by Emmett Smith
The American Airways airliner picture above is from: http://www.centennialofflight.gov/
Below, from YouTube archives, is a glorious piece of early 1930s corporate propaganda by American Airways, the predecessor of American Airlines:
This film was made before the advent of the DC-3 airliner and when the main passenger plane of AA was still the Curtiss Condor, shown above. This was the nadir of the Great Depression. Nobody had any money, so it was a time when flying by definition was not for riffraff and, hence, probably a much more pleasant and certainly less crowded undertaking than today. And, in those days, one could smoke and/or open the window ventilators to let in plenty of outside fresh air! Also if the engines conked out, these early aircraft could be glided and if the pilot was any good at all, could be brought down in some field or the other in comparative safety. The laminer-flow wings of our postmodern jets are an entirely different affair, they can’t hold you up without plenty of thrust and if there isn’t any of that, well, so much the worse for you. “Goodnight, Marie,” as the German Army used to say in Russia in WW II. It is because of design flaws like this that flying today is just about like going to the Mall of America. And that is for sure a pretty sweaty noisy experience, especially when compared to the pleasures of 1930s air travel….
[Emmett R Smith all text-rights reserved 30 January 2009]