The Legend of CNAC: China National Aviation Corporation, 1929–1949

From its uncertain beginnings to its remarkable successes as Asia’s first sustained commercial airline, the China National Aviation Corporation blazed a trail unlike any other in the history of commercial air transport. For two decades, CNAC pioneered air operations over much of the world’s most challenging terrain.

Terra Cognito: Published Works of Discovery by Aerial Explorers

Charles A. Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh with Inuit at Baker Lake, Nunavut  c. 1932

Queen of the Skies:

Early Birds:
Selections from the Tony Bill

Catch Our Style: California Regional Airlines 1950s–1980s

During the three decades following World War II, California underwent unprecedented growth, both economically and demographically. By the 1970s, the population of the state had nearly tripled to an astounding twenty million inhabitants. Large planned suburban housing communities rapidly spread out from the growing economic centers of San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Francisco.

Fancy Flying: Aviation at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International ExpositionIn 1915, San Francisco presented a world’s fair of unparalleled grandeur to the delight of over eighteen million visitors.

Jet Age Models: from the Collection of Anthony J. Lawler

For nearly half a century, from the time of the first successful flight of the Wright brothers in 1903, the predominant form of aircraft propulsion had been propellers driven by piston engines. Jet engines were initially conceived in the early twentieth century, but were not put into practical use in aircraft until World War II and were not installed on commercial airliners until the late 1940s.

The Passenger Documented: Airline Luggage Labels, Bag Tags, and Tickets 

During the nineteenth century, luggage labels were first supplied by steamship companies to passengers for identific

Flights of the Schwaben: Photographs from the First Commercial Airline

Scheduled railroads and steamship lines were firmly established as the dominant means of long-range, mechanized transportation at the start of the twentieth century. Few could have imagined aircraft performing a similar service. Yet, by 1909, as the first airplanes were revealed, the German public witnessed a groundbreaking achievement in aviation with the establishment of a commercial airship line.

Airship Odyssey: The Zeppelin and Goodyear Dirigibles 

For millennia, humans dreamed of floating among the clouds on magic carpets, flying chariots, vimana, or numerous other craft of myth. In 1783, more than one hundred years before the Wright brothers took to the air, that dream was realized when the Montgolfier brothers, Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne, successfully built and operated a hotair balloon in the skies over France.