Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Mile High Club's origins

It seems that the Mile High Club may be rather older than one might imagine.

It's said that the first recorded incident of mile-high mischief may have been undertaken by a pilot, one Lawrence Sperry, and his trainee pilot passenger, Mrs. (!) Waldo Polk, in November 1916. The two were airborne in his Curtiss flying-boat over South Bay, New York at the time.

Apparently their efforts had something other than the desired result. Their aircraft crashed and the two were found naked in the wreckage by some passing duck-hunters. Allegedly Mr. Sperry explained that the crash had 'divested' them of their clothing.

If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Cash only, please, and in small bills.

I'm also intrigued to learn that Mr. Sperry was involved in the design and testing of the first autopilot for aircraft. I'd always assumed that it was a labor-saving device for the pilot. It now appears that he may have had in mind freeing the pilot for entirely another kind of effort . . .

At any rate, the Club seems to have maintained a steady popularity among travelers. A recent poll conducted by the Airlines Web site showed that 9% of respondents had done the deed up there. Interestingly, both sexes registered a similar response, which tends to support the accuracy of the survey result.

Personally, I've never even tried. Any readers out there who can enlighten us on what's so attractive about the idea? If so, please add your comments and stories.



Cybrludite said...

What I want to know is if it's nessisary to be in a flying aircraft at the time. Having gone to college in Santa Fe, NM, which is 7,000 ASL, I certainly qualify from an altitude standpoint.

William the Coroner said...

It's the cocking-a-snook pleasure at getting away with something in public. The risk of exposure-literally-increases the thrill.

I've always been too good at cost-benefit analyses myself.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that you must be at least 5280 AGL, specifically to keep people from Santa Fe, Denver, etc. from claiming membership for actions taken on the ground.

Wow, that sounds even dirtier than it is.

Anonymous said...

I'm a pilot, but haven't done it. A Cessna is quite cramped, anyway.

Somewhere, out there, is an NTSB investigation report of a Piper twin that crashed while the pilot and her instructor were getting it on. There was a reclined seat, and the bodies didn't have any cloths on.

Scott said...

Sorry, no help here. I need to become proficient at getting laid ON EARTH before I would even consider a gettin' it on with a SINGLE woman in the air! (Know any single ladies for me?)

Anonymous said...

There used to be a charter company in Las Vegas that had planes equipped for those who wished to get their Mile High Wings. The pilot would signal when they had reached cruising altitude, and then after (an unspecified in the article I was reading) time, signal the beginning of descent.
(another link-hopper from the LawDog)