Great Moments in Travel History – June 2014

United Airlines became the world's second largest airline in 1961

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 June 2014
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On June 23, 1905, the Wright Flyer III made its first flight, piloted by Orville Wright.  The Flyer was the third powered aircraft the Wright Brothers had built, 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.  The hotel remained open for 76 years, entertaining famous figures such as 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 notable guests as Queen Elizabeth 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. B & W 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 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, 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.

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 President 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 nautical miles per hour.  One knot is approximately 1.151 miles per hour.

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 a total of 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 that position.

On June 26, 1963, Hilton Hotels’ founder and world-famous hotelier Conrad Hilton officiated over the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the New York Hilton Midtown, believed to be the largest hotel in Manhattan.  Today, the building itself 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 such famous guests 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).

Click here to continue to Page 2777 Speed Records, Ufa Train Disaster, Boeing 767 Freightliner, and Air France 447

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