This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of French aviator Roger Somner sitting in the pilot seat  of his 1910 biplane. Somner was an aviation pioneer. The Washington Herald (1909) reported that he broke a world record in a Farman Biplane by flying one hour and fifty minutes at the height of 80 feet. This was a record due to the length of time logged in the air. The Oregon News (1909) described an international aviation contest involving at least five nations competing for about 401,000 dollars worth of prizes. Somner was representing France while the American competitor was Glenn Curtiss (another celebrated aviation pioneer). The Lewiston Evening Journal (1910) reported that Somner ad established a new world record by piloting a plane with three passengers for a total of five minutes. Somner was clearly a brave man. This vintage postcard has a postmark from the French city of…

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Historic Photo: Handley Page H.P.42 biplane airliner, Palestine, 1931. |

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This beautiful color photo depicts a very unusual airplane: a Handley Page H.P.42, which was a biplane airliner that briefly saw service for Britain’s short-lived Imperial Airways airline during the 1920s and 1930s. This particular plane, named Hanno, was photographed in 1931 at a refueling stop at Samakh, a settlement on Lake Tiberias, in what was then Palestine (now Israel). This is the refueling crew. There’s no way to be sure, but this plane may have been on its way to India.

The H.P.42 was an interesting plane that came along at a peculiar time in aviation history, the point between the wars when biplanes were phasing out in favor of monoplanes. The change occurred in smaller planes, like…

via Historic Photo: Handley Page H.P.42 biplane airliner, Palestine, 1931. |