Flying with Aeromarine - A passenger narrative

Miss "Peggy" MacLean's experiences of a trip between Detroit and Cleveland in 1922


To interior view of 1922 timetable with route maps


"Ninety Minutes in Heaven"

As related by:
Miss "Peggy" MacLean in "The Detroit News"

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"Have you ever lain flat on your back in a green meadow, day-dreaming, envying the little puffs of clouds, and wishing you could float with them up in the blue sky? I played with the clouds and the sea gulls yesterday, figuratively speaking, in their own domain and many of my air castles came true.

Yesterday I flew to Cleveland for lunch in the "Buckeye," an 11-passenger flying limousine in the Aeromarine Airways Co.'s service in ninety minutes. It's magic! If I could only make you feel my thrills and sensations you would agree that the world and the inventions of man have almost attained the sublime. It was like being in heaven and looking benevolently down on the little spot of earth known as the world.

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At 9 a.m. we were taken by launch from the Memorial Park dock out to the flying boat. I was particularly impressed with the size of the craft, they are immense, and fitted out with all the luxuries of a small yacht. After tax-ing around a while to test the motors, we increased our speed, traveling up the river like a shot. Little by little I could feel the boat rise in the water, the air creep under her hull, and then came the gloriously free sensation of leaving the water. There was not longer any resistance beneath us, the limitations of the earth melted away and we rose like a great gull into the blue sky.

Over Bell Isle

Over Bell Isle, which looked like a tiny miniature painting, perfect in every detail, a toy island to delight the heart of anyone possessing the spirit of youth, we soared. How can I convey the thrill of take-off and novelty of feeling one's self a winged creature? It's inspiring, exhilarating! The worries of the world fade away with the earth.

There was positively no sensation of a roller coaster ride-oh, nothing so earthly as that! I expected my breadth would go down to my shoes and my heart to race madly, but the ascent was so gradual, so steady and sure, that one could not possibly be afraid. The air seems to offer a foundation, firmly sustaining the craft. I have never in all my experience with life felt so secure and so excited simultaneously. Seated in my soft leather-cushioned chair, I felt that positively nothing could happen to the valiant "Buckeye."

We were always above the water, so the problem confronting land-planes, of finding a suitable landing field, the most dangerous consideration in their flying, does not bother marine craft. In case of engine trouble they would simply coast softly down to the water, fix the difficulty, and fly away again.

To larger photo of an Aeromarine flying boat over Put-in-Bay To larger photo of Aeromarine President Charles F. Redden

There are look-out points all along the way: Wescott, Put-in-Bay, Vermilion, and Lorain watched for our passage and wired to the station: "Buckeye just passed, all is well." Every safety accommodation is provided. Mr. C.F. Redden, President of the corporation, states that in all the three years of the company's operations, on other air routes, not a single accident has occurred.

Down The River

We flew down the river. The little farms of Canada, in different shades of green, looked for all the world like tiny drawn-work handkerchiefs, with a tree now and then embroidered in the corner. The roads were ribbons, winding in and out, the sidewalks were narrow little paths.

I never before realized how perfect our little world is. Everything seemed to be laid out with mathematical precision; there were no dump heaps, no dirty downtown streets. The cities from above look one extensive park kept in the neatest order. Flying is certainly the best way to form happy illusions and to be able to believe in them.

Looking down at the trains and boats, I was surprised to find that no hand was pulling them along. They are toys from the air, and you expect to see a draw-string attached to them.

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The islands appeared to be little patches of soft moss nestling in a pond. The sea gulls were fluttering scraps of paper. The steamers below seemed scarcely to move. One marveled that there were still people who availed themselves of such slow transportation.

Skimming Along The Water

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When we reached Lake Erie out of sight of land, the plane seemed to lose all motion. I had the strangest impression of being anchored in eternity. Soon we descended almost to the water and skimmed along a few feet from its surface. At Put-in-Bay we passed the sister aircraft "Wolverine" on its way from Cleveland to Detroit. I went forward into the open to wave to it; I raised my hand and it came back, slapping me in the face by the tremendous pressure of the wind.

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The sensation of passing the "Wolverine" was one of the important thrills of the trip. My heart missed three beats!

A very fat and pompous man in the ship was as delighted as a small boy. He sat forever on the edge of his chair waving a huge handkerchief at the port hole, even though there was no one to wave back. Everyone beamed with enjoyment and made word pictures or wrote out their thrills on paper against the roar of the engines.

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Arrived at Cleveland, we gradually floated down, nearer and nearer to the water. Our landing was exactly like a butterfly kiss, no jar or jolt; we simply caressed the water. When we reached the dock the pompous man was so elated with his experience that he almost stuttered. He came within an ace of jumping up and down and clapping his hands. I felt as if he were a kindred spirit and loved him for his enthusiasm.

The return trip into the heart of the sunset was even more exhilarating. For comfort, safety, thrills, and as a remedy against the cares and disillusionments of the world I can recommend nothing better than flying.

The world looks wonderful from heaven."

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Source: Aeromarine Airways Promotional Brochure, summer 1922. (From the collection of Jon Krupnick)

The photos accompanying the text were not included with the original narrative in the Aeromarine brochure.
They are from the collection of Daniel Kusrow except the following:
The Buckeye over Detroit, Standing in the bow hatch and The Wolverine: Keyport Historical Society, Keyport, N.J.
C.F. Redden: "Who's Who in American Aeronautics", 1925
Flying boat against water surface and Flying boat flying towards sunset: Robert Fraser Fransworth
Flying boat at Cleveland: "The Aircraft Year Book", 1923


See also Other Aeromarine ephemera page for an advertisement promoting the Detroit-Cleveland operation.


This page last updated February 12, 2012.