Is there a list of AvGeek wonders of the world? Probably not, but if there was, the new TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK International Airport was trying from the outset to make it onto the list. Initially I was worried that the project — build around the historic TWA Terminal at JFK — might be a victim of stratospheric expectations. But from the moment I walked into the historic gem of a building it was clear that the attraction was everything we all wanted it to be, and more.
Just like the beautifully restored Lockheed Constellation sitting on the premises, the TWA Hotel fires on all cylinders. It’s as much a museum as a hotel, with tons of exhibits about the jet age’s golden years. The staff is having a total blast, with 60’s-style uniforms to match. There’s even an infinity pool on the roof with an incredible view of the ramp and runways. I mean seriously, how can you beat all that??
If by this point you’re not itching to click the “Read More” button — and see all the photos and videos we took during our visit — we’re questioning your AvGeek credentials. Enjoy!
A little bit of Eastern Air Lines history! (which can be yours)
Looking for that perfect holiday gift for the avgeek(s) in your family? Need a little something for yourself?
We might have just the ticket for you. My name is Jeremy and I am an Avgeek, photographer, and friend/friendly frenemy of the guy running this site, David Parker Brown.Â Iam [still] selling a huge chunk of his airline collection.
For regular followers, you mightâ€™ve seen this before, we plugged it in April and a lot of you were able to snatch up some great stuff. But in case you were on the fence, thereâ€™s still well over 1,500 items left for sale.
A little bit of airline memorabilia for everyone!
Thereâ€™s something for every AvGeek here: post cards, menus, paper ads, posters, bag tags, matchbooks, route maps, timetables, and even a small number of vintage hand bagsâ€¦including a few Pan Am. And thatâ€™s only part of it â€“Â all in all thereâ€™s over 2,000 items for sale.
Easier than eBay, donâ€™t have to travel to the big shows, and David knows where I live, if something goes bad on you (And I will make a visit to his house for you -David). There are lots of photos hereÂ but thatâ€™s only about 75% of the collection:Â the full list is located here on aÂ detailed spreadsheet.
If you see something you like, shoot him me email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let a bit of airline history into your home in time for the holidays!
It’s been almost twenty years since TWA folded, but some of its employees still stay in touch. Every year, the Silver Wings organization of former TWA flight attendants hosts a get-together where they celebrate their shared history. The meetings usually rotate between U.S. cities, and this year there was only one logical choice: New York, thanks to the awesome new TWA Hotel that opened in May. If you’re one of the few AvGeeks out there who haven’t heard about it, the hotel is built around Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA terminal at JFK and features historical displays, a rooftop pool with tarmac views, and more.
We got to join in for the Silver Wings meetup, and it was as awesome as we were hoping it would be. The turnout was incredible, and attendees were having a blast touring their old stomping grounds and seeing the old TWA terminal brought back to life.
Read on for a recap of the weekend and an insider look at the TWA Hotel, which — spoiler alert — is everything an AvGeek would want it to be.
Concorde G-BOAA prepares for the first commercial flight from LHR to BAH on January 21, 1976 – Photo: British Airways
Today is the 40th anniversary of Concordeâ€™s first commercial flight.Â On January 21, 1976, Concorde successfully completed its first supersonic flight by British Airways, from Heathrow to Bahrain, whileÂ Air France flew toÂ Rio de Janeiro via Dakar.
ConcordeÂ is one of the most iconic airliners ever built and was created with huge dreams; dreams that sadly never became a reality.
Visiting Boston – Photo: BA
Four flying in formation – Photo: BA
One beautiful aircraft – Photo: BA
To celebrate this milestone, British Airways shared information about the historic aircraft and some thoughts from one of its former pilots. What better place to chat with a former pilot than next to one of the aircraft? Captain Leslie Scott recently spent some time, along with others associated with the plane, at the Intrepid Sea, Air & SpaceÂ Museum to shareÂ his memories.
Caledonian Airways’ Bristol Britannia taken in February 1969 at Sabha Airport – Photo: Ken Fielding
Just after joining Caledonian Airways in February, 1969, I went to Tripoli, Libya, to help handle Caledonianâ€™s Hajj contract, taking passengers to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj Pilgrimage, sub-contracted by KLA Kingdom of Libya Airlines.Â The contract was over eightÂ weeks: three weeks ferrying Pilgrims outbound, a two-week hiatus while the Pilgrimage took place, and another threeÂ weeks for the return.Â The contract was for twoÂ Boeing 707-320Câ€™s and a Bristol Britannia.
The French Colonial Fort seen next to Sebha in 1969 – Photo: Ken Fielding
Part of the contract with the Britannia was for a 10-day series of flights from Sebha, a small oasis town about 600 miles south of Tripoli in the Libyan Desert.Â The townâ€™s most prominent feature was a â€˜Beau Gesteâ€™ style French Colonial Fort on the edge of the airfield, on the only hill for 200 miles.Â My hotel was the â€˜Sebha Palaceâ€™, not quite what you expect when the word â€˜palaceâ€™ is mentioned, but at least the rooms were en-suite.Â My bathroom had a 360 volt water heater (and a 220 volt supply).Â The wires were just pushed into the wall socket (no plug) and when it was switched on the lights dimmed and it took all day to heat enough water for a bath.Â The hotel restaurant only served chicken (well, we were 600 miles from nowhere).Â I had a bucket of fresh fish flown up from Tripoli on the ferry flight a few times and word soon got around.Â The restaurant was full on those evenings.