To be the first woman military pilot in the history of his country. Istanbul Airport Sabiha Gokcen, Turkey

Sabiha Gökçen is a woman of interesting and unusual fate, so beloved in the country that the second largest airport near Istanbul was named after her. Sabiha Gokchen Airport was built near the city in 2001 in addition to the main Ataturk Airport. If you fly a low-cost airline such as Pegasus Airlines or Wizz Air, you can be sure that you will land at this airport.

Sabiha was born in 1913 in Bursa into a family of ethnic Bosnians. Her parents were killed during the genocide, and the girl was brought up in the House of the child. In 1925, Kemal Ataturk came there to visit – and immediately noted a 12-year-old girl with unusual sky-blue eyes. He took Sabiha with him to the Presidential Palace in Ankara and adopted him.

In 1934, after the introduction of the law on family names, the girl received from Ataturk the surname Gokchen – from the Turkish Gök – the sky. It is interesting that at that time Sabiha had nothing to do with aviation: her career began only in 1935. Then the 22-year-old girl visited the air show with Ataturk and wanted to fly. And Atatürk sent her to the USSR to study flight training with seven other students of the flight school.

In early 1936, Sabiha Gokchen entered the Turkish Academy of the Air Force, becoming the first woman in the country – a military pilot. It completed the first five-day flight around the Balkan countries after a couple of years, at the age of 25. And in total for his career in the Turkish Air Force Gokcen piloted 22 different types of aircraft for more than 8,000 hours. Of these, 32 hours were sorties. Gokchen was devoted to Atatürk until the end of her days, and even wrote a book on his centenary entitled “Life on the Path of Atatürk”.

Become a jazz legend. New Orleans Louis Armstrong Airport, USA

In the world, there are several airports, whose names are associated with music, but usually, we are talking about famous composers – Mozart, Chopin, Liszt. However, the inhabitants of New Orleans, of course, could not help but commemorate one of their most famous inhabitants. So the airport, located 19 km from the city, is named after Louis Armstrong. It was named in 2001 for the centenary of the famous musician.

The airport is not striking in its size and consists of only one modest terminal with four lounges – but everything will change in May 2019, when they open a new large terminal. In general, and today the airport has good passenger ratings: they say it is interesting for its festive decor, and sometimes live music is played in the halls.

Louis Armstrong himself needs no introduction – the famous jazz trumpeter and vocalist, who had a great influence on the development of jazz music and its popularization all over the world. Surely one of his most famous songs, “What a wonderful world” or “Let my people go”, has already played in your head.

Louis was born in one of the poorest areas of New Orleans in a dysfunctional family and at an early age moved to his grandmother. At the age of seven, he began helping around the house the family of Karnofsky immigrant Jews, who eventually sheltered him and later gave money to buy the first musical instrument, the cornet.

And, strangely enough, the musical fate of the boy predetermined the correctional camp for teenagers, where the twelve-year-old Louis got for shooting from a stolen gun on the street. There, the future musician played the tambourine and clarinet in the orchestra, received a musical education and decided that he would become a musician. How it ended, we all know perfectly well – Chicago, New York, jazz ensembles and, finally, still the lifetime title of a jazz legend.

Invent something important. Milan Linate International Airport Enrico Forlanini, Italy

The second largest airport of Milan, which receives domestic flights and international low-cost airlines, is named after Enrico Forlanini – not too famous in the world but leaving a huge mark on the hearts of Milan’s inventor.

Forlanini, born in Milan, designed his entire adult life by flying machines – balloons, airships, and aeroplanes. He also came up with a hydrofoil, which was successfully tested in 1905, and in 1909 built a dirigible balloon called the “Leonardo da Vinci”. Surely the famous Italian would be proud of his follower.

Forlanini is best known in the world for the world’s first model of a helicopter with a steam engine, which he designed in 1877. The device, of course, had little in common with modern helicopters, at least because during the flight it rotated in the direction opposite to the rotation of the upper propeller (but, of course, at a lower speed). True, the pilots didn’t have time to spin their heads: the flight duration was up to 20 seconds. Such a helicopter could climb to a height of 13 meters.

Italians themselves consider Enrico the pioneer of aviation, worthy of the name of the whole airport, the second largest in Milan and the closest to the city – just 7 km from the centre. If you want to visit him personally, keep in mind that in 2019 it will close for three months, from July 27 to October 27. During this time, the runway will be updated. And the only terminal will be reconstructed later, in several stages – however, it is not necessary to close the airport.

Become a great writer. Heraklion “Nikos Kazantzakis” International Airport, Greece

If you have ever flown to Crete, you must have been at this airport – and you may have wondered who Nikos Kazantzakis is, whose name he bears. Meanwhile, this is one of the largest authors of the XX century and a classic of new Greek literature.

In Russia, his works are not very well known. Meanwhile, he travelled extensively in our country in the 1920s, communicated with Gorky, was fond of the ideas of communism and supported Lenin. At the same time, Kazantzakis did not join any parties and remained a deeply religious person, and at one time he was even fond of Buddhism and wrote a novel about the Buddha, which later influenced the works of Osho.

Many works of the writer were filmed. The contemporary viewer is probably familiar with the film The Last Temptation of Christ, shot in 1988 by Martin Scorsese and starring Willem Dafoe. The book of the same name, by the way, brought Kazanzakis many problems: for it he was condemned by the Greek Church and the Vatican and died in exile.

The death of Kazantzakis was a tragic accident: on the way to Japan he, along with other passengers of the flight, was vaccinated against Asian flu, but the drug caused blood poisoning. By that time, the writer’s body had already been weakened, and as a result, in 1957 Kazantzakis died of leukaemia. He is buried at the city wall of Heraklion because the church refused to bury him in a cemetery. The inscription on his tombstone, made at the request of the writer himself, says: “I don’t hope for anything. I’m not afraid of anything. I am free”.

Today, the name of Kazantzakis is the airport of Heraklion, the second largest passenger traffic in Greece (the first, of course, Athens). It serves regular and seasonal charter flights.

Become a pope. Krakow-Balice International Airport named after John Paul II, Poland

The second largest airport in Poland received the name of one of the most beloved pontiffs in the nation, Pope John Paul II, in 1995.

King Jozef Wojtyla was born in the city of Wadowice near Krakow in 1920. In his youth, he dreamed of becoming a professional actor. At the same time, the young man was religious, but when asked if he wanted to become a priest, he answered that he was not worthy of it. However, much has changed in the 40s: the occupation of Poland and the death of the father (the last relative left alive by that time) convinced a twenty-year-old youth that God was preparing him for his path. In 1946, at the age of 26, he has ordained a priest and went to Rome to continue his theological education.

He was elected Pope of Rome in 1978 at the age of 58, becoming one of the youngest pontiffs in history. He also became the first pope of non-Italian origin for 455 years and the first in the entire history of the Pope of Slavic origin. By the duration of the pontificate – 27 years – John Paul II is second only to Apostle Peter and Pope Pius IX. He adopted the name from his predecessor, John Paul I.

Immediately after being elected, John Paul II showed that he did not want to be like his predecessors: he refused the coronation ceremony, did not wear the papal tiara and said “I” about himself, and not “we”, as was customary in previous Vatican heads. Today he is considered one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century.

After his death in 2005, almost immediately began to talk about the fact that John Paul II is worthy to be canonized. For this, two confirmed facts of a miracle that happened with the assistance of the canonized are necessary – and they happened. John Paul II was canonized in 2014 by Pope Francis.

Become the best footballer in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport, Funchal, Portugal

Madeira International Airport, one of the largest in Portugal, was renamed in 2016 – and is now officially called Cristiano Ronaldo Airport. A football player in their homeland is very much loved, hence the honour.

By the way, Madeira Airport is not only known for its modern name: at one time it was among the ten most complex airports in the world. The fact is that for the landing approach it was necessary to send the plane to the mountains and at the last moment to change course sharply in order to get to the runway. But these difficulties ended in 2000 when the strip was completed.

About Cristiano himself today, probably, everyone knows, even if not interested in football. Winner of 25 different trophies for the games played for various teams and the Portuguese national team, three times recognized as the best football player of the world by FIFA version, the best club football player by UEFA, winner of two FIFA golden balls … In general, only transferring all the regalia of thirty-three-year-old football player will take several paragraphs. One thing is clear: the name Ronaldo has already gone down in history, and he is still far from completing his career.

By the way, about the name. Ronaldo is not a football player’s last name, as you might think (it sounds like this: Santos Aveiro dos), but a middle name given to Cristiano at birth. By the way, very rare for Portugal: the boy was named after Ronald Reagan, whose father was a fan. Father partly influenced the life of Cristiano: he worked in the amateur football team “Andorinha”, where he brought his son. Further known – a contract with the Lisbon “Sporting”, the transition to “Manchester United”, the Portuguese national team, “Real Madrid”, “Juventus”. Even those who are not too fond of Ronaldo himself admit that he is one of the best football players of all time.

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