle Chocolate: good match

We nibbled our way through the research for a story you’ll find on the Runway Way Girl Network about how Seattle Chocolate and Alaska Airlines worked together to develop an exclusive chocolate bar flavor for upper tier flyers as an in-flight perk. And how that bar is now available to the rest of us. Take a look.

An aviation site reboot

If you like aviation history and anything related to airlines, airplanes or airports then, like me, you’ll enjoy visiting the rebooted website called The Airchive, which I profiled for The Points Guy site. Take a look at that story here.

Bonus miles for vaccine access rides

Getting an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination is hard enough. But many people also have a hard time getting to and from the vaccination centers. So it is nice to see Delta Air Lines offering some bonus miles as a reward for those who donate cash to make rides available. Details that offer here.