Great Moments in Travel History – June 2016

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 June 2016
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On June 23, 1905, the Wright Flyer III, piloted by Orville Wright, made its first flight. The Flyer was the third powered aircraft built by the Wright Brothers and with the modifications they made, it achieved substantially greater performance than their previous two efforts.

The Hotel Utah opened its doors in downtown Salt Lake City on June 9, 1911. It remained open for 76 years, hosting such notable figures as U.S. presidents William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Warren G. Harding.

On June 15, 1915, the Lausanne Palace hotel opened in Lausanne, Switzerland. The elegant hotel, which will celebrate its one hundredth anniversary next year, has hosted such famed guests as Queen Elizabeth II of England, Rita Hayworth, the Shah of Iran, Charlie Chaplain, Orson Wells, Marilyn Monroe, the Rolling Stones, and Audrey Hepburn.

William Boeing took Bluebill, a single-engine seaplane and the first B & W aircraft, on its maiden flight on June 15, 1916. was the company name chosen by Boeing and his partner, Navy Lieutenant Conrad Westervelt.

The first non-stop flight from the continental U.S. to Hawaii took off on June 28, 1927. The military flight, which departed from Oakland, California, lasted 25 hours and 30 minutes, and was piloted by Lt. Lester Maitland and Albert Hangenberger.

On June 30, 1927, Boeing Air Transport, a predecessor of United Airlines, was founded to operate mail routes for the post office.

Captain Frank Hawks broke the west-to-east transcontinental speed record on June 2, 1933, flying from Los Angeles to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn in 13 hours, 26 minutes, and 15 seconds, in a Northrop Gamma 2A aircraft.

The Battle of Midway, which turned out to be a crucial victory for the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during WWII, began on the morning of June 3, 1942.

Sixty-one people perished on June 5, 1946, when fire swept through Chicago’s historic LaSalle Hotel. An additional 200 suffered injuries from smoke inhalation. When the hotel opened in 1909, it had advertised itself as being the “largest, safest and most modern hotel west of New York City,” and was host to such prominent guests as presidents William Howard Taft and Calvin Coolidge.

On June 26, 1946, the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy officially adopted the terms ‘knot’ and ‘nautical mile’ as the standard units for aeronautical speed and distance. A nautical mile is 6,076 feet (1,852 meters), and a knot is defined as one nautical mile per hour and is approximately 1.151 statute miles per hour.

The first international flight out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airpor took place on June 3, 1956, with an Eastern Airline flight to Montreal, Canada.

On June 30, 1956, a United Airlines Douglas DC-7 collided with a Trans World Airlines Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation over the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It was the first commercial airline disaster to result in over 100 fatalities – there were 128 casualties, with no survivors on either plane. In April 2014, the crash site was designated a National Historic Landmark.

United Airlines merged with Capital Airlines on June 1, 1961, becoming the world’s second largest airline after Aeroflot, and displacing American Airlines from the number two slot.

On June 26, 1963, Hilton Hotels’ founder Conrad Hilton officiated over the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the New York Hilton Midtown, the largest hotel in Manhattan. Today, the structure is the world’s 101st tallest hotel.

Astronaut Ed White became the first American to walk in space on June 3, 1965, during the four-day Gemini 4 mission.

The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel opened in Los Angeles on June 1, 1966. The hotel has seen famous guests such as Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavian revolutionary and statesman, Moshe Dayan, Israeli Minister of Defense, Prince Phillip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, and David Ben-Gurion first Prime Minister of Israel.

The Washington Plaza Hotel opened on June 29, 1969. Still open today, the property was the first luxury hotel to open in downtown Seattle since 1929, and was called one of Seattle’s seven wonders, along with Woodland Park Zoo, the Monorail, Pike Place Market, and the Space Needle.

The 1973 Paris Air Show crash took place on June 3, 1979 at the Paris Air Show. Fourteen people died when a Tupolev Tu-144, a supersonic (SST) passenger jet referred to as the Konkordski (for its resemblance to the Anglo-French Concorde) crashed at the show.

Los Angeles International Airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal opened on June 11, 1984.

On June 16, 1984, pilot Emily Warner and co-pilot Barbara Cook directed the first all-female commercial airline crew, on a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver to Lexington, Kentucky.

On June 23, 1985, a bomb exploded in the cargo hold of Air India Flight 182, causing the Boeing 747 to crash off the coast of Ireland, resulting in the death of all 307 passengers and 22 crewmembers. One passenger, an “M. Singh” had checked in but never boarded the flight, although his suitcase, which contained the bomb, was loaded onto the flight. Sikh extremists were later blamed for the incident, believed to have been acting in retaliation for the Indian government having attacked the Golden Temple in the city of Amritsar.

The Hilton Shanghai opened its doors on June 28, 1988. The 714-room property was the first hotel from an international chain to open in China. It has hosted numerous members of royalty and heads of state since then, in addition to many business travelers.

On June 4, 1989, the Ufa train disaster occurred on the Kuybyshev Railroad outside of Ufa in the western Soviet Union. Two trains, one carrying passengers back from vacation on the Black Sea, and the other taking passengers there, passed each other and caused sparks that ignited a flammable cloud that had been created by a pipeline leaking liquid natural gas. This resulted in an explosion that killed 575 people and injured 800, many of them children.

The Boeing 777 established a new speed record on June 11, 1995, on a flight from Seattle to the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, in nine hours and two minutes.

On June 26, 1995, Boeing’s board of directors authorized production of the 777-300. The aircraft is the world’s largest long-range twin-engine commercial airliner.

The Boeing 737-800 was unveiled outside the Renton, Washington, assembly plant on June 30, 1997. The aircraft is a stretch version of the 737-700, and replaced the 737-400.

On June 1, 2008, the ferry MV Princess of the Stars capsized in the Philippines on its way from Manila to Cebu City, when Typhoon Fengshen (also known as Typhoon Frank) passed through the region. On June 24, 2008, the Philippine Coast Guard reported that of the 862 passengers on board the ship, there were only 48 confirmed survivors, while 67 were confirmed dead, and 747 were missing.

On June 1, 2009, Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330-200, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro. All 228 people onboard died in what was the first fatal accident involving an A330, as well as the worst-ever incident involving an A330. The aircraft itself was not recovered until 2011 and examination of data from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder revealed that the crash occurred due to crew confusion over the loss of instrumentation with subsequent loss of aircraft control.

One hundred and sixty three people, including 153 onboard and 10 on the ground, were killed on June 3, 2012, when Dana Air Flight 992 crashed on approach to Lagos, Nigeria. The incident was the second deadliest crash in Nigeria, and the deadliest to involve an MD-83.

The Hoshinoya Okinawa Resort opened on Taketomi Island in Japan on June 30, 2012. The island is in the southernmost part of Japan, isolated from other islands in the archipelago, and is part of a national park.

Delta Air Lines acquired Singapore Airlines’ 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways on June 24, 2013.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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