Author Archives: Allan Janus

Up in the Air on the Fourth

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  Uncle Sam and two lovely ladies cruise serenely above the clouds — avoiding all those holiday traffic jams — in this patriotic postcard by the great postcard artist Ellen Hattie Clapsaddle (1865-1934), who had a real talent for holiday-themed airships. The postcard was mailed in July, 1910 by a woman named Rose of Charleston,   …Continue Reading


Enter the Santa Copter

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The good girls and boys of the Coast Guard Air Station Brooklyn get a visit from Santa, December 1944. Santa’s getting a lift on a Coast Guard HNS-1, the naval version of the Sikorsky R-4, the first helicopter to see active service with the U.S. armed forces. We’ve mentioned St. Nick’s interest in non-reindeer powered   …Continue Reading


The Presidential Turkey Arrives by Air

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  Suitably clad in a custom-made flying suit and sporting a pair of goggles, President Warren G. Harding’s 1921 Thanksgiving turkey, the gift of the Harding Girls’ Club of Chicago, arrives at the College Park (Maryland) airport on a DH-4 mailplane. Note the rifle at the left of the photograph – why an armed escort   …Continue Reading


My Cuban Missile Crisis

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  Growing up in the Washington, D.C. area during the 1960s was… interesting – History would have a way of occasionally butting into an otherwise typical suburban boyhood. The memory of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration comes back to me in a Proustian sort of way through the taste of hot chocolate, which my father administered   …Continue Reading


Pilot Error, Evidently

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    In the years before the invention of the flight data recorder, the “black box” that records essential flight data, an aircraft accident investigation could occasionally degenerate into a mere finger-pointing exercise, like this one from Russia during World War I — a group of aviation cadets at the Gatchina Military Flying School near   …Continue Reading