History

California’s role in aviation history? A quiz.

Here’s an aviation history quiz:

What do the first major U.S. airshow, the first and only flight of the Spruce Goose and SpaceX have in common?

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

California.

This nice timeline created by Air New Zealand lays out some notable events, people and aviation products from the Golden State.

Not in the timeline?  The first airport hotel, opened at Oakland International Airport in 1929. See my story about hotel and other at-the-airport inns in my “At the Airport” column on USA TODAY.

In the meantime, here’s ANZ’s timline of California Aviation.

Happy 90th Birthday, Miami Int’l Airport

Miami International Airport is celebrating it 90th birthday.

To honor the 90th anniversary of Miami International, the airport opened an art exhibit titled MIA: A Hub for History, featuring airport memorabilia from the last nine decades.

Developed in partnership with the History Miami Museum and the Wolfson Archives,  the exhibit features vintage photographs, posters, uniforms and videos of celebrity MIA arrivals from the airport’s first flight on 15 September 1928 up to the present.

Here are some tweets from the day.

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.