Author: Julia Lauria-Blum

Julia Lauria-Blum earned a degree in the Visual Arts at SUNY New Paltz. An early interest in women aviation pioneers led her to research the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of WW II. In 2001 she curated the permanent WASP exhibit at the American Airpower Museum (AAM) in Farmingdale, NY, and later curated 'Women Who Brought the War Home, Women War Correspondents, WWII’ at the AAM. Julia is the former curatorial assistant at the Cradle of Aviation Museum and is currently an editorial contributor for Metropolitan Airport News.

Born-in-2021 ITA Airways

After seven decades of business, Italy’s flagship carrier, Alitalia, touched down at Fiumicino Airport in Rome for the very last time on October 14, 2021, leaving behind a storied past, marked by years of labor troubles and serial bankruptcies. From 1964 Pope Paul VI became the first Pope to leave Europe since 1809 and the first to travel by airplane, beginning a custom of papal voyages on Alitalia, serving as the Pope’s ‘’official airline.” Often referred to as Shepherd One, the airline’s characteristic red and green tail with its ‘Winged Arrow’ served as a setting for the pope’s arrival around…

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Long Island MacArthur Airport

In the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice for best small airports, Long Island MacArthur was selected in the Top Ten for the year 2021. As one of the 10 airports that serve fewer than 10 million passengers per year, Long Island MacArthur met the winning criteria of excelling in its commercial flight offerings, easy access, and air traveler amenities. While mammoth airports in the New York Metro vicinity take center stage on the travel scene due to the immense numbers of passengers who pass through them each day, Long Island MacArthur Airport offers a quieter diversion for harried air…

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Interior passenger compartment of a Boeing Stratocruiser c.1951

The story of commercial air travel, in a heavier-than-air, winged aircraft, began on January 1, 1914, when the world’s first scheduled passenger service took to the skies in a single-engine Benoist flying boat piloted by pioneering aviator Tony Jannus for the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line. That morning, as a crowd of 3,000 gathered at St. Pete’s municipal pier, a ticket for the inaugural round-trip flight to Tampa was auctioned off, and former mayor Abraham Pheil won the honor with a bid of $400. Prior to lifting off from the St. Petersburg waterfront, Pheil climbed aboard the open cockpit biplane and…

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Delta Air Lines Breast Cancer Research Fundraising

Commercial airlines are in the business of transporting passengers and cargo by air on regularly scheduled routes. In addition to this essential service that keeps people and businesses moving, major commercial airlines sustain charitable giving programs that give back to the communities they serve, both locally and globally. Through a predetermined application process, charitable organizations that receive support are primarily registered as 501(c)3 not-for-profit and include those that champion education, medical research, disaster relief, conservation and environmental concerns, veteran’s organizations, arts and cultural non-profits, the homeless and food insecure…and the list goes on. Most airlines have programs that are organized…

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9/11: Remembrance, Resilience, and the Aviation Community

The day dawned at 6:33 that morning. Looking east across the Hudson River, the rising sun shone behind the North and South Towers, leaving two vertical silhouettes along the lower Manhattan skyline. As the auburn sky turned a sparkling blue, it revealed a ceiling that was cloudless and visibility unlimited. It was the second Tuesday of September, and it began as many a day before it had – until it was a day like no other. On September 11, 2001, as millions of Americans awoke and began their day; thousands made their way to work at the World Trade Center…

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The USO, A Home Away From Home for 80 Years

On December 29, 1940, in a radio broadcast delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the nation, the President promised to help the United Kingdom in the fight against Nazi Germany by producing and furnishing military supplies. During this period, the United States stayed out of the actual fighting. “We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us, this is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves to our task with the same resolution, the same sense of urgency, the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would show were we at war.” –…

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American Airpower Museum Republic Airport

While Jeff Clyman was flying vintage World War II era aircraft in the 1970s at air shows, he wore his father’s U.S. Army Air Corps A-2 jacket. The A-2 was originally designed for and associated with the pilots, navigators, and bombardiers of WWII. When people began asking Jeff where they could purchase one of their own A-2s, he saw an opportunity to create a business out of his passion for aviation and his knowledge of genuine historic military fashion. As surplus pieces were difficult to find and the demand for them grew, Clyman founded the retail business, Cockpit USA, in…

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Harriet Quimby, in Moisant monoplane, Moisant Aviation School, Mineola L.I. 1911.

Harriet Quimby was once described to me by her biographer and aviation historian, Giacinta Bradley Koontz, as “a woman moving forward with purpose.’’ In Koontz’ book, The Harriet Quimby Scrapbook, The Life of America’s First Birdwoman, 1875- 1912, Quimby’s life story is that of a modern woman living in a not-so- modern age “that touched the fringes of the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, the Ragtime Era, and the new Age of Aviation.” Harriet was born in 1875 on a family homestead in Michigan. In 1888 the Quimbys embarked on a gypsy-like journey west that ultimately landed them in the…

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Boom Supersonic’s Overture and the Future of Supersonic Commercial Flight

The sun rose on the morning of October 14, 1947 and U.S. Air Force test pilot, Captain Charles ‘Chuck’ Yeager walked toward a hangar at Muroc Army Air Base for a flight briefing. It was the day of Yeager’s ninth powered flight in a Bell X-1 experimental aircraft from the flat, dry lakebed in the southern California high desert where the first generation of American jets underwent years of rigorous testing. As he strode past the X-1, a flight team flocked over the neon orange aircraft. Designed with a nose shaped like a .50 caliber bullet and powered by a…

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Reinvention of LaGuardia Airport

On June 14, 2016, two years after comparing LaGuardia Airport to a ‘Third World country”, Vice President Joe Biden stood at a podium beside New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to praise a $4 billion redevelopment project at the airport’s groundbreaking ceremony. The Vice-President was there to join Governor Cuomo in announcing the complete overhaul of the outdated, overcrowded & decaying ‘vintage’ airport that was originally dedicated in October 1939 as New York Municipal Airport, opening on December 9th of that same year. Shortly thereafter “LaGuardia Field” was tagged on to the name and within a year of its opening, NY…

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