Great Moments in Travel History – May 2013

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 May 2013
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Excelsior Hotel Ernst in Cologne, Germany

On May 16, 1863, the Excelsior Hotel Ernst opened in Cologne, Germany.  The hotel will celebrate its 150th anniversary this month.

The Chicago World’s Fair opened on May 1, 1893.  The fair transformed the landscape of the Midwestern city and introduced the world to the Ferris Wheel.

On May 18, 1919, talks at the first international conference on aerial navigation in Paris began to form a legal basis for flights between countries.

On May 30, 1912, Wilbur Wright died from typhoid fever at age 45.  His brother Orville lived to be 76, passing away on January 30, 1948.

The Regent Palace Hotel opened on May 16, 1915 in London, England.  With 1,028 guestrooms, the hotel was the largest in Europe at the time in terms of number of guestrooms.

On May 9, 1917, William Boeing changed the name of Pacific Aero Products to the Boeing Airplane Co.

For a $90 fare, Western Air Express’ first two passengers flew aboard a Douglas M-2 between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, on May 23, 1926.

On May 20, 1927, the Boeing Model 40A two-passenger mail plane made its first flight.  By June 15 of that year, 25 mail planes were ready to fly.

Ellen Church, a registered nurse, joined the crew of the Boeing Model 80A headed to San Francisco on May 15, 1930.  She was the first female flight attendant in history.

On May 11, 1934, the Douglas DC-2, a larger version of the DC-1, made its first flight.

A fire broke out at the Terminal Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia on May 16, 1938.  Thirty-five people lost their lives in the early morning blaze.

On May 7, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered, effectively ending the Second World War.

On May 4, 1949, a plane carrying Italy’s almost entire Torino A.C. football (soccer) team  crashed near Turin, Italy.  All 31 passengers, including 18 team members, were killed in what was known as the Superga air disaster.

On May 21, 1957, a Douglas DC-7C took off from Long Beach Municipal Airport in California for a record trans-continental and trans-Atlantic flight that retraced part of the route flown by Charles Lindbergh in 1927.  The aircraft flew 6,148 miles (9,894 kilometers) to Paris in 21 hours and 52 minutes, 12 hours less than it took Lindbergh to fly 3,625 miles (5,833 kilometers) across the Atlantic.

On May 30, 1958, the Douglas DC-8 made its first flight.  The aircraft was the first of the DC line to have jet engines.

At the Paris Air Show on May 29, 1969, French transport minister Jean Chamant signed an agreement with German economics minister Karl Schiller, officially launching the Airbus A300, the world’s first twin-engine widebody passenger jet.  The decision was the formal starting point of the Airbus program.

The Boeing Dash 80 was retired and donated to the Smithsonian Institution on May 26, 1972.  Only one of the aircraft was ever built.

On May 14, 1973, the McDonnell Douglas Skylab, the first U.S. space station, was launched into orbit.

Click here to continue to Page 2The First 777s, A 757 Milestone, and Dreamliner Final Assembly

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