Flying High: Aviation in Popular Culture

deadline for submissions: 
April 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Popular Culture Research Network, Australia
contact email: 

Call for Papers

Flying High: Aviation in Popular Culture

Aviation Cultures Mark VII


PopCRN & Aviation Cultures are celebrating the 54th anniversary of the first lunar landings with a virtual conference exploring all things aviation in popular culture to be held online on Thursday 21st & Friday 22nd of July 2023.

The romance of aviation has been celebrated in popular culture for millennia. Greek myths tell us of Daedalus and Icarus who attempted to escape Crete with wings made from feathers and wax. Leonardo da Vinci sketched helicopters and parachutes. Jules Verne imagined trips to the moon. Leslie Nielsen asked Robert Hays not to call him Shirley. And For All Mankind explores an alternate history of the space race.

This conference aims to explore the impact of all things aviation in popular culture. If it flies (or fails to fly), whether it be from human endeavour or the natural world, mythology, or storytelling, this is the forum to present your work.

We welcome papers from researchers across the academic spectrum and encourage papers from postgraduate researchers and early career researchers.

Topics can include, but are not restricted to:

  • There is an art to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss – aviation in comedy
  • I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty – feminine constructions of aviation
  • I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years – the rapid transformation of aviation technology and its representations in popular culture
  • Aeronautics was neither an industry nor a science. It was a miracle – the wonder of flight in popular culture
  • You’re flying Buzz! No Woody we’re falling in style! – Aviation in children’s film and television
  • I think it is a pity to lose the romantic side of flying and simply to accept it as a common means of transport – the golden age of flying and the modern reality in popular culture
  • Helicopters don’t fly, they vibrate so badly the ground rejects them – popular understandings of how aircraft work
  • I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll back again – aircraft as symbols of geographical distance
  • Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman! – When superheroes take to the skies
  • I want $200,000 in unmarked 20-dollar bills. I want two back parachutes and two front parachutes – Hijacking, skyjacking and other crimes in the air
  • The Fastest Hunk of Junk in the Galaxy – space travel as a vehicle for popular storytelling
  • To boldly go where no man has gone before – Implied gender roles in aviation popular culture
  • Never was so much owed by so many to so few – the flying war hero in popular culture
  • It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, 'As pretty as an airport’ – airport architecture in popular culture
  • Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone? – The mystery of everyday flight in popular culture
  • The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it – fairies, dragons, griffins, and other mythological flying creatures
  • If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing – humans with wings in popular culture
  • There's only one job in this world that gives you an office in the sky; and that is pilot – representations of the aviation professional in popular culture
  • A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.........the step taken to climb the ladder which gets you into the airplane... – the ease and convenience of flight


Please email abstracts (200 words) to by 30th April 2023. Please include your name, affiliation, email address, title of paper and a short biography (100 words). Registration is free for everyone.