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Men, Planes, and Faith

Man Dreamed and His Dreams Took Substance at Kittyhawk. Since That Epoch Day, the Men Behind The Planes Have Played a Vital Role in Making the Air Age Great As It Is.

In one golden half century the world found its wings and turned them into the greatest force for progress history has ever known. From the first feeble flutterings at Kittyhawk, through the open-cockpit, begoggled era of trial and error, and down to the threshold of the challenging jet age, men have written the story of that progrss across the skies and into the stratosphere. New chapter by new chapter, the still unfinished story of the air age has been one of ever-pioneering men, ever-growing planes, and never faltering faith. No other force has so changed the world.

The men behind the machines, each in his own way and in thousands of countless ways, have contributed mightily. Who can record and evaluate the part they have played, their deeds which are legion? No one person, certainly. But as nearly as it can be told, this is that story in the words of those best qualified to tell it—those men who believed implicitly not only in the airplane, but in what man could do with it—the presidents of America's great air lines.

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C. R. Smith
President, AA

"I have been in the business of air transportation for twenty-five years. When I reach the end of my tour of duty and begin to add up the things of lasting value which the years have brought, high on the list will be the privilege of association with that splendid group of men, the air line pilots. I looked up to them twenty-five years ago; I still do. I have great respect and affection for them.

It is easy to define the air line pilot: a man with the look of the pioneer in his eye and bearing, intelligent, alert, courageous, modest and skillful.

There are no dull men in the profession for it does not attract men of that type. And there are very few narrow ones for life and duty in the sky broadens men and provides them with an attractive and sensible philosophy of life. They are great fellows and if you want a good man for a friend pick an air line pilot.

All of us can remember the early days, when the pilot carried the future of air transportation and of the air line in his cockpit. It was often a lonesome business for the pilot was on his own, pitting his skill and knowledge against the great array of the unknowns. Little was known about weather prediction, blind flying instruments had not been invented and the radio system of communication was an asset of the distant future.

Today the success of air transportation continues to depend on the safety of the operation, and we depend on the pilot to provide that. He will not let us down, for he never has, and he and the members of his profession will continue to write bright and encouraging chapters in the history of aviation.

There should be a suitable memorial on the top of many hills in the country, paying tribute to the great contribution of the pilot, to those who have made their last flight, to those who man the great air transportation system of today and to those who will follow and will uphold the splendid traditions of the service and of the profession."

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Robert E. Peach
Executive V. P., Mowhawk

Several weeks ago Mohawk Airlines celebrated its fifth anniversary as a certified Air Mail carrier, and, at the same time, initiated with civic groups the first in a series of commemorative programs on the 50th anniversary of powered flight.

During the celebration some old-time pilots told of their experiences with the flying machines of the early 1900's. As they reminisced, I couldn't help marveling at the difference in qualifications and requirements which pilots must meet today in order to present to the passenger a "Schedule With Safety."

Airline pilots are a competent group—well trained and seasoned with considerable flying experience before they join an air line. With assistance from man-made safety aids, they have contributed mightily to the excellent safety record maintained by the scheduled air lines. Mohawk is proud of the safety record its pilots have helped establish. 

Mohawk Airlines grew from an air taxi service to a healthy Local Service Airline as a result of a need for service-tailored, scheduled local airline operations in the Northeast, and because of the drive and vision of several of the pilots early associated with it. It follows, of course, that the top management of Mohawk today came from the pilot ranks.

Members of the active Mohawk pilot group are currently working to make Mohawk a better carrier by assisting in maintaining the pilot training program, by helping personalize our passenger service, by volunteering suggestions for improved operations, and by making speeches before civic groups.

The trunk air lines have come of age. Recently one of them became the largest common carrier in the United States; financially they are successful. The Local Service Carriers have embarked on a new and needed service pattern. Without exception they are struggling to make their place in the transport field a secure one. We in Mohawk are determined to succeed. We know that we will have the unqualified support of our pilots in the