Great Moments in Travel History – April 2015

A Boeing 737 in American Airlines old livery and a Boeing 787 Dreamliner

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 April 2015
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The Fairmont Hotel San Francisco was ready to open, when on April 18, 1906, the city suffered a devastating earthquake.  Fires from the quake consumed much of the property, and the hotel had to be reconditioned before reopening exactly one year later.  The property is still in operation today, and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America.

On April 24, 1909, Wilbur Wright brought along a photojournalist on a flight near Rome, Italy. The first motion pictures ever shot in-flight aboard an airplane were filmed during this flight.

The Saint Paul Hotel, dubbed “St. Paul’s Million-Dollar Hotel,” opened on April 18, 1910, in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The hotel is still in operation today and over the years has hosted such notable guests as James J. Hill (the builder of the Great Northern Railway), Charles Lindberg, Gene Autry, and John F. Kennedy.

The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917, with a declaration of war on Germany.

The Loughead brothers flew their F-1 seaplane from Santa Barbara, California to San Diego on April 12, 1918.  The brothers would later go on to found Lockheed.

On April 7, 1922, the first mid-air collision of airliners in history occurred near Picardie, France.  A Havilland DH.18A, operated by Daimler Hire Ltd, collided with a Farman F.60 Goliath, operated by Compagnie des Grandes Express Aériens, resulting in the death of all seven occupants aboard both aircraft.

On April 6, 1924, four Douglas World Cruisers (named Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, and Seattle) began the first successful flight around the world, departing from Sand Point near Seattle, Washington. The Seattle crashed in Alaska on April 30, and the Boston was irreparably damaged while crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The NewOrleans and Chicago completed the journey, arriving successfully in Seattle on September 28, 1924.

Henry Ford started the first commercial flights to operate on a regular schedule on April 13, 1925, transporting airmail between Detroit and Chicago. Earlier that year, he formed the Ford Air Transport Service and was awarded the Chicago-Detroit and Cleveland-Detroit airmail routes.

On April 12, 1928, Hermann Köhl, Gunther von Hunefeld, and James Fitzmaurice successfully completed the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic from East to West in a Junkers W33.  The trio flew from Baldonnel, Ireland to Greenly Island, Canada, in approximately 36 hours.

The Sakuragichō train fire occurred on April 24, 1951, in Yokohama, Japan, when a train hit a loose overhead wire on its approach to Sakuragichō Station.  The accident resulted in a fire that caused 92 injuriesand the death of 106 people.

The Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada opened on April 20, 1955.  Still in operation today, the hotel is one of the oldest resort casinos in Las Vegas and has been featured in prominent films such as Ocean’s Eleven, Casino, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, 21, and The Hangover.

The McDonnell and Douglas companies merged on April 28, 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas Corp. with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.  James S. McDonnell became chairman and chief executive officer, and David S. Lewis served as president, while Donald W. Douglas was named honorary chairman of the board and served as “Founder-Consultant.”

The Boeing 737 made its first flight on April 9, 1967.  The 737 is the only Boeing narrow-body airliner still in production.  A new version, the Boeing 737 Max is scheduled to fly in 2017.

Click here to continue to Page 2Howard Hughes, Juan Trippe, and the end of the 707

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