TWA FLIGHT ONE
STARLINER SERVICE TO THE MOON AND BACK.
TAG PHOTO TO ENLARGE
In 1955 Trans World Airlines was sufficiently intrigued with the possibilities of future air travel to conduct a $100,000 “Cosmic” contest built around forecast of aviation as it will be in the year 1985. The airline held the entries to this contest and stored all the results until 1985 at which time the results were released.
The actual winner of the contest was 80 year old Helen Thomas of Cambridge, mass. At the time of the contest in 1955 she was a 50 year old scientist. Actually she is the first woman to earn a doctorate in the History of Science.
In her entire she predicted the use of by pass engines, fan jets as a common use for 30 years in the future.
It is interesting to note that the predictions ranged from planes powered by nuclear energy to helicopter house trailers. Speeds fro 1,000 to 25,000 miles per hour were predicted as well as flying hotels complete with swimming pools, barber shops and restaurants, Door to door “helitaxi” service was also suggested. My favorite prediction from the contest was, the world would be inhabited by monkeys and there would be no need for aviation. Jeez maybe that prediction should have been made for 2010!
But my all time favorite is with TWA’s interest in future air transportation, TWA built a “rocket to the Moon” in Disneyland, with the help of leading experts in scientifically correct as possible travel to the moon. This is still 1955 remember! They envisioned a slender white fuselage about eighty feet tall, perched on three legs ready for the trip.
I quote TWA,”Inside the ship is a passenger section which is entered in the manner of a real rocket ship. After 102 passengers are strapped into their seats, the crew “blasts off” with vibrations of flight. Two viewports, one in the top and the other in the bottom of the passenger cabin allow passengers to watch the earth as it grows smaller and the moon as it becomes larger.
The roar of the rockets can be heard as the ship speed along with radio and other instruments sounding out communications with the earth. Meteors fly past and Halley’s Comet, with its lustrous tail sails through the sky. (NOTE: As I remember Halley’s Comet in 1986 it was a big flop, hardly visible at all.)
Anyway, it is still pretty interesting , and I especially like the photo of the ramp at TWA’s Kansas City’s Municipal Airport with those modern day Connies sitting there and the two TWA rocket ships getting ready for departure. I wonder to they take off right there?