Sequestration: How a 1951 railroad advert inspired our editorial


I’ve received a number of comments about the unconventional design of Aviation Week’s March 18 editorial on how across-the-board budget cuts will hurt aerospace, defense and general aviation.  

Many commenters liked the design and a few hated it. But one thing is certain: the concept for it is not new. In fact, this design was inspired by an Aviation Week editorial that ran more than 60 years ago. The airline industry was still fairly new, and Pullman, a manufacturer of railroad cars, launched a national media scare campaign against air travel. “Don’t you feel a whole lot safer on the train?” it asked. 

In response, Aviation Week ran an editorial on December 3, 1951, with that advertisement, accompanied by three newspaper articles of train crashes. The prose was sparse but effective. “Let’s keep this straight,” it read. “Aviation has no monopoly on accidents; railroads have no monopoly on safety.”  

Indeed, advances in the coming decades would make flying on commercial airlines eminently safe, and the only place left in the U.S. where passenger trains truly compete with airlines is in the northeast corridor that runs from Washington to Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

Our March 18 editorial was inspired by a 1951 response to the railroad industry. Click on the individual thumbs to view larger images.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Things With Wings?

Aviation Week's civil aviation blog

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Oct 8, 2015

The Case Of The Missing F-117 Parts (2001) 16

How AW&ST found out what had happened to the remains of a shot-down F-117....More
Sep 18, 2015

The U.S.-Russian Moon Landing That Never Happened (1963) 7

U.S. President John F. Kennedy is well known for the 1961 speech to Congress in which he made the Apollo program a national goal. Less remembered is his controversial offer two years later to cooperate with the Soviet Union on a manned lunar landing....More
Sep 10, 2015

Airbus A380 Is Your Hotel In The Sky (2001) 5

In a September 2001 advertisement, Airbus promised to bring glamour back to passenger travel with its new A380, comparing the double-decker airliner to a hotel....More
Sep 9, 2015

Pratt & Whitney's Record Behind the DC-6 Record (1947) 2

Pratt & Whitney takes to the cover of AVIATION to credit its Double Wasp engines for the DC-6's record transatlantic flight....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×