Great Moments in Travel History – August 2021

An American Airlines Boeing 757 in special oneworld livery

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 August 2021
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August, a holiday month for a good part of the world, is tied with July for the hottest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

It is the eighth month of the year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is named after Augustus, a Roman statesman who was the first ruler of the Roman Empire. The month was originally named Sextilis because it was the sixth month of the ten-month Roman calendar. The current name was chosen by Augustus because several of his greatest triumphs including the conquest of Egypt took place during this month.

August, is the time many Europeans, some Americans, and almost all psychiatrists go on holiday, although the August climate in the Southern Hemisphere is the equivalent of February in the northern. Paris is typically cited as being a ghost town as restaurants, bakers, cheese, and fruit shops among others are typically closed for much of the month.

Here’s what happened in Augusts past.

On August 4, 1908, Wilbur Wright made the first flight ever using stick controls. The flight lasted for a minute and 45 seconds.

Harriet Quimby became, on August 2, 1911, the first woman in the United States to be licensed as a qualified pilot.

The International Air Traffic Association was formed on August 28, 1919, in The Hague, Netherlands. The organization was the predecessor to the International Air Transport Association, which today represents over 240 airlines that make up approximately 84% of all airlines’ passenger carrying capacity.

On August 20, 1935, Boeing test pilot Les Tower flew the Model 299 aircraft nonstop from Seattle, Washington, to Dayton, Ohio, and established an unofficial record of flying 2,100 miles (3,379 kilometers).

On August 13, 1940, a major airplane crash occurred near Canberra, Australia. All ten people aboard the RAAF Lockheed Hudson bomber perished in the crash, including three members of the Australian Cabinet and the Chief of the General Staff.

Scandinavian Airlines, known across the globe as SAS, was founded on August 1, 1946. The flag carrier of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, the airline was created via a merger of Swedish airline Svensk Interkontinental Lufttrafik, Norway’s Det Norske Luftfartselskap, and Det Danske Luftfartselskab of Denmark.

The last of the famous Douglas Skymasters to be built, DC-4 number 1,242, was delivered by Douglas Aircraft to South African Airways on August 11, 1947.

Pan American World Airways took delivery of the country’s first commercial jet airliner, a Boeing 707-120, on August 15, 1958, four months ahead of schedule. Clipper America, as the aircraft was nicknamed, entered service in October of that year on a flight, with 111 passengers on board, from New York’s Idlewild airport (currently JFK International) to Le Bourget in Paris, France, with a refueling stop in Gander, Newfoundland. The 707 remained in production through 1979 and is credited with having ushered in the jet age.

The Douglas DC-10, the first jumbo jet from Douglas, made its first flight on August 29, 1970, and officially entered into service (with launch customer American Airlines) on August 5, 1971. The tri-jet wide-body aircraft carried up to 380 passengers.

Northeast Airlines merged with Delta Air Lines on August 1, 1972. The former first began operations in 1934.

The Königs Wusterhausen air disaster occurred on August 14, 1972, when an Interflug Ilyushin II-62 crashed shortly after takeoff from Berlin Schönefeld Airport in Germany. All 156 people onboard the plane died, in what was the second deadliest aviation accident at the time, and remains the deadliest aviation accident in Germany.

On August 3, 1973, the Grand Central Hotel, located on Broadway between Bond Street and Great Jones Street in New York City, collapsed, killing four and injuring twelve. Designed by Henry Engelbert, the hotel opened in 1870 and featured an elegant façade with elaborate mansards with dormers in the French Second Empire style.

Chautauqua Airlines, now part of Republic Airways, began operations on August 1, 1974 with a flight from Jamestown, New York, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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