Great Moments in Travel History – February 2017

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 February 2017
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The Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California opened on February 19, 1888. At the time it was the largest resort hotel in the world, and to this day it is the second largest wooden structure in the United States and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Charles Alfred Anderson, the first African American to earn a commercial pilot’s license, was born on February 8, 1907.

Grand Central Terminal, the world’s largest train station, based on the number of platforms, opened on February 2, 1913. It replaced Grand Central Station, although, one hundred years later, people still call the structure by that name. It is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing over 21 million visitors per year, and features numerous restaurants, food shops, and retail establishments.

The first wholly Douglas-designed, Douglas-built aircraft, the Cloudster, made its inaugural flight on February 24, 1921. It was the first airplane to lift a useful load greater than its own weight.

On February 22, 1925, Geoffrey de Havilland took off from London in a DH.60 Moth constructed by his de Havilland Aircraft Company. The two-seat touring and training plane was made of wood with fabric-covered surfaces, and marked the start of a new age in light aviation.

The Douglas DC-1 made a record breaking coast-to-coast flight on February 19, 1934, from Los Angeles, California, to Newark, New Jersey, in 13 hours and four minutes. Only one model of the aircraft was ever produced, although it was the basis for later models.

The Douglas DC-5 made its first flight on February 20, 1939. Only 12 of the 16- to 22- seat twin-engine propeller aircraft were built, including five as commercial DC-5 transports, and seven as R3D military transports.

The luxurious Boeing Stratoliners were stripped of their civilian finery and pressed into military service as C-75s starting on February 26, 1942. The aircrafts’ first flights carried antitank ammunition and medical supplies to British forces in Libya.

The Civil Aviation Authority approved the use of ground control approach landing aids on February 4, 1949. The systems used radar to help direct pilots while landing in low visibility or bad weather conditions.

On February 8, 1949, a Boeing B-47 jet bomber set a transcontinental speed record, covering 2,289 miles (3,683 kilometers) in 3 hours and 46 minutes, at an average speed of 607.8 mph.

On February 15, 1961, Sabena Flight 548, a Boeing 707, crashed on approach to Brussels’ Zaventem Airport on its way from New York City. All 72 passengers, as well as one person on the ground, perished in the crash, as well as the entire United States Figure Skating Team that was on its way to the 1961 World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

The Douglas DC-9 twin-engine, narrow body airliner, designed for short and frequent service, made its first flight on February 25, 1965. The final deliveries of the aircraft were in 1982, after 976 units were produced. The DC-9 design evolved into the McDonnell Douglas MD-80, MD-90, and the Boeing 717. When production of the DC-9/MD80/MD90/717 family ceased in 2006, over 2,400 had been built.

All Nippon Airways Flight 60, a Boeing 727 en route from Sapporo Chitose Airport to Tokyo Haneda, crashed into Tokyo Bay on February 4, 1966. All 133 people onboard were killed in what was the worst single aircraft disaster up to that date.

On February 9, 1969, the Boeing 747-100 made its maiden flight. A total of 167 of the aircraft were manufactured.

Click here to continue to Page 2Contaminated Airline Food, 5,000th 737, and Train Crashes

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