1904 to Present: Airports Attract Bums
Not long after the Wrights' initial success, airports began to
spring up. Pilots flocked to them immediately, finding their
characteristic long, straight strips of pavement ideal for taking
off and landing airplanes.
Besides pilots and airplanes, airports seem to attract a distinct
segment of the population. Everyone in this group likes airplanes.
Almost all are men, and more than a few have more than a few grey
hairs. They seem to have lots of extra time on their hands, and
they spend lots of it at the airport. Not in the terminal building
or the FBO pilots' lounge, but out in the hangars. Where the
These people are called "airport bums".
External appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, not all
airport bums are shiftless vagrants. The diagram proves it. In
fact, you can't tell much of anything about an airport bum just by
looking at him, except maybe whether he's ugly or not. For example