Saturday, August 19, 2017

National Aviation Day - 2017

Who knew there is a National Aviation Day, which falls on Orville Wright’s birthday, August 19?  It was established in 1939 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to encourage interest in aviation in the United States.

I’ve learned that my grandfather, Sig Levy, had a fascination with aviation.  He was training to be a Flying Cadet in 1918 when the war came to an end.  And through his scrapbooks, I’ve found more evidence of his fascination.  I wrote about Glenn Martin HERE after finding some interesting things in Sig’s scrapbook.  And then about Lincoln Beachey HERE

So in honor of National Aviation Day today, I went through some boxes to see what I could find in the way of photos of flying machines.  First up, Sig Seeing San Francisco!

Sig Seeing San Francisco 1913

This is a postcard with a postmark (actually two postmarks) of June 10, 1913.  But in another place it shows it came from the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915.  Plus it clearly says 1915 on the flag above San Francisco.  So not sure where 1913 comes from.  Anyway, that’s Sig driving on the left – not sure who the young lad is with him.

I’m not sure what to make of the large manilla envelope filled with 8x10 glossys of airplanes I found in his things.  But a couple of them stood out for me.

Maybe this photo fascinated him because of the mention of Flying Cadets.

Flying Cadets Witness Aerial Demonstration Randolph Field TX

Flying Cadets Witness Aerial Demonstration

Flashing overhead in wave after wave, 250 low wing monoplanes of the Gulf Coast Air Corps Training Center at Randolph Field, Texas, recently demonostrated the might of Uncle Sam’s expanding air force to 25,000 spectators and the 900 future pilots, now in training at the “West Point of the Air.”  An involuntary cheer went up from the Flying Cadets, formed in ranks along the field’s edge as veteran flying instructors flashed across the airdome wing tip to wing tip.  The occasion ---- gala press preview of “I Wanted Wings,” motion picture of Flying Cadet Life, made in cooperation with the Air Corps.  3-26-41

Another one from Randolph Field.

Prized Skyships

Prized Skyships in the Hands of Experts

There’s an old saying in the Cavalry, “The horse eats, drinks, and sleeps before the soldier.”  While the Flying Cadet of Randolph Field, Texas, the U.S. Army’s huge basic training school, has a sleek, high-powered low-winged monoplane for his mount, it gets the same loving care.  Only the most skilled mechanics can approach one of these swift trainers, to keep it in shape for its hours in the air.  Here the carefully trained men check over the basic trainers after a day of flying, pump in gas and oil before “bedding it down” in the hangar for the night, tuned up and ready for another day of perfect performance.  11-23-40

This shows passengers and equipment being loaded onto a Douglas Transport, C-39, Selfridge Field, Michigan.  Not sure why this might have been important to him, other than because it is a plane because heaven knows, he didn’t have enough photos of planes (I’m sparing readers the other 50 or so that I have with no identification).

Douglas Transport C39 Selfridge Field MI

Skipping ahead a few years, I found a couple of photos of interest from the scrapbook my dad kept (yes, he scrapbooked too) during his time in Europe as World War II was ending.

Dad captioned this Gen. Spaatz comes to call.  And from the dates of other photos, I know this is 1946.

Gen Spastz come to call 1946

That would be Gen. Carl Andrew Spaatz, 1891-1974.

And he captioned this one Gen.. Carl Spaatz, then commanding the USAF, and Colonel Stewart bid each other fond goodbyes.  “Well, Tooey….”

Gen Spastz and Colonel Stewart 1946

Turns out Gen. Spaatz’ nickname was Tooey.

This photo of the United Airlines plane was in my dad’s slides.  At first I thought I could be the girl in the back with what could have been my brother in front of me.  But as I look closer I’m wondering if the man at the back of the line is my dad and I’m the little one in front of him. 

My beautiful picture

If that’s true, this could have been from about 1960 when we flew to Las Vegas.  I have a horrible memory of flying into Las Vegas with severe turbulence.  I remember getting so sick that I um, um, you know….got sick all over my clothes.  When we finally landed mom got me out of my clothes and wrapped me in one of the wool blankets that the airlines provided.  Wool?  In Las Vegas?  I just remember feeling mortified as I was led through the airport WRAPPED IN A BLANKET so that we could get to the restroom and get my clothes changed.  So maybe this was the plane.

What’s this?  Mom at Kemayoran Airport?  I’d never heard of it before so looked it up – it was the principal airport in Jakarta, Indonesia from July 8, 1940 to March 31, 1985.  My parents went to Indonesia????

My beautiful picture

In 1986, we headed north for the Expo in Vancouver which featured, coincidentally, transportation and communication.  I’m not sure what happened to the rest of this plane!

Expo 86

Not to forget other modes of aircraft, I came across this photo of a supply helicopter from one of my husband’s fishing expeditions to the Queen Charlotte Islands.  I think I’m happy I wasn’t there.

Supply Helicopter

Okay, so I had to also throw in something that was a little more tame.  Our daughters rocking that plane in 1980.  Seems like just yesterday……..

Erinn and Megan in plane 1980


  1. Great photos---what an amazing collection you have! And I love that you discovered your parents had been to Jakarta. Sorry about that turbulence. I hate flying!

    1. These photos are just the tip of the iceberg - I have probably 15-20 official photos in that envelope. I need to contact a military museum or society or something to see if they would be of interest to them.

  2. Indonesia?!?! How did that not come up in conversation?