In the winter of 1951, Alfred Eliasson’s company, Icelandic Airlines, was about to go under. The founder and his executive team had decided to pull out of the transatlantic market just a few months prior, after established carriers like Pan-Am proved to be tougher competition than expected. Low domestic demand in Iceland, a country of just 200,000 inhabitants at the time, also proved to be a challenge. By December of 1950, the airline known as Loftleiðir in Icelandic had only one scheduled route. It was between the capital city of Reykjavik and a small group of islands off Iceland’s east coast. ... That year, most of the company’s revenue came from odd jobs that Eliasson scraped together. He spotted schools of fish from the sky for local fisherman and shipped cargo for local businesses. By New Year’s it appeared the six-year-old airline would have to fold.