Mind the TREE!

Cranky, ‘homemade’ aircraft are a longtime staple of children’s illustration, but we mustn’t forget they would’ve seemed very different to readers in the early decades of heavier-than air flight in the early Twentieth Century – rather as we would look at homemade Mars Rovers or the like today.

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Here’s a somewhat eerie illustration by Austrian artist Franz Wacik (1883-1938) from the Golden Age of Illustration Facebook page here. There’s a lot going on in the picture, but outstanding is the startled cherubic pilot in his rachety monoplane colliding with a pleased looking tree. To me, unfamiliar with his remarkable work, there’s great elements of W. Heath Robinson and Arthur Rackham.

And getting ‘caught’ by a tree did happen – a lot, when aircraft were lighter, slower, less reliable and likely to try and get around trees into an airfield…

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

Franz Wacik’s translated German biography here.

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