Early airplanes and the hardy adventurers who flew them fascinated me as a youngster. But what really nailed my attention were the four-engined Boeing 314 Clippers and the sleek four-engined Model 307 Boeing Stratoliner.
The Clippers island-hopped over the Pacific to Asia or magically linked Rio to Lisbon. The Stratoliner was the first civil airliner with a pressurized cabin to be flown by commercial airlines. For me, pictures of these elegant behemoths in flight were laden with adventure, romance and a sense of wonder. I treasured my miniature solid models of both of these giants and imagined I was a pilot winging my way across the world or hurtling up into the stratosphere as I cruised around my bedroom banking and climbing with model in hand.
The beautiful lines of these planes, their groundbreaking technical excellence and the daring feats of piloting and adventure they represented to me never dimmed in my mind as I grew up and continued to cultivate a lifelong passion for aviation history.
This early fascination with aviation and adventure led me to explore other historical aerial exploits such as the courageous flights of Amelia Earhart and Richard Halliburton. The details stayed with me and in later years inspired me to write a book.
It was a long time ago when I made my imaginary bedroom flights, but I still vividly recall the excitement the Clipper and Stratoliner stirred in a small boy's imagination.