Life in the Air Age

Still from Metropolis by Fritz Lang (1927)

Still from Metropolis by Fritz Lang (1927)


Here are 3 unrelated tales from the Air-Age.

I came across this in the memoirs of a founder of Transcontinental Air Transport, called ‘Tales of an Old Air-Dog’. It concerns the first flights from New York to L.A. in 1929. It took 2 days – as airplanes dared not fly at night or over turbulent mountains.

Here is the itinerary…

Passengers left New York by train in the evening. Next morning they boarded an 8 passenger propeller aircraft at Columbus Ohio. The plane was made entirely of metal for safety, which was quite revolutionary at the time. They flew on to Waynoka in Oklahoma. Here they transferred to the Santa Fe Railroad for an overnight haul to Clovis, New Mexico; where another plane flew them to Burbank Airfield in Los Angeles.


1930 Newspaper mock-up of Zeppelin docking at the Empire State Building

Newspaper mock-up of Zeppelin docking at the Empire State Building

In the 1920s airships not airplanes were the future. They were designed like luxury liners of the sky. It was thought they would fly directly into the heart of a city, mooring high in the air against skyscrapers. They soon found out in the real world, skyscrapers caused far too much turbulence for comfort or safety. The idea inspired the opening scene of a zeppelin docking atop the Empire State Building in the 2004 film ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’.


1903 - Wright Bros First Plane

1903 – Wright Bros First Plane

William and Orville Wright are credited with the first successful powered flight, of some four miles, at Kitty Hawk at South Caroline in 1903. They produced the first commercial fixed-wing aircraft a year later.

Here are some memories from Orville…

‘About a year after Kitty Hawk, Wilbur and I discussed the idea of sitting up in flight instead of lying belly down along the bottom of the plane, and we decided to try it. It was sometimes later we got the idea of using wheels for take-off and landing, and moving about on the ground. Perhaps some twenty years went by before airplanes had brakes: yet automobiles had brakes from the beginning.’



See you in the Space Age!


‘You can leave me in the Air Age if you like

But I’d dearly love to go back to my own time’

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