First Class Air Travel in the 1930s.

Flying was very expensive. Most people still rode trains or buses for intercity travel.
Only business travellers and the wealthy could afford to fly. America’s airline industry expanded rapidly, from carrying only 6,000 passengers in 1930 to more than 450,000 by 1934, to 1.2 million by 1938.
Still, only a tiny fraction of the travelling public flew.
The very first aircraft were narrow and long, and the passenger seats were perceived as an innovation, a kind of luxury and an optional extra, like caviar sandwiches with butter.
The first seats were the most common chairs, seat belts were not.
At first, the passengers were sitting right behind the pilot, there was no partitions.
Source: Here’s What First Class Air Travel Looked Like in the 1930s ~ vintage everyday

A History of Big: Massive Aircraft, 1936.

In the history of aircraft, there’s big, really big, and then Hughes H-4 (“Spruce Goose”) big.
Then there’s the ocean-going aircraft above, found on p. 529 in the 1936 volume of Popular Mechanics.
The nameless aircraft would be more than 375′ long and have a wingspan of 550′.
By comparison, an aircraft called the “Stratolaunch” now under construction and designed by Burt Rutan, would have a wingspan of 385′.
The “Spruce Goose” was 319′ wide and 216′ long; the 747-8 was 249’wide and 242′ long; and the Airbus A 380-800 stands 262′ wide and 236′ long.
In short, of planes having flown, this fabulous thing with the 550′ wings would be twice their size.
That said, this giant aircraft was limited not by imagination but by flight of technological fancy.
It was supposed to require a crew of 100, fly at only 12k feet at 300mph, and make it across the Atlantic in 11 hours.
So, the size was certainly awesome by today’s standards; the tech business end of it, not so much.
In any event, the image is quite striking:
Source: JF Ptak Science Books: A History of Big: Massive Aircraft, 1936

The Flying Bum, Bedfordshire.

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Full of gas: The world’s longest aircraft – part airship, plane and helicopter – has been unveiled in Cardington, Bedfordshire.
It will be used for surveillance and aid missions… and resembles something very familiar. The 300ft-long ‘airship’ unveiled in Britain is the world’s longest aircraft.
Known as the HAV304, aircraft is being displayed at a Hangar in Bedfordshire, United Kingdom.
It is 302ft (91m) long making it 60ft (18m) longer than the biggest airliners.
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It can stay in the air for 3 weeks and will be vital to delivering humanitarian aid.
Its funders include Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson.
The aircraft is 70 per cent more environmentally friendly than a cargo plane and doesn’t need a runway to take off.
via HAV304 300ft-long ‘airship’ unveiled in Britain is world’s longest aircraft | Mail Online.

Airship R33, Selby, England, 1919.

pervaya-mirovaya-vojna-3-24-990x718An observer in the tail tip of the English airship R33 on March 6, 1919 in Selby, England. (Bibliotheque nationale de France)
World War I was the first major conflict to see widespread use of powered aircraft — invented barely more than a decade before the fighting began.
Airplanes, along with kites, tethered balloons, and zeppelins gave all major armies a new tactical platform to observe and attack enemy forces from above.

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via vintage everyday.

The Giffard Dirigible, France 1852.

Giffard-Dirigible

The Giffard Dirigible, flying from Paris to Trappes, 1852.
In France, an engineer named Henri Giffard (1825-82) was leading the way in les ballons dirigeable, French for directable balloons, and from which English adapted the word dirigible.
In 1852, Giffard’s airship made the first recorded successful powered and steerable flight.
The intrepid inventor flew his machine from the Paris Hippodrome to Trappes, a distance of 17 miles (27 km), in roughly 3 hours. The craft proved manoeuvrable, making many navigational turns and performing circles, but the engine wasn’t powerful enough to fly against the wind and failed to make a return journey.
The balloon was 144 feet long (44 m), hydrogen filled, and highly flammable, so the engine exhaust was diverted downwards by a long pipe.
The engine produced 3 hp, drove a propeller, and top speed of the dirigible was 6 mph (9 km).
via Incredible Victorian Inventions & the Roots of Steampunk | Kate Tattersall Adventures.

‘Flying Machines’ made from Cardboard.

agdag-3If you want to create detailed and imaginative flying machine sculptures that look like they’re about to take flight, cardboard is hardly the material to use.
Unless of course you’re artist Daniel Agdag, who has been toiling away creating a series of new works each more detailed and fascinating than the next.
“The Principles of Aerodynamics” is Agdag’s first solo exhibition where his series of cardboard contraptions that portray his “ongoing pursuit of escape through the metaphor of flight” will be on display.
As he’s done in the past, Agdag forfeits all blueprints, drawings and plans choosing, instead, to work only from mind and scalpel.
His industrial beasts–get close and you can almost smell the oil and smoke; hear the clanking and buzzing–come together only from sliced cardboard hinged with glue.
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via Imaginative Industrial Flying Machines Made From Cardboard by Daniel Agdag | Colossal.