Great Moments in Travel History – March 2013
On March 10, 1910, William Boeing bought Heath’s Shipyard in Seattle, Washington. The shipyard, located on the Duwamish River, would become Boeing’s first airplane factory.
Le Canard (the Duck), the first powered seaplane, made its debut flight at La Mède harbor in Martigues, France, on March 28, 1910. Invented by Henri Fabre, the aircraft flew a distance of about 1,600 feet at a maximum height of 7 feet over the water. The aircraft was said to resemble a giant dragonfly flying backward.
The Boeing Model 204 (B-1E), a four-seat civilian flying boat, made its first flight on March 4, 1928. Ten of the aircraft, the last airplanes Boeing constructed specifically for private ownership by civilians, were built.
On March 25, 1932, the name “Aeroflot” was officially adopted as the abbreviation for the entire Soviet Civil Air Fleet.
The first of the famous Pan American Airways Clippers, the Sikorsky S-42 flying boat, flew for the first time on March 30, 1934. Considered the first American seaplane, it could carry up to 32 passengers and could fly as many as 1,200 miles at 190 miles per hour.
On March 18, 1939, the Boeing Model 307 Stratoliner prototype crashed, killing all 10 people on board. The accident resulted in the formation of an expanded aerodynamic research group that placed more emphasis on pre-flight testing.
On March 20, 1940, Boeing delivered Pan American Airways’ first Model 307 Stratoliners. The model was the first commercial aircraft to have a pressurized cabin.
Philippine Airlines’ first flight took place on March 15, 1941. The flight operated using a Beechcraft Model 18 NPC-54 aircraft.
In a dual ceremony, the first two Douglas DC-6 commercial airliners were delivered to American Airlines and United Air Lines on March 28, 1947.
On March 12, 1948, Northwest Airlines Flight 4422, which was returning to the U.S. from Shanghai, China, crashed into Mount Sanford in Alaska, killing all 30 onboard.
The Boeing Dash 80 flew from Seattle to Baltimore, Maryland at an average speed of 612 mph on March 11, 1957. Only one of the aircraft was ever built.
On March 9, 1967, Trans World Airlines Flight 553 collided with a Beechcraft Baron in midair over Urbana, Ohio, killing all people on board TWA’s DC-9. The collision prompted substantial changes in air traffic control procedures.
A fire was started by arsonists at the Ozark Hotel in Seattle, Washington, on March 20, 1970. The fire killed 20 people and seriously injured a further ten. The guilty culprits were never found.
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