Tools for Travel

Remember when flying was fun?

If you’re under 40 the answer is most likely, “No.”
With the advent of the “hub-and-spoke” system of routing flights through a small number of central hub airports, journeys by air became much more like a bus trip than a jet-set adventure. Then came 9-11, and then the TSA, and baggage fees and… well, here we are.

It’s not fun.
But there are some helpful tools available to organize and monitor your travel agenda. I’ve compiled a list of apps and websites that have helped me survive the stressful rigors of modern travel. Take note road warriors! And feel free to share your favorite travel tools in the comments.

First off, I have a very general recommendation for creating a Google account. If you’re using Gmail then you’ve already got one. But even if you don’t use Gmail, the benefits a Google account offers for organizing your travel and itinerary are pretty awesome. More on that later…

Tripit • Flight Aware • ExpediaGoogle

Continue reading Tools for Travel

Recycled Rockets

The first real step towards a world of Jonny Quest rocket planes traversing the globe.

SpaceX has succeeded in re-launching one of its Falcon 9 rockets for the first time ever, an undertaking that saw the first ever reflight of an entire orbital class rocket ever, by anyone. The achievement is a key ingredient in SpaceX’s long-term business plan for making rocket launches more affordable and accessible to corporate and…

via SpaceX successfully re-launches an orbital Falcon 9 rocket for the first time — TechCrunch

A Seaplane in the Desert

A few years ago I attended a conference in Albuquerque. I arrived at ABQ late in the evening and headed toward baggage claim. Walking through the terminal I made my usual scan of the airport’s amenities. I like to know what the airport offers just in case my return trip becomes a campout. Food court, check; sports bar, check; news stand, several; wooden propeller…  what?!?

sm55-prop-albuquerqueA small exhibit with a wooden propeller hanging on the wall above it caught my eye. As I got closer I was surprised to see an unmistakable silhouette. Inside the display case was a scale miniature of the wacky flying catamaran from Italy known as the Savoia-Marchetti SM.55. An unusual flying boat–or more accurately two boats–joined by a massive wing.

The story of this propeller and how it ended up in Albuquerque, New Mexico is a tale of international intrigue– and an overlooked bit of aviation history. Continue reading A Seaplane in the Desert

Tulsa’s Airship Terminal

A Legend That’s Lighter Than Air

Courtesy of the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical SocietyFor decades I have heard the stories about Tulsa’s dirigible mooring mast. But lately it seems to have gained traction, despite a lack of any real evidence. Numerous websites, newspaper articles and Wikipedia all mention the mooring mast atop the 320 Boston Building. But is it true?

Continue reading Tulsa’s Airship Terminal