Great Moments in Travel History – August 2013

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 August 2013
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On August 2, 1909, the U. S. Army purchased its first airplane, the Wright Flyer,

Ritz-Carlton, Vienna Club Lounge

Ritz-Carlton, Vienna Club Lounge

from the Wright brothers for $30,000. The price included a $5,000 bonus because the airplane exceeded the Army’s speed requirement of 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour).

Glenn Hammond Curtiss became the first American to claim the recognized absolute speed record at the world’s first air meet, the Grande Semaine d’Aviation in Reims, France, on August 23, 1909. He flew his Reims Racer biplane 43.385 miles per hour.

The recognized absolute speed record holder, Glenn Curtiss, established a record for longest flight over water on August 31, 1910, when he completed a course from Euclid beach in Cleveland, Ohio, to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Curtiss flew his biplane over Lake Erie parallel to the shore, and completed the trip in about one hour and fifteen minutes.

The first airmail delivered at sea came via the Aeromarine flying boat when it dropped a bag of mail on the deck of White Star Line’s Adriatic on August 14, 1919.

On August 18, 1934, Jeannette and Jean Piccard flew the “Century of Progress” balloon from Dearborn, Michigan to an altitude of 57,579 feet (17,550 meters), setting an altitude record for female balloonists that would hold for three decades. Jeannette Piccard was the first licensed female balloon pilot and the first woman to fly into the stratosphere.

On August 20, 1935, Boeing test pilot Les Tower flew the Model 299 aircraft nonstop from Seattle, Washington, to Dayton, Ohio, and established an unofficial record of flying 2,100 miles (3,379 kilometers) at an average speed of 232 miles per hour (373 kilometers per hour).

On August 13, 1940, a major airplane crash occurred near Canberra, Australia.  All ten people onboard the RAAF Lockheed Hudson bomber were killed in the crash, including three members of the Australian Cabinet and the Chief of the General Staff.

The last of the famous Douglas Skymasters to be built, DC-4 number 1,242, was delivered by Douglas Aircraft to South African Airways on August 11, 1947.

Pan American World Airways took delivery of the country’s first commercial jet airliner, a Boeing 707-120, on August 15, 1958, four months ahead of schedule. It began service in October of that year on a trans-Atlantic route.

The Douglas DC-10, the first “jumbo jet” from Douglas, made its first flight on August 29, 1970.  The aircraft is a three-engine widebody jet that can carry up to 380 passengers.

Click here to continue to Page 2Royal Air Maroc, Boeing’s 757, Air Force One, and the Ritz-Carlton

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