Great Moments in Travel History – November 2019

View of downtown Havana from the Malecón

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 November 2019
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November, the eleventh and penultimate month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, is the last full month of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the last full month of spring in the Southern. Originally the ninth month in the calendar of Romulus, November retained its name, which is derived from the Latin “novem” or “nine.”

In the United States, November is the month of the Thanksgiving holiday, a national day of giving thanks for the harvest and the preceding year.  November also represents the end of Daylight Saving Time in the United States, on the third; Winter Time in Europe started the prior week.

Meanwhile, here’s what happened in Novembers past.

Robert Esnault-Pelterie, a French aviation pioneer, was born on November 8, 1881. He developed the idea of ailerons, which allow “banking” of fixed-wing aircraft around the fuselage’s longitudinal axis and are essential in making turns when aloft.

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 gas-filled all-aluminum aircraft crated and built by David Schwarz reached an altitude of 80 feet (24 meters), proving that metal-framed airships could become airborne.

The world’s first airline, Delag, which stands for Deutsche Luftschiffahrts Aktiengesellschaft, or German Airship Travel Corporation, 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 United States opened in Tucson, Arizona, on November 20, 1919. It remains in operation today as Tucson International Airport.

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

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 building 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 scheduled passenger service on November 11, 1929, as Inter-Island Airways. The carrier assumed its current 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, powered by four 28-cylinder Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major radial engines, was a commercial version of the C-97 military transport and only 55 were built for airline use.

On November 15, 1956, a Scandinavian Airlines System 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.

Click here to continue to Page 2The first 727, Dulles Airport Opens, and Daily Service to Havana

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