How popular is the baby name Airlene in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Airlene and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Airlene.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Airlene

Number of Babies Named Airlene

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Airlene

3 More Airplane Babies: Lufthansa, S.K.Y., Jet Star

planeIt’s been a while since I posted about babies born on airplanes (and named after that fact!). So here are two three at once:

  • Barbara Lufthansa – In July of 1965, a baby girl born on a Lufthansa flight from Germany to New York was named Barbara Lufthansa, middle name in honor of the airline.
  • Shona Kirsty Yves (S.K.Y.) – In 1991, a baby girl born on a British Airways flight from Ghana to London was named Shona Kirsty Yves, the initials of her three given names spelling out the word “sky.”
  • Saw Jet Star – In April of 2016, a baby boy born on a Jetstar Asia flight from Singapore to Myanmar was named Saw Jet Star, “Jet Star” in honor of the airline.

And here are some of the earlier airplane babies:

Do you know of any that I missed?

Sources:


My Top 40 Baby Name Stories

Open BookOf the hundreds of baby name stories I’ve posted so far, these are my 40 favorites (listed alphabetically).

  1. Actsapostles
  2. Airlene
  3. Aku
  4. Carpathia
  5. Cleveland
  6. Dee Day
  7. Dondi
  8. Emancipation Proclamation
  9. Frances Cleveland
  10. Georgia
  11. Grant
  12. Guynemer
  13. Ida Lewis
  14. Independence & Liberty
  15. Inte & Gration
  16. Invicta
  17. Iuma
  18. Jesse Roper
  19. Job-Rakt-Out-of-the-Asshes
  20. Karina
  21. Legal Tender
  22. Livonia
  23. Louisiana Purchase
  24. Maitland Albert
  25. Maria Corazon
  26. Mary Ann
  27. Medina
  28. Pannonica
  29. Pearl
  30. Poncella
  31. Return
  32. Robert
  33. Saarfried
  34. Salida
  35. Seawillow
  36. Speaker
  37. Speedy
  38. States Rights
  39. Thursday October
  40. Zeppelina

My favorite baby name stories tend to be those that I find most memorable. Several of them (e.g., Aku, Karina, Maitland) even taught me something new. In a few cases, it’s not the original story I like so much as something that happened later on in the tale (as with Georgia, Salida, Speaker).

French Airplane Baby, b. 1922, Named Guynemer

Guynemer, Providence News, 1922Many moons ago, I wrote about Airlene. She was born in an airplane in 1929.

Many of the sources I consulted for that post explicitly stated that Airlene was the first baby born in an airplane. I hadn’t seen any contradictory evidence at the time, so I assumed this was true.

Just the other day, though, I discovered that a French baby had been born in an airplane in the summer of 1922 — seven years earlier.

The French baby was the son of Madame Georges Breyer of Lyon. She was staying at a seaside resort in Southern Italy when she went into labor. She chartered a plane northward to Naples, and gave birth 40 miles south of Naples and 6,000 feet over the Mediterranean.

She said she would name the baby Guynemer, in honor of famous French military aviator Georges Guynemer.

This news was printed in papers all over the U.S. for a day or two. Then…nada. No follow-up, no interviews, no extra details. I’ve had no luck tracking down the mom, the baby, or even the Breyer family of Lyon — at least not in any of the English-languages sources I’ve checked. (Anyone want to do a quick search of French or Italian sources for me?)

As far as I know, Airlene is still the first U.S. airplane baby. But it looks like Guynemer could be the world’s first airplane baby, if this story checks out.

I’ll let you know if/when I have any updates…

Source: “Boy Born in an Airplane 6000 Feet Above the Sea.” Providence News 1 Jul. 1922: 1.

What Should the First Space Baby Be Named?

What would you name the first baby born in space?

After all the UARS excitement last week, I thought this would be a fun topic.

Let’s say that a baby is about to be born aboard the International Space Station. People all over the globe are getting ready to celebrate the birth of mankind’s very first space-baby.

The baby’s astronaut-mom, who happens to be from an English-speaking nation, has generously agreed to let an Earthbound person do the naming. And that lucky Earthbound person is you.

What name do you select if the baby is a boy? How about a girl?

Do the names reflect the unique circumstances/significance of the birth? Why or why not?

Some inspiration:

Related: What would you name an 11-11-11 baby?

Swoosie Kurtz Named After B-17

I don’t know much about actress Swoosie Kurtz (b. 1944), but I recently learned that her name was inspired by a B-17.

Her father, decorated WWII bomber pilot Frank Kurtz, Jr., named her after The Swoose, a famous B-17 now on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

The plane was originally nicknamed Ole Betsy, but after being damaged and repaired using parts from other planes, it was re-nicknamed The Swoose after “Alexander the Swoose,” the half-swan, half-goose character mentioned in a popular song of the time. (The song was performed by bandleader Kay Kyser, who also inspired a few baby names in his day.)

Whether or not Swoosie is Swoosie Kurtz’s official birth name remains unclear. One news article, from 1949, says this:

Their four-year-old daughter, Margo, Jr., is nicknamed “Swoosey.”

Another, from 1962, says this:

When Kurtz returned to his country at war’s end a daughter was born at Omaha, Neb., and newsmen suggested he name her “Swoosie.”

A nurse, amused at the idea, wrote “Swoosie” on the hospital records–and the parents decided to let the name become official.

In any case, Swoosie certainly wasn’t the first person named (or nicknamed) in honor of an airplane. Earlier plane-inspired baby names include Airlene and Linda Ann.

Sources:

***

UPDATE: Since writing this, I’ve found several sources that suggest Swoosie is indeed Swoosie Kurtz’s birth name.

From a 1982 article in People:

When his daughter was born in 1944, Col. Frank Kurtz was already well-known for piloting the famous Flying Fortress nicknamed “The Swoose” (half swan, half goose). A patriotic nurse wrote the name on the birth certificate, Mom said okay, and the baby forever after became Swoosie Kurtz.

And from a 2012 PopEater.com interview:

Okay, tell the readers of PopEater how you got your unusual name.
Oh God, I was named after a B17 that my father flew in the war. It was called the Swoos after a strange looking bird. There was a song that I think Doris Day sang about a half-swan, half-goose bird. It’s because the plane was kind of a hybrid, made up of parts from different planes.

Did you get teased?
Oh God, yes, constantly. I still do. People still mangle it and want to put a Z in there. I don’t blame them.

Your dad was an amazing man.
Yes, he was the most decorated Air Force pilot of World War II and a diving champion.

Sources:

First Airplane Baby, Born in 1929, Named Airlene

Fokker TrimotorOn 26 October 1929, a baby girl was born in an airplane flying above Miami, Florida.

It was no accident. Dr. Thomas W. Evans and his wife Margaret D. Evans had chartered a Fokker trimotor for the very purpose of having the first air-born baby.

They took off from the 1-year-old Pan American Field (now Miami International Airport). The pilot was C. W. Swinson. Also on board were doctors, nurses, a co-pilot and the baby’s maternal grandmother.

The plane circled the Dade County Courthouse at 1,200 feet during the birth, which occurred 20 minutes after takeoff. The plane then flew over Biscayne Bay for several minutes before landing. Mother and baby were transported to the hospital.

The story of the first airplane baby made headlines across the country. The parents received dozens of baby name suggestions, including “Airogene, Airlene, Biscayne, Pan Skymiss, Skylove, Sephrine and countless others.”

What name did they pick?

Aerogene, according to the first two sources I found. One source was an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics publication from three decades ago; the other was a book on aviation history from 1983. But I couldn’t find any vital records or other documents to confirm it.

Then I spotted the name Airlene Evans in a December 1946 issue of the Miami Daily News. It belonged to a student at Miami Senior High. The airplane baby would have been 17 at the end of 1946…could this be her?

Yes, I think so. A document I discovered via the Miami-Dade County Clerk’s website suggests that Thomas W. and Margaret D. Evans had two children named Airlene and Thomas.

So it looks like the first airplane baby was indeed named Airlene, not Aerogene.

(Now I’m wondering where Tom Jr. was born. Seems to me that the parents of the first airplane baby wouldn’t be satisfied with a mere hospital room the second time around. Too bad his name doesn’t offer any clues…)

UPDATE: Airlene ousted?

Sources:

  • Corn, Joseph J. The Winged Gospel: America’s Romance with Aviation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.
  • “First Baby Born in Plane a Girl Up Above Miami.” Sarasota Herald 27 Oct. 1929: 1.
  • “Names for Baby, Born in Plane, Sent to Parents.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 28 Oct. 1929: 5.
  • Salty. “Fishing – Hunting.” Miami Daily News 12 Dec. 1946: 4-B.

Image: LoC (that particular Fokker Tri-motor was the one flown by Lester Maitland in 1927.)