Kudos to Our Writers
I have been reading Aviation History for more years than I can remember, perhaps since the first issue, and I am pleased to have seen your corps of writers grow in expressive power. Lately I look forward to each issue for the quality of the writing, as well as the interesting content. Two authors stand out for consistently and successfully reconciling the often competing aims of creativity and clarity: Walter J. Boyne and C.V. Glines, as represented in their March 2007 contributions.
Regarding Glines’ excellent article “Clippers Circle the Globe,” the flying boat era has always been of particular interest to me. My wife and I were especially pleased to see the photo of Captain William S. Masland on P. 39. We knew him as Bill, a friendly, thoughtful member of the governing board of Friends Academy, a Quaker school in Glen Cove, N.Y., where my wife was employed for over 20 years. True to the dignity of his role as an aircraft commander, he never spoke of his achievements.
Fred H. Dippel
The editors respond: We too are big fans of Walter Boyne and C.V. Glines, and we’re extremely pleased that we can showcase their talents in this issue’s special section celebrating the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force, beginning on P. 24.
Aviation History Archives
I am a new subscriber to Aviation History Magazine. I have really enjoyed my first couple of issues.
When I went online to check out your Web site, I was delighted to find an archive with access to many interesting articles that I had missed. I’ve been going through it bit by bit and catching up on a lot of fascinating reading. I just wanted to send you a note of thanks for making these articles available online.
Takoma Park, Md.
I especially enjoyed the feature on the life and death of the airship Macon (“Return to USS Macon,” by John J. Geoghegan) in the May issue. As an employee of the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation in Akron, Ohio, during the 1950s and ’60s, I was quite familiar with the huge air dock in which Akron and Macon were assembled. I thought your readers might be interested to see a photo (right) of the fire, apparently started by a spark from welding equipment, that swept that historic structure in 2006.
Howard E. Alley
The editors respond: Located at Akron-Fulton Airport, the vintage 1929 air dock—a metal structure the length of seven football fields, covered with a rubberized exterior skin—has been under renovation since 2003 by Lockheed-Martin, for use during the construction of a new generation of unmanned airships. Although flames destroyed roughly 25,000 square feet of the hangar’s rubberized skin, the incident apparently won’t delay construction of a prototype high altitude airship, designed to stay stationary for months at 60,000 feet, guarding the United States against missile attack. Fifteen firefighting units battled the blaze, which traveled up the dock’s entire 22-story height.
TriMotors in Ohio
Your piece on Transcontinental Air Transport in the July issue (“The Lindbergh Line,” by Donald Lankiewicz) brought back a flood of first- and second-hand memories—not of TAT, but of Ford TriMotors and Port Columbus. My mother, who taught school for three years in the early 1930s at Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island, told stories about taking the short hop to the mainland and back in a TriMotor, the only form of transport available when the lake was frozen. She recalled that the plane always took off with whatever they could fit into it. People were loaded first, then freight was piled into the aisle. Groceries, hardware goods and car parts were stacked up in any space available, and any leftovers, such as a crate of live chickens, would be piled in the customers’ laps. A car tire might even be placed over a passenger’s head.
Imagine my thrill in the early 1960s when—already a confirmed flying nut—I was loaded into the same plane for a weekend of ice fishing. It was my own first flight. I remember being surprised that the control wheel had been taken from a Ford truck. A short time after that Island Airlines converted from their three TriMotors to more modern planes.
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