My Internet Album of Airliners

by Larry Myers

Most collectors are proud of their collections and they welcome the opportunity to "show off" at least some of their collection to anyone who drops by.  I want to thank you for "dropping by" and show you some of my favorite airline/airport postcards.  An early one that used to catch my eye was the Southern Airways DC-3 at Greenwood, Mississippi.  It's the classic pose of an airplane parked in front of the terminal building.  Ten years ago that postcard was relatively easy to find.  Not anymore!
The small airliner parked outside the unlocked gate to the ramp was a common everyday occurrence in the ‘50s right up to the ‘70s.  People wandering out onto the ramp to welcome arriving passengers was natural and pleasant as was the case on this postcard depicting a Frontier Convair at Jackson, Wyoming.
Around the world, watching airplanes parked in front of the terminal building was a fascinating thing to do.  I'm not sure if you can make out the crowd of people on the observation deck at Jan Smuts Airport in South Africa, but they're there enjoying the arrivals, fueling, and departures.
There are no crowds, in this next postcard, to wave goodbye to the departing passengers.  It's a rather stark, but extremely interesting, shot of a Lockheed Electra from "LOT", the Polish Airline, which is in front of an almost empty terminal building.  I didn't know where it was, but viewer Thomas Szymanski was kind enough to let me know it's the Warsaw-Okecie Airport.  A couple of interesting points in this photo, it's 5 minutes past 12 noon, and there is a row of flowers along the edge of the roof.  That's one of the nice things about "real photo" postcards, you can find many details with a magnifying glass.
Sometimes, just the closeness of the airplane on a postcard "makes" it, such as this Eastern Martin at Daytona Beach, or the Trans-Texas Airways Convair at Harlingen, or this Lufthansa Junkers? that's so close, you can see the laminations of the wood propeller.
At times the airplane on the postcard is simply a background, like this American DC-3 which was a background for the LaSalle advertising card, or this United plane which was an incidental background for this beautiful stewardess, and for this one!  Here's another stewardess from American, and still another from TWA... and more yet from this early United Airlines postcard and from this one.  As a matter of fact, United publicized their stewardesses right along with the airplane sometimes, such as in this postcard view of a Boeing 247 (but who looks at the plane?)  Here's an interesting fact not many people know about.... the earliest stewardesses had to also be nurses, as was apparent on this postcard.
Talking about stewardesses, here's a celebrity one, Jane Wyman, in the doorway of an American plane.  It's a common postcard, but always collectible.  Here's another celebrity posed near a Panagra plane.  Recognize him?  Here's a hint - Remember the father of the girls in "One Day At A Time"?  I wouldn't have known that the pilot on this card was David Niven, unless I had read the back of the card, but I did recognize Rosalind Russell on this airline issued card when I bought it at a Syracuse Antique show years ago.
Airline postcards can also be a record of historical occurrences.  Here is a postcard that shows the very first scheduled airliner in the world.  The make of the plane is Benoist XIV and the name of the airline is "St. Petersburg-Tampa-Air Boat Line".  Ever wonder who the very first airline pilot was and what he looked like?  His name was Tony Jannus and here he is... the one with the goggles, of course.
But my primary interest in airline postcards is not history, but just plain fascination with the subject matter, such as this Maddux Ford tri-motor at Glendale, California or this Ford single-engine plane of Stout Air Transport.  How about this Universal Fokker plane in Garden City, Kansas?  Or the "Lindbergh Line's DC-3" with Manhattan in the background?  Or this fantastic Eastern Air Lines Constellation being fueled in Tampa?
Even modern airline postcards can be interesting.  This one is a nicely-framed shot of a PanAm jet at Frankfurt Main.
Sometimes, when you research a postcard, you can find some interesting history about the airplane.  This one was one of only 2 of this model Vega airplane that was made, and was used by Pan American Airways to fly the mail up and down the west coast of South America.
I like this postcard showing the contrast of modes of transportation.  The American Airlines DC-3 is just lifting off as it passes a horse-drawn stagecoach.
But these postcards take us beyond our little house in the country or our apartment in the city.  We get to see passengers arriving at Los Angeles from Mexico, planes being fueled at Malmö, DC-3s unloading passengers in Juneau, a desert airstrip in Israel and a Baby Clipper being fueled in Ketchikan.
I hope you've enjoyed my "Internet Album of Airliners". Write when you can.
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