A helicopter looks as tiny as a toy in the face of Hubbard Glacier in Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest of all national parks.

Photograph by Chris Johns, National Geographic

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  • On June 14, 1943, the Greyhound Corporation proposed helicopter buses be used for public transportation. Aviation pioneers Raymond Loewy and Igor Sikorsky created the concept for a 14-seat air bus. The idea was to put landing pads on the roofs of Greyhound bus terminals around the country. Greyhound tried a test run with some regular helicopters, but flying buses never took off with the general public.


    In 1943, air travel was still new to the public. When people did fly in airplanes, they traveled mainly long distances. Shorter trips were left to trains and buses. Today, shorter flights are commonplace, but the transportation system still would not favor “air buses.” Rather than many “air bus” stations, one or two large airports funnel people between cities. Air travel is centralized, rather than having landing locations all over cities.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    aviation Noun

    the art and science of creating and operating aircraft.

    helicopter Noun

    aircraft that flies using rotating blades on top of the body of the craft.

    public Adjective

    available to an entire community, not limited to paying members.

    transportation Noun

    movement of people or goods from one place to another.

    travel Noun

    movement from one place to another.