On February 18, 2015 you may say, “When cows fly. . .” instead of
the usual expression which includes another livestock animal- pigs.
Why? Because Elm Farm Ollie, a Guernsey cow engaged in an
experiment in seeing how a cow would do up in an airplane while
she was being milked.
Nellie Jay was her farm name and she became famous and known as,
“Elm Farm Ollie” while she traveled on a trip of 72 miles on the
It left Bismarck, Missouri to arrive at St. Louis, Missouri.
Later, her special (show) nickname became, “Sky Queen.”
(Not to be mixed up with the “Dancing Queen.”)
On February 18 of 1930, scientists and a publicity stunt combined
in efforts to discover if placing a cow up on an airplane and milking
her would change her ability to produce milk. Nellie was already
celebrated among neighboring farms in Bismarck, Missouri. She
was known to produce enough milk to be milked three times daily.
Nellie Jay’s productivity added up to 24 quarts a day!
On Nellie Jay’s adventure of her lifetime, not only did she have to
endure flying, but a stranger named Elsworth W. Bunce was her
Elsworth was to become renowned as the,
“First man who ever milked a cow mid-flight.”
Another incredulous detail of this flying cow story were the results.
She was able to be milked efficiently, the milk was sealed in paper
cartons, parachuted down to earth and she had a famous person
drink her milk: Charles Lindbergh.
Rumor has it that Lindbergh reportedly received and drank a glass
of Elm Farm Ollie’s air-dropped milk.
There are some really quaint and precious photographs of this
patient, easygoing cow. She is giving rides to little children wearing
bonnets while riding on her back.There may even be a cowboy hat
on one of the children.
Also, there is a sweet painting of Nellie Jay, as her Elm Farm owners
affectionately called her. The painting is labeled as, “Elm Farm Ollie,”
which was painted by E. D. Thalinger. (No, that is NOT J.D. Salinger,
the author pronounced by someone with a lisp!)
“Time Magazine” wrote two articles about air shows late that
winter of 1930. But there is no mention any cows taking airplane
The dates were coincidentally close to the time of the ‘trail blazing
event:’ February 24, 1930 and March 3, 1930.
What could have possibly been more exciting or entertaining for
“Time Magazine” to write about, if not the amazing Nellie Jay,
otherwise known as Elm Farm Ollie or Sky Queen?
Do you think they should use this somehow in the “Got Milk”
Had you ever heard of this hilarious scientific dairy story?
Although the facts were collected from articles in Wikipedia
and online, this is an original essay by reocochran (2/16/15).