Great Moments in Travel History – October 2012

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 October 2012
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William E. Boeing (left) in 1929

On October 1, 1881, Wilhelm  E. Boeing was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father was a wealthy German mining engineer also named Wilhelm Böing, but the son anglicized his name to “William Boeing,” after returning from his education in Switzerland to attend Yale in 1900.  Boeing went on to found the company bearing his name.

An estimated $5 to $10 million went into the planning, building, and furnishing of the Jefferson hotel in Richmond, Virginia, which opened its doors on October 31, 1895.  Richmond sculptor Edward V. Valentine created a life-size statue of the hotel’s namesake out of Carrara marble for the lobby.  Valentine borrowed and copied actual clothing worn by Thomas Jefferson to create the $12,000 statue, which took two years to complete.

On October 7, 1919, the Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij voor Nederland en Koloniën (KLM), or Royal Airline Company for the Netherlands and Colonies, was founded. Today, KLM is the world’s oldest airline still operating under its original name.

The Boeing Airplane and Transport Corporation was formed on October 30, 1928, to include both airline and aircraft manufacturing operations.  In September of 1934, the company split into three different units: United Aircraft Company, Boeing Airplane Company, and United Air Lines.

The B-29 Pacusan Dreamboat set a world record for nonstop, unrefueled distance traveled on October 4, 1946.  The record was 9,500 miles on a flight to Cairo, Egypt from Honolulu.

On October 13, 1955, launch customer Pan American World Airways ordered 20 Boeing Model 707 jet airliners, a move that would kick off the jet age when the aircraft went into service in 1958.

The Boeing Dash 80, a prototype for the 707, flew nonstop from Seattle to Washington, D.C. and back at average speeds of 592 and 597 mph (952.7 and 960.7  km/h) on October 16, 1955.  The flight broke all transcontinental records for a commercial aircraft.

On October 28, 1957, in Renton, Washington, the first production Boeing Model 707-120 jet airliner was rolled out.

Boeing won a $19.6 million contract to build the Lunar Roving Vehicle on October 28, 1969.

In an effort to reduce a surplus of seats and help stem their losses, Pan Am and TWA announced plans on October 16, 1974 to halt head-to-head competitions on dozens of routes between the United States and various points in Europe and Asia.

The Douglas DC-9 Super 80 twin-engine jetliner made its first flight on October 18, 1979.  The aircraft was the sixth basic model, and the largest of the DC-9 series.

On October 28, 1990, United Airlines purchased Pan Am’s London routes for $400 million.  Included in the deal were gateways at Los Angeles, New York, Washington, San Francisco, and Seattle, as well as numerous European cities.

United Airlines ordered 34 aircraft and optioned 34 more after the go-ahead was given for the Boeing 777 airliner on October 29, 1990.

On October 16, 2003, Boeing announced its decision to halt production of the 757 jetliner in late 2004.

The Monte Carlo Bay Hotel opened on October 1, 2005, in Monaco.  The hotel is a 10-acre peninsula garden with waterfalls and a solarium.

The former president of the Douglas Aircraft Company, Donald W. Douglas, Jr., died on October 3, 2007, at age 87.

The 1,050th and final Boeing 757 rolled off the production line on October 28, 2004, marking the completion of Boeing’s 757 commercial airline program.

Seven orders were placed for Boeing 787 VIP and 747-8 VIP jets on October 17, 2006, after Boeing announced Boeing Business Jet variants for these aircraft.

On October 4, 2007, the Charles Hotel, a Rocco Forte property, opened in Munich, Germany.  Sir Rocco’s father, the late Lord Charles Forte, is the namesake of the hotel.

Finally, on October 28, 2009, Boeing announced that the facility purchased from Vought Aircraft Industries in North Charleston, South Carolina, would be the location for a second final assembly site for the 787 Dreamliner program.  The first Dreamliner to be built and completed at the site rolled out on April 27, 2012.

(Photo: Los Angeles Times)

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