Great Moments in Travel History – November 2015

By Jesse Sokolow on 31 October 2015
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On November 21, 1783, the first free flight with human passengers took place in France.  Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent le Vieux d’Arlandes drifted approximately five miles (eight kilometers) in a hot-air balloon powered by a wood fire.

The Hotel Kämp in Helsinki, Finland, opened its doors on November 1, 1887.  The hotel is still in operation today, and is part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection of hotels.

The first flight in a rigid airship was made by Ernst Jägels on November 3, 1897. The all-aluminum aircraft reached an altitude of 80 feet (24 meters), proving that metal-framed airships could become airborne.

Delag, which stands for Deutsche Luftschiffahrts Aktiengesellschaft (German Airship Travel Corporation), the world’s first airline was founded on November 16, 1909.  Headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, the airline operated airships manufactured by the Zeppelin Corporation.

The first municipal airport in the U.S. opened in Tucson, Arizona, on November 20, 1919, and it remains in operation today as Tucson International Airport.

Finnair, the flag carrier of Finland, was founded on November 1, 1923, by Bruno Lucander, who previously had been in charge of Finnish operations for Aeronaut, an Estonian airline.  It is the country’s largest airline, and the fifth oldest airline in the world still in operation.

Qantas began scheduled service on November 2, 1922, with flights between Charleville and Cloncurry, Queensland, Australia. The airline is the third oldest in the world, after KLM and Avianca.

The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas, opened its doors on November 9, 1929.  The hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places, and was featured on an episode of the Travel Channel’s show Ghost Adventures. It closed in 1972.

Hawaii Airlines launched its first scheduled passenger service on November 11, 1929, as Inter-Island Airways.  The carrier changed its name on October 1, 1941.

On November 28-29, 1929, Commander Richard E. Byrd made the first flight over the South Pole in a Ford Trimotor piloted by Bernt Balchen and two American pilots. During this first expedition to Antarctica, Byrd established a base located on the Bay of Whales that he named Little America.

The Boeing B-29 Pacusan Dreamboat set a world nonstop distance record of 8,198 miles (13,193 kilometers) on a flight from Guam to Washington, D.C. on November 20, 1945.

On November 28, 1945, Pan American World Airways ordered 20 Boeing Stratocruisers (Model 377).  The aircraft was a commercial version of the C-97 military transport.

The Douglas DC-7 began service with American Airlines on November 4, 1953, allowing the company to offer coast-to-coast, nonstop service.  The DC-7 was the last piston-engine powered transport made by Douglas.

On November 15, 1956, a Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) Douglas DC-7C set a new distance record for commercial airliners when it flew 6,005 miles (9,664 kilometers) nonstop from Los Angeles to Stockholm, Sweden.  The aircraft followed the Arctic great circle route on the flight.

The Boeing 720 made its first flight on November 23, 1959. The plane was a four-engine narrow-body jet, and first entered service with United Airlines in July 1960. It was eventually replaced by the Boeing 727.

President John F. Kennedy dedicated Washington Dulles International Airport on November 17, 1962.

The first production Boeing 727-100 rolled out on November 27, 1962 and made its first flight on February 9, 1963. On November 3 of that year a Boeing 727 completed a 76,000-mile (122,310-kilometer) world tour, visiting 26 countries.  The aircraft is a mid-size, narrow-body three-engine jet.

On November 4, 1964, the first automatic blind landing was made, when a British European Airways Hawker Sidley Trident aircraft landed in heavy fog at London Heathrow.

One hundred and fifty six people perished on November 26, 1979, when PIA Flight 740 crashed shortly after takeoff from Jeddah International Airport (King Abdulaziz International Airport) in Saudi Arabia. The incident is the third deadliest crash involving a Boeing 707.

Click here to continue to Page 2Aircraft Bombs, Beginning of the 787, and the First Flight of the Gulfstream G650

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