Posts from the ‘Transportation’ Category

Jets and Rockets!

Bell X-15 Rocket Plane and Boeing B-52 Flyover (Public Domain)

The Cold War was an amazing time of wholesale fear tied to the rise of technology.

As world powers tread lightly on subjects of military might, atomic weapons, and troop deployments, the engineering behind the power was being displayed and used in other ways.  Rocket power and jet bombers were perfect examples of technology which had come to fruition in the 1950s, and ultimately fine-tuned into the factors we see in the picture above.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Bell X-15 and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.

The X-15 was built to test the limits of aerospace technology, operating from 1959 to 1970 with NASA.  It set many records in both speed and altitude,

An American icon of power and aviation, the B-52 first flew in 1954 and went into service with the US Air Force in 1955.  Of the original 744 built through 1962, about 85 continue to fly.  I started looking for cool B-52 pictures recently after reading that the planes were now being configured with Sniper Pods, which will make them an even-more effective tool when collaborating air strikes with ground forces.  Current fitment timelines have it flying – with continuous maintenance – until its full retirement in the 2040s.

That’s right; it will be flying the skies in our military for nearly 90 years.

HL-10 Lifting Body and B-52 Flyover (Public Domain)

 

Now that’s what I call Long Range!

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Wicked Street Machines of The 1970s

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If you’re a gear head like me, you can’t get cars out of the blood.

For me the most notable “period of influence” for anything automotive was the 1970s; it was when I started building models.  It was when I started drawing customs.  It was when I bought my first car.  I am still in love with the long lines and thirsty engines that once pounded the streets of Seattle – announced with Cherry Bombs or Sidepipes and rolling on mags with back ends jacked up to the sky.

It would take years of therapy to strip that image from my mind, so I don’t even try.

Recently on Tumblr I came across a blog that celebrates that era through personal photos submitted by its readers.  70sStreetMachines is an archive of custom awesomeness, with the stripes, the paint, the spoilers, and the wheels which point to a decade of driving where America lived by “Anything Goes.”  There is no short trip to this blog!  I found myself stuck in a loop of viewing picture after picture, remembering what it was like to be 12 to 14 years old and wishing I was old enough to own effectively anything there.

Visit and Enjoy!

http://70sstreetmachines.tumblr.com/

Shiny New Cadillacs [1966}

These are from the era “when Giant Cars ruled the Earth.” I see a white Coupe deVille in the back, and a pair of Fleetwoods. With all that floor-to-ceiling glass and shiny chrome, that is MY kind of dealership!


Scan courtesy of X-Ray Delta One on Flickr

American Airlines Route Map [1959]

1959 American Airlines Route Map Details

I picked this up because I love airplanes, especially what is called “1st Generation Jet Airliners” like the Boeing 707.

1959 American Airlines Route Map Details

This route map was printed in October 1959, when American Airlines was using the 707 and the Lockheed L-118 Electra.

Boeing : 707

Boeing 707

Boeing : 707

American Airlines 707 at LAX

Lockheed : L-188 : Electra

Lockheed L-188 Electra

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Stewardesses and admirers near a L-118 Electra

Lockheed : L-188 : Electra

Lockheed L-188 Electra

Look closely on the map below and you’ll see that Havana Cuba was still part of the flight routes out of the US:

1959 American Airlines Route Map Details

Flights to Mexico were not nearly as comprehensive as they are today:

1959 American Airlines Route Map Details

And JFK airport in New York was still called Idlewild!

1959 American Airlines Route Map Details

 

Barracuda!

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By far one of the finer offerings of the late 1960s was the Plymouth Barracuda.

Considered a small car by Sixties standards, the “Cuda was part of what came to be known as “The Pony Car Movement.”  The name was derived from its competitive relationship with the Ford Mustang, but in reality the Barracuda had been on the market before the Mustang was introduced in mid-1964.

The final model hit the street in 1974.

The Barracuda came with 6-cylinder or V8 engines.  Large motors were available in special packages, which made the car meaner and faster.  While Plymouth as a car make is no more, there is talk about the next Chrysler super car to be based on the famous `Cuda name.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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Photo courtesy Tom Hardin – 1983

1968 Plymouth Barracuda 2-Door Fastback (1 of 6)

Photo by Randy von Liski

The Friendly Skies [1968]

United Airlines Stewardesses [1968]

Courtesy San Diego Air & Space Museum

There was a time when people traveled in something other than sweats and slip-ons.

And security was taken care of at the gate, no shoe removal required.  Flight attendants were called stewardesses, which at the time made sense because the term Steward was given to service personnel who took care of the traveler.  Many facets of air travel have changed; while I would never consider taking a “short hop” flight to places like Spokane or Portland from Seattle, because it would take me longer to get through security than it would to fly there.  While to the younger segments of our society this is standard, many of us remember when air travel was kinder on the soul.

Bad Apples who wanted to do us harm changed all that.

At Portland International Airport 05/1973

The fact remains that flying was once glamorous and fun, especially during the 1960s glory days.  It was the closest thing to space most of us would ever see.  Rarely was a motto so accurate: The Friendly Skies.  I still love flying, just not at the same levels as I did at 14.  I’m still amazed that a huge metal tube can hurl through thin air without falling.  Goofy me: I still love looking out the window at the passing Earth below.

While the golden age of air travel may be long past, it lives on with vibrance in an unexpected place: Pinterest.  In the past year I have found more airline, airliner, and flight crew photos on Pinterest than anywhere else.  It’s clear that people have a love for the style and feeling of the age, which embodied a sense of hope for air travel’s future that was seemingly quelled when hijackers started ruining the trips.

So today, thanks to the Internet, we can continue flying The Friendly Skies. Shoe removal not required.

Texas Service Station [1965]

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Courtesy Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library

Trust your car to the man who wears the star!

Straight from the archives of Southern Methodist University, this photo is of a new Texaco service station outside of Houston TX – taken by Robert Yarnall Richie in 1965.  Richie was a noted commercial photographer, who took pictures for large businesses around the US.  He died in 1984.

The station is designed in the “Mid-Century” style, with its flat roof and jaunty positive feeling.  It would be a fairly new structure, based on the size of the trees surrounding the property.  That’s a `65 Ford Custom sedan in front of the fetching green-topped building.  There is also a `64 Ford Galaxie inside the station getting service.  At the pumps: a `65 Mustang fastback, a `65 Buick Electra, and `64 Ford pickup.

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