Posts with the tag ‘history’


Fatal Collision in Dallas – The Plus & Deadly Minus of Flying Historic Aircraft

November 13, 2022

Spectators at a Dallas air show were horrified on Saturday when two airplanes collided over their heads at the Wings Over Dallas event, killing all aboard both airplanes. A historic military bomber, a Boeing B-17 with five people onboard was flying slowly and at a relatively low altitude to give viewers a look at the World War 2-era plane. It was overtaken from above by a smaller and much faster fighter plane that made a turning descent into it causing both to break apart and plummet to the ground. At least two retired American Airlines pilots were among the five-member crew of the B-17 according… Read More…


He Made History 5 Years Ago – Now, AA Mechanic Checks 80 Years O.T.J.

July 7, 2022

For people in the northern hemisphere, summertime brings excitement, nostalgia, and sometimes both. It is the season young people join the world of work and those already steeped in that world may recall their anticipation as the journey started. For American Airlines mechanic Azriel (Al) Blackman, who this summer will have spent 80 years at the airline where he started his career, July 18 is not a work anniversary but a celebration of doing the thing he loves for so long. “If you like what you do, it’s not work,” he told a reporter a decade ago. That was the year American brought a DC-3… Read More…


Old and Bold, WW2 Hump Pilot Turns 106

September 28, 2020

“There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots,” or so the saying goes. Then again, there is Pete Goutiere who turns 106 today. From 1943 until 1947, Capt. Goutiere was one of the American pilots for China National Aviation Corporation (owned in part by Pan American World Airways) who was helping to bring into China, troops, food, fuel and other supplies after Japan severed China’s only land supply routes through Burma. Pilots of these flights were required to fly between India and China, over the Himalayans in heavily-loaded, unpressurized airplanes, at altitudes that barely skimmed the rugged… Read More…


Finding Travel Treats Close to Home

September 8, 2020

The virtual traveler may be all the rage, but for those of us working at our computers during the coronavirus, more time in front of a screen seems like the opposite of a getaway. So on a recent walk not five miles from my home in Greenwich, Connecticut, I was delighted to find the ruins of a mansion hidden deep in the woods off the trail of a city park. I’m a sucker for the large historical artifact, which I wrote about in this article for The New York Times. I’ve written about my visits to historic sites in Iceland, England, Germany, Turkey and Syria…. Read More…


Prostitute and Papacy Entwined in Lake Constance History

July 6, 2016

She is thirty feet high and weighs 36 thousand pounds and every inch of her voluptuous and barely-concealed anatomy is alluring – except perhaps for the two naked and wizened old men who sit in the palms of each of her upraised hands, one a pope the other an emperor. The statute of the courtesan Imperia by German artist Peter Lenk is not just the most “photographed attraction” in the lakeside resort town of Constance (Konstanz in German) in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, it is the only public sculpture to so conspicuously memorialize a prostitute. Revolving at a rate of once every three minutes to display… Read More…


Breitling Can’t Find the Female Superstar Pilots. Can You?

May 24, 2016

Steam was coming out of my ears at the sight of photos from Breitling’s big New York City publicity event last week. The watchmaker was opening a new boutique on Madison Avenue. In addition to the flyboys, astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly and John Travolta, some athletes were in attendance, but the only women who were featured in front of the camera were the models selected to portray pilots in somebody’s aviation-themed fantasy. That’s the photo, above, you be the judge. Breitling hasn’t replied to my question, “What gives?” but some women pilots sure have their thoughts. You can check out their comments in my story… Read More…


Australian Adventurer Illustrates Flying’s Glorious Contradictions

September 12, 2014

I spend so much time writing about the safety and economics of aviation every now and then its good to go back and remember that flying was pioneered by risk takers who were motivated by many things, convention and common sense not among them. The role of adventurers in aviation was very much on my mind while reading Dick Smith’s thrill-a-page book, The Earth Beneath Me, the story of his solo helicopter flight from Fort Worth, Texas to Sydney, Australia in 1982.   I met Smith this past June and flew with him for a not-to-be-forgotten hour. An Enya tune filled our headsets as we… Read More…


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