Aviation can sometimes be downright inhuman.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- AirSpaceMag.com, November 20, 2008
NASM SI 96-15130
The first cat to cross the Atlantic by air was the diminutive Kiddo, shown here with Melvin Vaniman, chief engineer of the airship America, which took off from Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 15, 1910. “Initially,” says Janus, “[Kiddo] didn’t enjoy the experience, howling piteously and upsetting the airship’s chief engineer. The America was the first aircraft to carry radio equipment, and Vaniman ordered a wireless message sent to [owner Walter] Wellman’s secretary back on shore—so the historic first radio communication from an aircraft in flight reads: Roy, come and get this goddamn cat.” Kiddo soon adapted, however, and spent a semi-content 71 and a half hours in flight. After his experience, Kiddo was briefly displayed in Gimbel’s department store on plush cushions, before completely retiring from aviation to live with Wellman’s daughter.