A nationwide chain of airports

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: An aerial view of North Beach Airport shows its close proximity to mid-town Manhattan. Service to the city was provided in 15 minutes via speed boat or by motor vehicle over the Queensboro Bridge. Photo from Curtiss-Wright Airports publication, 1930.

Flight & Flyers By DENNIS PARKS

During the two years following Lindbergh’s success across the Atlantic, the United States saw the swift transition of aviation from an experimental posture to a recognized part of the world of transportation and commerce. Air mail had become an accepted fact and passengers could fly coast-to-coast.

The Curtiss Company, realizing that the nation’s flying fields and airports were inadequate, decided that modern airports and facilities were required to meet the future demands of aviation. In 1929, the company came up with a plan to build a nationwide chain of modern airports containing service facilities that would make them the aviation centers of the future. Strategic points were selected on the most heavily traveled lines of transportation to set up the first nationwide chain of airports in the United States. All of the sites selected would be in easy reach of the great business centers of the country.

With this plan in mind, Curtiss formed a new group to build and operate a chain of airports in 15 cities. This was not a small venture as the new endeavor was capitalized to the tune of $35.2 million.

Locations for the airports included Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, Los Angeles and multiple locations in and near New York City. [Read more…]

Flight & Flyers: Luckey flyer


William Luckey, a test pilot and exhibition aviator for the Curtiss Company, came to aviation late in life.

Best known as the winner of The New York Times race around Manhattan Island on Oct. 13, 1913, Luckey was nearing 50 when he took an interest in aviation in 1912.


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What’s in a name?


In the beginning was the word, and the world was Flyer — Wright Flyer, that is.

When one creates a new product and starts to sell it, the product needs a name. Before the Wrights began to build airplanes, they were the manufacturers of bicycles. Among the names of their bicycle products was the “Wright Flyer.”

The Wright brothers would use the name Flyer until 1912, when they advertised their new machines as the “Wright Flyer, 1912 Model.”

In 1913 an ad introduced the Model “E,” a smaller high-performance machine for exhibition work.

WrightE [Read more…]

American aircraft in the Spanish Civil War

Vultee V-1A

The Spanish Civil War, which began in July 1936, was the most significant of the conflicts that foreshadowed World War II.

The war forced the world to take sides. Russia contributed military assistance to the cause of the newly elected Republican government, while Germany and Italy backed the Fascist rebels, followers of Generalissimo Franco, who were known as Nationalists.

Many countries, including the United States, chose to stay neutral, believing that involvement would lead to a further war in Europe. In spite of this, many U.S. aircraft would make their way to Spain.

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New amphibians rely on historic designs


loeningcoa1It was recently reported that an aging fleet of seaplanes is prompting several companies to come forward with new or renewed seaplane designs.

Aircraft mentioned include Viking Air’s new-production Twin Otter, the reborn Grumman Goose by Antilles Seaplanes, and the new design Dornier Seastar amphibian. The Viking website (VikingAir.com) refers to the new-build Twin Otter as “combining the best of history and design with modern technology.”

Historic indeed, as this leads one to ruminate on the many amphibious designs during the golden age of the 1920s and 1930s.

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