Alaska and the Airplane
For a century, each has shaped the other.
- By Julie Decker and Jeremy Kinney
- Air & Space magazine, June 2013
Joe Crosson pioneered high-altitude mountain flying, taking tourists to view Mount McKinley from the air. He also carried altimeters that measured the mountain's summit at higher than 20,000 feet above sea level and helped a team use the mountain's elevation for a study of cosmic rays. Accompanying Crosson on the 1932 Cosmic Ray Expedition was Edward Beckwith (possibly shown here with Crosson's Alaskan Airways Fairchild 71), a consulting engineer for General Electric. Crosson was so well known in the 1930s that in an Alaskan newspaper poll, the bush pilot was featured alongside Eddie Rickenbacker, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, and Jimmy Doolittle.