Exhibit celebrates history of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Copperclad Airways – 1935, North Terminal hangar and tower with Copperclad Airways planes.

Copperclad Airways – 1935, North Terminal hangar and tower with Copperclad Airways planes.

An new exhibition celebrating the history and growth of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport includes photographs and vintage airline amenities, including playing cards, china place settings, gourmet menus, grooming kits and other amenities.

PHX exhibit

Look for the exhibit in Terminal 4 (level 3) on the south side just west of the food court.

North Hangar – 1930s, North Terminal hangar and tower

North Hangar – 1930s, North Terminal hangar and tower

Lufthansa “then & now” photo exhibit at Munich Airport

Lufthansa then and now flight attendants

Lufthansa has put together an exhibition of ‘then and now’ photos bundled under the title “Service is our tradition” and on view in Terminal 2 at Munich Airport until the end of August.

The images show the development of Lufthansa from 1955 to today and show historical images of the cabin, the cockpit and aircraft juxtaposed with similarly posed scenes from today.

Here are few samples:

Lufthansa then and now flight attendants with kids

Lufthansa then and now flight attendant with drinks

Not going to Munich Airport anytime soon? You can see all the photos from the exhibition here.

Note left on plane suggests cockpit is “no place for a woman.”

westjet note

With International Women’s Day (March 8) around the corner comes a reminder – written on an airplane cocktail napkin – that the struggle for women’s equality continues.

“The cockpit of an airliner is no place for a woman,” began a note scrawled on a napkin and left behind by a passenger on a recent WestJet flight from Calgary to Victoria, B.C.

“Were (sic) short mothers, not pilots” continued the note, in which a passenger who signed his named as David also referenced a bible verse and said he wished the airline would tell him when “a fair lady is at the helm” so he can be sure to “book another flight.”

The plane’s pilot, Carey Steacy, shared the note on her Facebook page with a response that said in part, “…I have heard many comments from people throughout my 17 year career as a pilot. Most of them positive….. You were more than welcome to deplane when you heard I was a “fair lady.” You have that right…”

Steacy’s Facebook post has since been removed, but many news outlets and individuals have re-posted the note.

“My first reaction was shock, Steacy told CTV Vancouver, “I have to think that that’s very much not a common feeling among the general public.”

Canadian carrier WestJet currently has 1,111 male pilots and 58 female pilots. Its subsidiary regional airline, WestJet Encore, has 87 male and 10 female pilots.

“We are enormously proud of the professionalism, skills and expertise of our pilots, and we find this note very disappointing,” the airline said in a statement.

Women in the aviation industry have rallied behind Steacy and commended her for responding to the sexist note with dignity and class.

“Some might say the crude note did not deserve a response, but it is important to do so,” said Barbara Williams, Interim Executive Director at the International Women’s Air and Space Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. If only “to remind us all that women continue to achieve and play an important part in the aviation world’s history.”

“Most women pilots would just say that the airplane does not know whether or not the pilot is a woman, so it does not behave any differently,” said Martha Phillips, president of The Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots.

New worries over fate of the Spruce Goose

Spruce Goose from outside

Spruce Goose as seen from outside the museum – Courtesy Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum


In McMinnville, Ore., the financial troubles of a private aviation services company are causing big headaches for the museum that is home to Howard Hughes’ H-4 Hercules, the flying boat better known as the Spruce Goose.

On Dec. 31, Evergreen International Airlines, a subsidiary of troubled Evergreen International Aviation, filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The possible demise of the cargo carrier has tourists, aviation buffs and many in the museum world concerned about the fate of the affiliated Evergreen Air & Space Museum.

In Oregon’s wine country, about 40 miles southwest of Portland, the museum welcomes about 150,000 visitors a year. The collection includes everything from a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird to a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.

But the centerpiece of the collection is undoubtedly the original Spruce Goose.

Built primarily of lightweight birch because of World War II restrictions on metals, the airplane has the world’s largest wingspan (320 feet) and made its only flight—of less than a mile—on Nov. 2, 1947, with Hughes himself at the controls. It then was put in storage.

During the 1980s, the craft was displayed under a dome in Long Beach, Calif., next to the Queen Mary cruise ship. Disney briefly managed that money-losing complex. In the early 1990s, however, the Spruce Goose was shipped to Oregon in pieces and reassembled inside a new building at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.

Although an Oregon Department of Justice investigation is underway into possible inappropriate commingling of company and museum funds, officials at the museum have issued statements reassuring the public that the artifacts, especially the Spruce Goose, are safe; that the museum is an independent, financially stable nonprofit; and that, with its adjacent aviation-themed water park, it remains open for business.

Still, “there has been some confusion,” said Judiaann Woo, director of global communication at Travel Oregon.

“People just hear a bit of the story and think, ‘Oh, that’s closed. Let’s go somewhere else,’ ” she said. “But this is a major attraction that people from all over the world come to see, so we want to make sure the public knows it’s still there.”

Others in the aviation and museum world feel the same way.

Spruce Goose and others inside the museum

Spruce Goose inside the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum.


“This is the museum that stepped up to save the Spruce Goose at a time when one of the possibilities was for it to be cut up and pieces of it sent all over the world,” said James Kidrick, president and CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

He considers a visit to the Spruce Goose to be “one of those boxes you’d want to check off if you have an interest in science, space, aviation and things that made this nation great,” he said. He hopes the museum does not suffer too much negative fallout from the financial woes of Evergreen International Aviation.

If it does, it won’t be the first—or the last—museum to stumble.

“We do hear of museums having difficulty, and many small museums have closed throughout the years,” said Ford Bell, president of the American Alliance of Museums. “But rarely is it one with a major collection like the one in McMinnville.”

But it does happen. In December, financial problems forced the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Mass., to close after 83 years of operation. It housed one of the world’s important collections of arms and armor.

Most of its treasures are being transferred to the Worcester Art Museum and will remain accessible to the public, but “the concern we have when a museum is in financial trouble is for the collection,” Bell said. “We don’t want collections to disappear and become inaccessible to the public.”

And most communities don’t want a local museum to close its doors.

“Museums are tremendously important economic engines for their communities,” Bell said. “So in the case of the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in Oregon, I would encourage people to go visit it now and hope that they figure out a way to make sure it remains viable.”

(My story about the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior)

Happy Birthday, Finnair

Finnair comic

Cover photo of the limited edition, Finnair-themed Donald Duck comic book distributed November 1, 2013 Finnair long-haul flights.

Finnair turned 90 on November 1 and kicked off a year of celebrations by handing out copies of this Finnair-themed Donald Duck comic book to passengers. The airline also had Finnish graphic designer Erik Bruun design a special anniversary poster.


Looking forward to more stylish and fun anniversary items from Finnair.