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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Flying To Japan In 1958

Yeah, yeah... I'll get back to writing about Noboko and myself shortly... just suffering a bit from work burnout... had to write four articles this month (two this week) - one of which I converted from French into English via Google Translate and then re-wrote into better English (it's never a good idea to use the direct translation - something always gets lost) and then had to come up with a plethora of long-winded words to extend it by 600 more words to fit the magazine space I had to fill. Usually, a French translation is longer than an English one, so really, I had to add 800 more words on a company I didn't even interview.

Kindda like this blog. LOL.

If only I knew of some sexy French woman who could do me a solid. Doesn't matter. As usual, I flew solo.

So... for those of you who have gone to Japan, and those of you who dream of doing so, quite often it's simply a matter of getting on an airplane and flying straight across the water to Tokyo or Osaka. That's provided there's a direct flight.

Of course, you could also be in someplace like Dildo, Newfoundland (a real place) and need to fly out to the big city there and then maybe to Montreal or Toronto and catch another flight that may or may not be direct to Japan.

I myself, upon my return to Japan to see Noboko decided to cheap out and had multiple stops across the continental U.S., Alaska, and Korea before landing in Tokyo... a whopping 36-hours of straight traveling. Hey... I save $300!

Anyhow... thanks to a kind gift from my good buddy V.G., I can now share with you a somewhat typical flight plan from the continental U.S. to Japan in 1958.

It's a real flight plan for Mister Hugh Healy, his wife (usually referred to as Mrs. Hugh Healy, but has a name - Vivian) and son, Hugh Edwin Healy.

First off... let me show-off the cool letter they got welcoming them for getting their passport - evidently still a big deal in 1958, as it is really signed by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president.

It's a real ink signature... but I doubt it was actually signed by him... probably a secretary. However... if you were to Google his signature (images), this one looks pretty convincing for a real one. Although someone else drew a squiggle on the page (right), the ink mark under the signature was done by the original signer. Click on the image and it should enlarge for you.

Mr. Healy was traveling to Japan with his family for a two-year secondment. He worked as an electrical engineer for EBASCO Services Incorporated, then situated at 2 Rector Street, New York, NY. From what I have been able to discern from various newspaper clippings, He was a Scoutmaster of Troop #26 and was a Methodist.

I'm unsure exactly WHAT he was doing in Japan, but I would imagine it had something to do with electrical engineering. D'uh.

Compiled for him and the family, the souvenir scrap book I have in my possession is an itinerary compiled on July 31, 1958 by George B. McClellan - on Form 801.

I could just scan the itinerary in for you, but let me write it out instead... more work, I mean fun for me.

The cross-outs reflect actual changes to the plan.
I suppose not all airlines had stickers available, or the Healy's didn't ask for one.

Leaving Newark La Guardia on Monday, August 25 @ 5:30PM on Capital Airlines Flight 75
Arriving Atlanta @ 7:21 PM on the same date.

Leaving Atlanta on Friday, August 29 @ 7:45 7:55PM on Eastern Airlines Flight 523 321
Arriving Mobile (Alabama) at 8:11PM on the same date.

Leaving Mobile on Friday, September 5 @ 9:54AM 9:35AM on National Airlines Flight 311
Arriving New Orleans at 10:40AM on the same date.

Leaving New Orleans on Friday, September 5 @ 11:10AM on Delta Airlines Flight 911
Arriving Dallas at 12:57PM on the same date.

Leaving Dallas on Friday, September 5 @ 1:45PM on American Airlines Flight 87
Arriving San Francisco at 6:05PM on the same date.

Leaving San Francisco on Sunday, September 7 @ 10:00AM on United Airlines Flight 79
Arriving Honolulu at 3:20PM on the same date
(Reservation at the Edgewater Reef Hotel at Waikiki)

Leaving Honolulu on Wednesday, September 10 @ 10:30PM on Japan Airlines Flight 607
Stop for Refueling at Wake Island.

Here's a description from the above folding brochure (in English and Japanese in the lower half) about what the passenger can expect at Wake Island:

 Upon your arrival at the Island, a bus will be waiting to take you to the dining room located on the other side of the island where breakfast will be served. Though the Island is under jurisdiction of the United States, no Customs, Immigration or Quarantine exists as it is not a Port of Entry or Exit. You may leave all your personal belongings in the cabin. There are no restrictions on taking pictures. You can mail your post cards and letters here by simply handing them to JAL cabin attendants.
After meal, the bus will take you back to the terminal building, and your trip aboard the "Pacific Courier" will be continued. We hope you will enjoy the tropical atmosphere of the Island during your brief stop-over.

Cool, huh? The JAL plane is called the Pacific Courier, and is actually named on the brochure's cover, as well as on the JAL sticker at the very top of this blog. Pity aircraft don't seem to have romantic names like Pacific Courier or Yankee Clipper anymore.

Here's a menu from the Pacific Courier plane, a large four-pager... just the cover and menu proper:



Airplane food - back in the days when they gave you real metal cutlery and everyone could smoke. I guess that's progress. I still miss being able to cut my own food, though. A breakfast steak?

Arriving Tokyo at 11:30AM on Friday, September 12 - still on Japan Airlines Flight 607.

Whew!

Granted the Healey's stopped and smelled the roses in a few cities making it an 18-day trip... I would too! But still... the number of stops they made is fantastic!

Because days were spent in a few American cities, such as Atlanta... I would assume Healy either had business there or family to visit. The day wasted in San Francisco was also more than likely a sight-seeing jaunt, or perhaps to visit a relative at Alcatraz, still a working prison until 1963.

We can all assume the layover in Hawaii was just for fun, considering Hawaii was not yet part of the United States at that time in history.

What's truly amazing, is that with all the stops, changes in aircraft and lay-overs, the souvenir book does not mention luggage being misplaced by the airport(s) ground crew. Bravo!

And... thanks to more fuel-efficient engines, and larger fuel tanks, modern travelers to Japan miss out on visiting Wake Island... oh yeah... and Hawaii, too. Damnnnnn.

As for Healy and his home company... EBASCO Services provided engineering consulting and construction services such as designing nuclear power plants in the U.S. and abroad.

One such plant was Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (units 1, 2 and 6). Ya can't make this stuff up.

EBASCO was sold to Raytheon in 1993 and became part of a Raytheon subsidiary, United Engineers and Constructors.

Banzai,
Andrew Joseph
PS: You can see how I turned simply writing out the itinerary into something far longer, and hopefully more interesting than the original flight plan. Strangely enough, this didn't feel like work.  

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