Great Moments in Travel History – July 2012

By Paul Riegler on 1 July 2012
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On July 30, 1610, Galileo Galilei, an Italian astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, and physicist, first observed the rings of Saturn.  Galileo’s work was not without controversy as he was among the earliest to champion heliocentrism while the prevailing world view was geocentrism.  His work led to a better understanding of the solar system and enabled man to reach the moon, an event that took place on July 20, 1969 when the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Module landed on the Sea of Tranquility.

The U.S. Army tested its first airplane on July 27, 1909.  The flight, with Orville Wright at the controls, lasted over an hour took place with President Taft in attendance and was also witnessed by 10,000 spectators.

On July 6, 1919, Airship R-34, a British dirigible, completed the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. It flew from East Fortune, Scotland to Mineola, New York.  On July 9, it began its return voyage, landing in Norfolk, England.

The Boeing Model 80, a 12-passenger tri-motor biplane, made its inaugural flight on July 27, 1928.  The Model 80 soon became the 18-passenger Model 80A, which made its first flight a year later.

Douglas Aircraft’s first plane, the DC-1, made its maiden flight on July 1, 1933.  Douglas eventually merged with McDonnell Aircraft, which was founded by James S. McDonnell on July 6, 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Continental Airlines, now merged into United Airlines and then known as Varney Speed Lines, made its first flight on July 15, 1934.  There were no passengers on the 530-mile route from Pueblo, Colorado to El Paso, Texas. The aircraft carried U.S. mail.

Pan American Airways signed a contract with Boeing to build six Model 314 Clippers on July 21, 1936.

On July 13, 1939, Boeing delivered a Stratoliner to Howard Hughes.  On July 4, 1940, three Stratoliners started to fly on some of Pan American’s Latin American routes.  Four days later, the Trans World Airlines’ first Stratoliner flew from New York to Los Angeles in 12 hours and 18 minutes.

The first flight of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser took place on July 8, 1947.

Click here to continue to Page 2The First DC-10, Pan Am Sells its Routes, the First 787 Rolls Out

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