She Opened Up the Skies

July 10, 2018

A faceless mannequin wearing a 1920s’ style dress is posed next to our Boeing model 40B, but it’s not just there for show. The mannequin represents Jane Eads, the world’s very first transcontinental commercial airline passenger. In 1927, when she was just a 21-year old journalist, Eads rode in a 40B on a mail route from Chicago to San Francisco. Back then, the journey took 22 hours. Her vivid descriptions about her experience in the air led to more people gaining an interest in flight at a time when airplanes were still being perfected. The plane she flew in was not equipped with pressurization or climate controls, so Jane and the pilot were directly exposed to altitude and temperature changes during the flight. This week, we talk to Docent Zandria Hopper, who explains how Eads’ trip helped “solidify aviation’s potential to do what the railroads had already been doing to guarantee people could get from point A to point B.”

See the Boeing model 40B, and the Jane Eads mannequin, up close next time you’re in our Great Gallery. While you’re there, brush up on the first 100 years of flight by checking out the Wright flyer, the Lockheed Model 10E Electra, and the Blackbird M/D-21 spyplane!

Host: Sean Mobley
Producer: Sean Mobley
Webmaster: Layne Benofsky
Content Marketing Manager: Irene Jagla

Topics: airlines, Storytelling, First Passenger

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