Posts Tagged ‘Constellation’

Welcome aboard, it’s 1953

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

YouTube has a 48-minute movie made by the late television and radio star, and U.S. Navy pilot, Arthur Godfrey, showing a flight in an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed Constellation. Appearing with him is Eddie Rickenbacker, a fighter ace of World War I but in 1953 the president of Eastern, who casually tells Arthur he recalls climbing to 20,000 feet in an open-cockpit French SPAD biplane fighter to await the enemy in World War I. Famed aviation pioneer Dick Merrill, the highest-paid airmail pilot, the first airline pilot to fly a round-trip transatlantic flight, and Dwight Eisenhower’s pilot during the presidential campaign, is Godfrey’s co-pilot. After reaching cruising altitude Godfrey announces it is time to relax and light up a Chesterfield cigarette. Merrill lets him know that he doesn’t smoke. The pilots shout to one another in the cockpit, and seem to shout into the handheld microphone as well. Eastern’s disptach office has a guy who writes the aircraft’s radioed position on a blackboard. As one observer notes, much of the basics of flying remain the same today. This is how the airlines flew in 1953, kids, exactly 50 years after the Wright brothers first successful powered flight.