Pilot Howard Hughes and navigator Thomas Thurlow in their Lockheed Model 14-N2 Super Electra over New York City in 1938. They were in the process of setting the world’s record for circumnavigating the globe with a time of 91 hours. Thurlow was a USAAC officer on loan to operate a “robot navigator”, an experimental device used to plot the aircraft’s position.
The Pan American Airways “American Clipper” over New York in 1931. She was one of three Sikorsky S-40 amphibians and could carry a total of thirty-eight passengers.
The USS Santa Ana was a passenger ship taken over by the US Navy and used as a troop transport in the First World War. Here she is seen entering port in NYC in 1919, one of four trips she completed bringing US Army troops home from France at the end of the war.
October 27, 1945 was Navy Day in New York City. Forty-seven US Navy ships anchored in the Hudson River while over 1,200 Naval aircraft passed overhead. The fleet was reviewed by President Truman, and included the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) where the Japanese had signed the instrument of surrender almost two months before. At the bottom of the photograph is the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), the only carrier to fight through the entire Pacific War and survive.
US Army Air Corps Keystone bombers pass over the passenger liner piers in an impressive display of airpower for the early 1930’s. The Keystones were ultimately replaced by the Martin B-10 but were the largest US Army Air Corps bombers for their time.
After World War Two the era of safe and reliable commercial air travel had arrived. One of the mainstays was the Douglas DC-6, 704 were built between 1946 and 1958. Here an American Airlines DC-6 is seen over Manhattan.
The USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) was a Midway-class aircraft carrier. Commissioned on Navy Day, 27OCT45 at the New York Naval Shipyard she was too late to see service in WWII. Here she is seen moving down the East River.
A Pitcairn PCA-2 autogyro poses for the camera over Manhattan. Autogyros generate lift with a rotating wing. While they cannot take off vertically like a helicopter, they are capable of taking off in very short distances.
The US Navy rigid airship USS Akron (ZRS-4) over Manhattan in the early 1930s. The Akron was designed to act as a scout for the battlefleet and could carry up to three F9C Sparrowhawk fighters in internal hanger bays. She would be lost in a storm off the coast of New Jersey on 04APR33.
The Akron’s sistership USS Macon (ZRS-5) has her turn at a publicity photo over Manhattan in 1933. She was lost off the coast of California on 12FEB35, the result of structural failure. Macon had a slightly different structure and could carry up to five Sparrowhawks, four internally.
Part III here: