- “Whistlestop Jackson, greatest aviator of his day, hero to millions... A flying ace with talents in spades... A barnstormer extraordinaire... A legend in his own time.”
- ―Movietoon Newsreel
Role in the episode
A hero to an entire generation, his name represented not just exceptional flying skill, but that of the highest order: one which carried with it the honor and grandeur of the early pioneers of the sky. Whistlestop's legacy was famous to millions of people all over the world — the legacy of the barnstorming pilot to whom adventure and heroism were all part of the day's work.
Whistlestop Jackson's meteoric rise to fame occurred nearly 20 years previous, during the Great War. Jackson did not see as much air combat as other aces but made his mark nonetheless. This was a true golden age of aviation. The chivalry and honor of the war flyers gave them a high standing, as the dashing image of the adventurous fighter pilot began to appear in the movies and radio. Pilots of this era were held as heroes in the eyes of the public, and Jackson was fortunate enough to be one of them.
Unlike his contemporaries, Jackson made his mark as a pioneering aviator rather than as a fighter pilot. Setting out from home in his trusty biplane, Jackson traveled around the world in search of adventure. His relentless globe-trotting, known as "whistlestopping", soon earned Jackson his famous nickname. His heroic exploits and barnstorming escapades — brought to life through comic books and filmed footage — captured the hearts of the public, and before long, "Whistlestop" Jackson was a hero to millions.
Whistlestop Jackson's following was anything but small. People clamored for his autograph, officials jostled to stand next to him at public events, and a generation of young children thrilled to the newsreels documenting Jackson's larger-than-life adventures. In an age where pilots were heroes, Jackson had made himself immortal in the hearts of countless millions. The whole world had begun to revolve around this flyer, and it didn't take long for this to occur to Jackson as well.
Wary of public attention at first, Whistlestop considered himself just an ordinary pilot doing his job. Over time, however, he became accustomed to his immense popularity, eventually reveling in it. Being the center of the world's interest, Whistlestop played his role to the hilt. He could seldom resist the urge to flash a smile and let out his familiar jaunty laugh, or toss a gallant salute with his red scarf perpetually flapping in the wind. As his ego grew as large as the legend itself, it was only a matter of time before Whistlestop made a mistake.
The Usland government, to encourage development in public services, extended a lucrative mail contract to independent pilots and business owners. Competition over the contract was fierce, but a young aviation executive managed to land the deal and obtain the rights to the contract. However, Whistlestop Jackson was also one of the participants in the bid for the mail deal. Through some way or other — perhaps on the strength of his prestige — Jackson convinced the government to overturn their existing agreement and award him the contract instead. Unbeknownst to him, the executive he had beaten was young Shere Khan, a rising figure in the aviation industry. The humiliation of his defeat aroused in Khan a burning hatred for Jackson's flair, sparking a bitter rivalry between the two.
For Whistlestop, however, this victory was among his last. Years had passed since the Great War ended, and aviation had progressed by leaps and bounds. Newer, more sophisticated aircraft were hitting the skies, causing war-era aircraft — and their pilots — to become outdated. Not even the famous Whistlestop Jackson could escape these effects, and soon he was in a world filled with modern cargo planes and airships. Whistlestop's heyday had passed. Struggling to cope with changing times and fancier aircraft, he found himself fading out of the public eye as quickly as he had appeared.