America by Air: Country Album Edition

Matt Kollasch
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Reader Matt sends a piece of Americana a couple times over:

This photo was made in 2005 between Waterloo, Iowa, and the Minnesota border. That trip took me Japan and Korea to take photographs for Camp Adventure (youth camps/programs) sites on U.S. military bases.

I recall Mesaba Airlines (Northwest Airlink) flew Saabs then. The plane looks to be a turbo prop Saab 340A [photo here]. The 340A’s engine is above the wing and the shape of the rear of the engine seems to match the one in my photo. I enjoyed these short rides to Minneapolis. The turbo-props gained altitude quickly and you seldom lost sight of earth, which was always interesting to watch.

My photo was used for the cover of a Brother Trucker album called The Flyover. [“Des Moines-based roots-rockers Brother Trucker finally present another heaping helping of their literate, soulful and cinematic brand of earthy, ‘pan-Americana’ music.”] When I took the photo, Joni Mitchell’s “Amelia” came to mind: “I dreamed of 747s / Over geometric farms.”