Great Moments in Travel History – September 2019

An Air Berlin aircraft in Miami

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 September 2019
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September marks the start of the meteorological autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the meteorological spring in the Southern.  The month gets its name from the Latin word for seven, septem. It was the seventh month in the oldest known Roman calendar in which March was the first month.

In Charlemagne’s calendar, September was called the “harvest month,” and it is called Herbstmonat in Switzerland to this day.

After January and February were added to the calendar ahead of March in a calendar reform, September became the ninth month, however it retained its name.

Here’s what happened in Septembers past.

The Wright brothers arrived in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on September 12, 1900, where they would begin their first season of glider experiments.

John Jacob Astor IV’s St. Regis hotel in New York City opened on September 4, 1904. The hostelry, which continues to operate to this day, is known for its iconic King Cole Bar, which features Maxfield Parrish’s “Old King Cole” painting that had been created for Astor’s short-lived Knickerbocker Hotel on Broadway. Astor perished in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

On September 1, 1910, Glenn H. Curtiss made a return flight over Lake Erie from Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, to Euclid Beach in Cleveland in an hour and forty-two minutes. While he did not break his August record for the longest flight over water, he did average 55 mph (88.5 km/h) in his biplane, securing the record for the reverse course.

The Roosevelt Hotel, named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt and located on Madison Avenue and 45th Street in Manhattan, welcomed its first guests on September 22, 1924. The hotel has appeared and been referenced in several major motion pictures and television shows, including “The French Connection,” “Wall Street,” “Maid in Manhattan,” “Man on a Ledge,” and “Mad Men.”

Two Douglas World Cruisers, named Chicago and New Orleans, completed an around-the-world flight on September 28, 1924. Originally, four aircraft had set out on the journey (the Boston and Seattle were the other two, but these crashed during the attempt), and only the two completed the trip.

On September 20, 1932, Douglas McDonnell was awarded a contract by TWA to build a prototype of the DC-1, a two-pilot, 12-passenger plane. The agreement also gave TWA options for 60 additional aircraft.

Air Canada’s predecessor, Trans-Canada Air Lines, inaugurated service carrying two passengers and mail between Vancouver and Seattle aboard a twin-engine Lockheed L-10A Electra on September 1, 1937.

On September 20, 1945, a converted British Gloster Meteor, the first operational British jet fighter and the only Allied jet fighter to see combat in World War II, made its first flight as the test bed for Rolls Royce Trent-engines that drove five-bladed propellers. The aircraft pioneered turboprop power and the one-off model was retired in 1948.

American Airlines Flight 723, a Convair 240, crashed on September 16, 1953, while on approach to Albany Airport in New York State. All 28 passengers and crewmembers perished.

September 17 marks the 110th anniversary of the first fatality incurred in a crash of a powered heavier-than-air aircraft when U.S. Army Signal Corps Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge died as the Orville Wright-piloted plane in which he was a passenger crashed.

On September 28, 1956, William Boeing died aboard his yacht, the Taconite. Boeing founded the Pacific Aero Products Co. in 1916, which would later become Boeing Airplane Company.

On September 18, 1959, the Douglas DC-8 entered service simultaneously with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. The aircraft was a four-engine, long-range, single-aisle jet airliner.

On September 11, 1966, Collett Everman Woolman, one of the four founders of Delta Air Lines, passed away. In 1928, Woolman purchased Huff Daland Dusters and renamed it Delta Air Service.

On September 30, 1968, the first Boeing 747 was rolled out during a ceremony at the company’s then-new assembly facility in Everett, Washington. The jumbo jet, the first wide-body ever produced, is one of the world’s most recognizable aircraft.

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 727 crashed into a mountain in the Tongass National Forest near Juneau, Alaska, on September 4, 1971. All 111 people on board perished in the crash.

On September 26, 1981, the Boeing 767-200 made its first flight. The jet entered service with United Airlines in 1982, and was the first aircraft to be used on transatlantic extended range twin-engine flights.

The Douglas Aircraft division of McDonnell Douglas delivered on September 15, 1982, its 2,000th jet airliner, a DC-10 built for United Airlines. The three-engine wide-body jet can carry as many as 380 passengers, depending on the individual airline’s configuration.

Click here to continue to Page 2Swissair Flight 111, Delta Files Bankruptcy 

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