The Cradle of American Airpower – Columbus, New Mexico
Doug Boothe Photographs Jenny’s From Fairbanks to Denver
The airplane that launched American Air Power from Columbus in 1916 and 1917 remains ubiquitously in view around the country – even today, over a century after its introduction at Columbus. FASF AdvisorDoug Boothe, an official with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), travels all over the U.S. in the course of his work. On two recent trips he thought he’d capture some of those famous First Aero aircraft with his Smartphone camera to share with us.
The above Curtiss JN-4 Jenny hangs in full display at the Fairbanks, Alaska Airport Terminal. Often in Alaska for his work, Doug Boothe thought he would snap a quick photo of this ubiquitous historic aircraft for us to enjoy.
Although the bright sunlight streaming through the skylight above this JN-4D Jenny in the B Concourse of the Denver Airport Terminal inhibited a sharper photo of the historic airplane, Doug nevertheless managed to capture it for us with his phone’s camera. Prior to this display, the same Jenny hung for many, many years in the old Stapleton Airport Terminal which serviced Denver before this new International Airport was finally completed near the end of the 20th Century.
Above are two different views of the same Curtiss Jenny, Number 65, on display at the Denver International Airport (DEN) in Colorado. Denver International Airport finally replaced the old Stapleton Field on February 28, 1995, 16 months behind schedule and at a cost of $4.8 billion, nearly $2 billion over budget. It is interesting to note, however, that DEN is now the 6th busiest Commercial Airport in America and is the largest in total area occupied, while it also provides users with the longest public service runway in the entire country at 16,000 feet in length.
Above is Doug’s photo of the plaque explaining some of the Denver Jenny’s historic highlights, but neglecting to mention that it was the craft that gave birth to American Air Power in March of 1916, in the small New Mexican town of Columbus, some 600 miles due south-southwest of Denver. The plaque also left out the fact that it was this same plane, when sold as surplus equipment after WWI, that helped launch the rebirth of American Civil Aviation.
Statue of Elrey Borge “Jep” Jeppesen, American Aviation Pioneer in Main DEN Terminal which bears his name.
Close up of DEN Jeppesen Terminal’s namesake, Jep Jeppesen statue.
The main terminal, including both its West and East wings, at the Denver International Airport bears the name of a dear old friend of your webmaster’s, “Jep” Jeppesen. Jepwas born of immigrant Danish parents, dreamed as a youngster of becoming an aviator, and had his first airplane ride in the same Jenny that was made famous by the First Aero Squadron. The first plane ever owned by Jep was none other than that same Jenny model, in which he began his first serious flying.
But that was just the beginning for this brilliant and highly creative young aviation pioneer, who, with his wife, Nadine, on days off from their jobs with the fledgling United Airlines, climbed the Rocky Mountains with an altimeter in one hand and Rand McNally road maps in the other, carefully noting the elevation of those dangerous mountain peaks. This information was then entered in special air charts or maps the young couple designed in order to provide pilots with this critical safety data for their use while navigating America’s airways. This process was just the beginning of what later became Jeppesen & Company, the prime makers of air navigation charts for the Airlines of America, the world, and the U.S. Navy, as well. If you have flown somewhere on an airline, you have been safely guided along by pilots using a Jeppesen Air Navigation Chart.
Evening view of the Jeppesen Main Terminal at the Denver International Airport
Interior view of the main upper level concourse of the Jeppesen Terminal, a six storied 1.5 million square foot airport facility named after pioneer Airmail Pilot, Barnstormer, United Airlines Captain, and highly successful business entrepreneur, Jep Jeppesen, who spent his last years as a long time resident of Denver. The Jeppesen Terminal’s internationally recognized peaked roof, designed by Fentress Bradburn Architects, is reflective of Colorado’s snow-capped mountains and also evokes the theme of early Colorado history when Native American teepees were located across the Great Plains, which remain part of Eastern Colorado. The catenary steel cable system, similar to the Brooklyn Bridge design, supports the fabric roof. Denver International is also known for its high pedestrian bridge connecting the Jeppesen Terminalto Concourse A, which allows travelers to view planes taxiing beneath them and from which they can view the Rocky Mountains to the West – and the high plains to the East.