How popular is the baby name Airlene in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Airlene.

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Popularity of the baby name Airlene

Posts that mention the name Airlene

3 more airplane babies: Lufthansa, S.K.Y., Jet Star


It’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 earlier airplane babies I’ve written about: Guynemer (1922), Airlene (1929), Lindbergh (1931), Aaxico (1947), Josephine Jean (1955), Connie #1 (1956), James Good Hope Sky (1986), Connie #2 (1996), Daniella (2007), Qatarina (2007), AirAsia (2009), Tami (2010), and Francis (2011).


Image: Adapted from Air Canada Boeing 777-333ER by MarcusObal under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Where did the baby name Rockne come from in 1931?

"Rockne Killed" headline in the New York Daily News (Apr. 1931).
“Rockne Killed” newspaper headline

In 1931, the name Rockne debuted in the U.S. baby name data. It was the top debut name for baby boys, in fact.

  • 1933: 9 baby boys named Rockne
  • 1932: 14 baby boys named Rockne
  • 1931: 17 baby boys named Rockne [debut]
  • 1930: not listed
  • 1929: unlisted

The number of babies named Knute increased that year as well:

  • 1933: 8 baby boys named Knute
  • 1932: 10 baby boys named Knute
  • 1931: 19 baby boys named Knute
  • 1930: 9 baby boys named Knute
  • 1929: 11 baby boys named Knute

If you know college football, you already know where these names come from: Knute (pronounced kah-NOOT) Rockne.

Football coach Knute Rockne (1888-1931)
Knute Rockne

Rockne was born in Norway in 1888, and his family immigrated to America in 1893. He became the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame in 1918. Today, he’s considered one of the greatest coaches in college football history.

On March 31, 1931, 43-year-old Rockne was killed when the wooden Fokker Trimotor* he was flying in crashed in Kansas. The crash was thought to be caused by the deterioration of the plane’s wooden wings.

Rockne was the first American celebrity to die in a commercial airplane crash, and news of his death stunned a Depression-mired nation. The ensuing mourning was truly a national event.

Tens of thousands of people attended his funeral. The service was broadcast live via network radio.

But here’s the silver lining: The crash resulted in significant improvements in aircraft design, as manufacturers were suddenly put under pressure to build safer, all-metal airplanes.

Also named for Rockne in 1931 was Rockne, Texas. Several months after the crash, the local schoolchildren were asked to vote between the potential community names Rockne (for Knute Rockne) and Kilmer (for poet Joyce Kilmer):

The boys voted for the football coach and the girls voted for the poet resulting in a tie. The next day Edith Goertz changed her vote giving the community its name, “Rockne”.

So where does the surname Rockne come from? Originally spelled “Rokne,” it’s a habitational name that refers to the family’s farmland in Voss, Norway.


  • Coughlin, Dan. “Now He Tells Me.” Cleveland Leader 22 Oct. 2009.
  • Davies, Richard O. Sports in American Life: A History. 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
  • Marks, Paula Mitchell. “Rockne, TX.” Handbook of Texas Online. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  • Nelson, Marian H. Early History of Rockne, Texas.

Image: Knute Rockne, George Grantham Bain Collection, LOC

*A few years earlier, in 1929, a baby born in a Fokker Trimotor was named Airlene

French baby born on airplane, named Guynemer


Last year, 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.

Guynemer, Providence News, 1922

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.

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.

Image: Adapted from Air Canada Boeing 777-333ER by MarcusObal under CC BY-SA 3.0.

What would you name the first baby born in space?

Outer space; stars.

After all the excitement surrounding the re-entry of NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) 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?]