Aviation History




Barbara Harmer was the first qualified female pilot for legendary supersonic jet Concorde. Her journey from hairdresser to the cockpit of the world’s fastest airliner was testament to her extraordinary determination.

When she was just 15, Barbara Harmer decided to leave the convent school she was attending in the English seaside town of Bognor Regis. Yet to discover her passion of flying, she began a career as a apprentice hairdresser. But after five years, she realised she wanted more excitement in her life.

Harmer left hairdressing behind and went to work as a trainee air traffic controller at Gatwick Airport. She also began to take flying lessons and after five years, she obtained her private pilot’s licence. One bank loan and several years’ hard work later, she qualified as a commercial pilot aged 29.

The hard work didn’t stop there, though: it took no fewer than 100 applications before Harmer found her first pilot’s job. In 1984, she joined British Caledonian Airways, for whom she flew BAC One-Elevens for three years, before progressing to the long-haul McDonnell Douglas DC-10.

In 1987, British Caledonian merged with British Airways and five years later Harmer earned her place in the record books as the first woman chosen to undergo the intensive six-month conversion course for Concorde.

After successfully completing the course, Harmer became the first qualified female Concorde pilot and made her maiden supersonic flight from London to New York in 1993. Eight years later, Air France pilot Béatrice Vialle became the second of only two women to ever fly Concorde on regular scheduled services.


Flying the legendary jet was a particular challenge. The aircraft used afterburners at take-off and to quickly gain altitude. After that, the afterburners were switched off to keep noise on the ground to a minimum. They were only switched on again at very high altitude to go supersonic and accelerate to the top speed of up to Mach 2.

During cruising without using the afterburners, the high speed left very little time for navigation. The final descent before touchdown had to be precisely timed, as Concorde’s delta wings had no flaps.


Between them, Barbara Harmer and Beatrice Vialle made 35 trips between Paris, London and New York. “There’s nothing else like it in the world,” she once said about Concorde. “Even pilots stop and stare. It has an aura about it.”

But British Airways and Air France withdrew Concorde from service in 2003, leaving Harmer to fly long-haul flights for British Airways until the end of her active flying career. It was then she dedicated herself to her second passion – sailing.


She took part in international sailing events, won several races and had intended to take part in many more. However, Harmer succumbed to cancer in 2011, aged just 57.

Shortly after her death, her husband, Andrew Hewett, told British newspaper The Argus: “We will wait for a nice summer evening and scatter her ashes from a Tiger Moth plane flown by our friend Captain Les Brodie, who landed the last ever Concorde flight. We will distribute the ashes … into the sea at the foot of her garden. Barbara was a keen sailor and wanted to be spread over the ocean. This will combine her two great passions.”


Credit to: Peter Pletschacher | http://company.airbus.com


Few aviation notables are as instantly recognizable or revered as Neil Armstrong, who grew up as an Ohio native captivated by the feats of the Wright brothers. The soft-spoken man who would go on to take that “one small step” became enthralled with aviation at a young age, experiencing his first airplane ride in a Ford Trimotor when he was six years old. He went on to get his pilot’s license at the age of only 15, before he even had his driver’s license. He served as a U.S. Navy pilot during the Korean War and later as a test pilot, manning such high-speed aircraft as the Bell X-1B and the X-15. Armstrong was officially moved to astronaut status in 1962 and made his first space flight as the commanding pilot of Gemini 8 in 1966. He would make his most memorable achievement a little more than three years later, as hundreds of millions of people around the world raptly watched the live footage as he became the first man ever to step foot on another world. As incredible and stunning as that feat is, perhaps equally compelling is the humility and modesty that marked Armstrong’s demeanor throughout his life. He once said, “I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer,” and he continually credited others for the success of Apollo 11.


Credit to: https://www.flyingmag.com/


While it’s become synonymous with the blue and white jetliner stamped with the words “United States of America,” Air Force One is actually a call sign applied to any aircraft carrying the American president. The name was created following an incident in 1953, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s plane found it was using the same call sign—“8610”—as a nearby Eastern Airlines commercial flight. Yet while Eisenhower was the first chief executive to travel aboard a plane designated “Air Force One,” he was neither the first to fly nor the first to have his own airplane.

The history of presidential aviation dates back to 1910, when former commander in chief Theodore Roosevelt enjoyed a brief spin in a Wright biplane. (He described the trip as “the bulliest experience I ever had.”) Thirty-three years later, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first sitting president to take to the skies after he traveled to a World War II conference in Morocco aboard a Boeing 314 Clipper flying boat. FDR also made use of the first official presidential aircraft, a modified Douglas C-54 Skymaster. The plane was nicknamed the “Sacred Cow” and included a special elevator to lift the president and his wheelchair aboard.

Since Roosevelt, every chief executive has flown on dedicated presidential airplanes. Harry Truman began his tenure with the “Sacred Cow”— he even signed a 1947 law establishing the Air Force as a distinct military branch while aboard—but he also used a military version of a DC-6 dubbed the “Independence.” Dwight D. Eisenhower later became the first president to employ a jet aircraft in 1959, and in 1962, John F. Kennedy took the maiden flight in a Boeing 707 decked out in Air Force One’s distinctive blue and white color scheme. The following year, Lyndon B. Johnson famously took the oath of office aboard the jet after Kennedy’s assassination.

The presidential air fleet now consists of two modified Boeing 747-200B jetliners known as SAM 28000 and 29000. The planes have been in service since 1990, but are scheduled for replacement in the near future.


Credit to: Elizabeth Nix | https://www.history.com/


The machine that made the first successful flight in a heavier-than-air powered aircraft may be the most important airplane of all time. But don’t forget, the Wright Brothers achieved an unprecedented level of airmanship—and marketing—that went far beyond those first few minutes aloft on the beaches of Kitty Hawk.


The Wrights’ use of wing warping to achieve bank, in coordination with yaw from the rudder, allowed their craft to be properly controlled. This concept is still used on virtually every plane in the air today.


Not satisfied with being first in flight, the brothers spent many years unsuccessfully attempting to sell their invention, specifically to the U.S. and European governments as military vehicles.

They went on a public tour instead, and nearly five years after their first flight, Wilbur Wright became world famous overnight after a public showing at the flying field in LeMans, France, in 1908 before a very skeptical audience.


This performance inspired an aviation revolution across Western Europe that would lead to rapid advancement in the understanding and development of powered flying machines.


Credit: https://www.popularmechanics.com/


An Enduring Mark In Aircraft History Altitude, Winter, 2009

The restoration of the Fairchild Super 71, registration CF-AUJ, is a major achievement for the Western Canada Aviation Museum because it preserves for posterity a unique and important aircraft in Canadian aviation history.
The Fairchild Super 71 is an important aircraft because it was the first aircraft designed in Canada for bush operations and the first to be built by a Canadian company. The Super 71 also incorporated new and leading-edge concepts in its design.

CF-AUJ is unique for another reason – it was the only civil model ever built and therefore the only Super 71 to fly in commercial service.

The completion of the restoration this year is a tribute to all the members of the restoration shop who persevered at the project for more than 12 years.


History: The Short Version

CF-AUJ was built in 1934 at the Longueuil, Quebec, plant of Fairchild Aircraft Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of Fairchild Aviation Corp. CF-AUJ was purchased by Canadian Airways Ltd., which first assigned the plane to Oskelaneo, Quebec, before re-assigning CF-AUJ to Sioux Lookout in northwest Ontario in 1939. CF-AUJ provided service there until October 3, 1940, when it smashed into a submerged object on takeoff from Lost Bay on Confederation Lake near Red Lake, Ontario. The damaged aircraft was salvaged within months to recover a 75-pound cargo of gold, and the leased engine. The wreckage languished on shore for the next three decades until two salvagers moved the surviving pieces to Red Lake. The museum acquired the wreckage in 1974 and final title to CF-AUJ in 1978. The remnants of AUJ were moved first to Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, and then to St. Andrews in 1974. In 1997, the restoration process began in earnest.


The Fairchild Aviation Corporation was founded by Sherman Fairchild in 1929, and based in Farmingdale, New York. Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. of Longueuil, Quebec, was a subsidiary of the American firm and it operated in the province from 1920 until 1950. Fairchild continues today as M7 Aerospace in San Antonio, Texas.

Super 71’s Pioneering Features

In a promotional write-up for the Super 71 published in the August 1935 edition of Aero Digest, Fairchild made the statement: “since 75 per cent of Canadian aircraft are operated on floats during the summer season and on skis during the winter, the Fairchild ‘Super 71’ was primarily designed as a seaplane, and its float equipment was given primary consideration by its designers.”

The promo article goes on to say that the aircraft “is convertible into a transport with accommodations for eight passengers, or a cargo plane which can carry 2,000 pounds of payload for 600 miles at a cruising speed of 121 mph.”

According to an article by William Paul Ferguson, published in 1977, the design program for the Super 71 was noteworthy “because it was based upon a survey of the needs of bush airline operators, and thus was the first aircraft to be designed and built in Canada to meet specific Canadian northern aviation requirements… Because the Super 71 was designed upon the advice of experienced operators, rather than nebulous guesswork, the radical product embodied many hoped-for capabilities. In toto, the design incorporated a large and accessible cargo area, high-wing monoplane configuration, control surfaces which retained effectiveness throughout all attitudes and – most importantly – the capability for year-round operations.”

The article also observed “the new Fairchild product was a sophisticated composite construction air freighter which utilized not only proven concepts but also radical innovative features.”

The high-wing monoplane configuration made dockside loading and unloading relatively easy. The cabin, which provided a clear floor space 13ft 6in long by 5ft wide and 4ft high, could accommodate most of the largest mining equipment then in use. Cargo handling was aided by a main access door of 32in that could easily be doubled to a maximum size of 65in to accommodate oversize items. The cabin walls were insulated against heat and cold, and a heating system for cockpit and cabin was incorporated into the fuselage structure.

It was the Super 71’s role as a cargo plane that determined the location of the cockpit behind the wing structure. This unusual cockpit location afforded optimum balance whether empty or fully loaded, thus relieving the pilot of having to calculate weight distribution and centre of gravity. This feature, however, compromised the pilot’s forward vision to such an extent that pilots and operators were wary of the design; it is believed that potential purchasers may have held back on their orders because of the unusual cockpit position. (In fact, when the Royal Canadian Air Force ordered a version of the Super 71 it specified that the cockpit be re-positioned behind the engine.)

The Super 71 was the first aircraft built in Canada with a monocoque fuselage, a construction concept that uses no internal bracing and that derives strength from its skin. The Super 71 fuselage is made up of consecutive duraluminum forming rings interconnected by intercostal, or longeron, Z-bars and covered in a duraluminum skin.

Also, the float undercarriage for the Super 71 was designed on the basis of hydrodynamic principles and experimental data gained from laboratory water tank tests. The Super 71 floats introduced “float steps” to help break the surface tension between float and water to aid lift-off. The concept of “steps” has been a feature of seaplane floats ever since.

The wing design of the Super 71 was one unremarkable feature in an otherwise radical design concept. The wings on the Super 71 are similar to the Fairchild 71, differing mainly in the internal bracing and a non-folding requirement. Traditional spruce construction with a cotton fabric cover was chosen for the Super 71 because Fairchild was not confident that maintenance shops in the 1930s had the skills required to repair aluminum wing damage.

One anomaly in the Super 71 wing structure is the centre section, where an arched parasol arrangement bridges the gap over the fuselage between the right and left wing sections. This short bridging section features a negative dihedral to provide additional separation between it and the fuselage to give the pilot some, though limited, forward vision.

Tail control surfaces were a combination of duraluminum and fabric components. The high position of the tail structure was dictated by input from bush flyers who wanted the tail as far as possible above the water to keep it out of the flying spray during takeoff.

The Super 71 was designed to accept several of the most widely used engines of the 1930s, but only the Pratt & Whitney T1D1 Wasp, a nine-cylinder radial engine of 520 hp, was fitted. An important, and vital, consideration affecting the Super 71 power plant was the ability to adjust the airflow over the engine in hot summer and extremely cold winter conditions. The Super 71 cowling had two independent sets of louvers, controlled from the cockpit, providing regulation of both crankcase and cylinder head temperatures. In addition, an engine oil cooler provided further temperature control. According to the Fairchild’s promotional article in Aero Digest, “further protection of the engine and assurance of operating under the extreme operating range experienced in Canada, is provided by overhead carburetor air intakes and complete preheating equipment.” In actual use, the engine cowling was removed, and at some point altered, because the original design did not provide enough cooling during summer operations.

Into the Air: First Flights

The Super 71 lifted off the water at Longueuil for the first time on October 31, 1934, with Fairchild P8 floats installed. The evaluation of this and other test flights showed that the aircraft generally exceeded predicted performance parameters. Fairchild was also required to submit the Super 71 design to the National Research Council for evaluation. According to Ferguson’s article, the research council’s report provided a ringing endorsement. A letter from NRC director, J.H. Parkin, was unusually effusive for a government review agency; he wrote: “all aspects of the design were tested in a wind tunnel and the aerodynamic characteristics are very good and leave little room for improvement.”

The commercial certificate of airworthiness was awarded to the Super 71 in May 1935, and the registration letters CF-AUJ were applied. The aircraft was then acquired by Canadian Airways Ltd. initially on a lease/purchase agreement. Canadian Airways purchased CF-AUJ outright in 1935 after a number of modifications by Fairchild. This was the only Super 71 ever built, although there is some evidence that Fairchild started, but did not complete, a second aircraft.

Variation of the Model

The effusive endorsement by the National Research Council led to a call from the Department of National Defence asking Fairchild to design an aircraft for reconnaissance and photographic missions using the Super 71 airframe as its base. The requisition also specified that the cockpit be re-located ahead of the wing.

The Super 71P was the result and two 71P aircraft were ordered and delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force at Trenton, Ontario, in 1936. The cockpit was relocated ahead of the wing in accordance with the specification and the centre wing section was faired into the fuselage behind the cockpit.

Performance of the Super 71P was disappointing. This may have been an unexpected result of the relocation of the cockpit forward of the wing, which then upset the airflow over the tail surfaces when in a nose-high attitude.


One of the two Super 71Ps, RCAF number 666, crashed and burned in August 1937, near Grand Rapids, Manitoba, taking the lives of the three crew on board. In the summer of 1977, museum members located and salvaged the meager remains of this aircraft. It was initially thought that some of the recovered parts and artifacts could be incorporated into the restoration of CF-AUJ, but this did not happen because of the design differences between the two models. The other Super 71P, RCAF number 665, remained in RCAF service well into the 1940s.

Into the Air: CF-AUJ in Service

CF-AUJ was assigned to Canadian Airway’s base at Oskelaneo, Quebec, for scheduled service from that location. It operated from that base until 1939 when it was re-assigned, after an overhaul in Winnipeg, to Sioux Lookout, Ontario.

Ferguson in his article on the Super 71 observed that “the aircraft was pronounced satisfactory in all respects by both J.H. Lymburner and airline management. Airline executives did request on numerous occasions that Fairchild construct additional Super 71 units, but (according to some accounts) Fairchild resisted building more units because it believed that maintenance of the monocoque fuselages was beyond the expertise of airline field personnel.

The article also argued that Fairchild did not build additional Super 71s because it was shifting its priorities to government rearmament programs.
Nevertheless, with its eight-passenger or one-ton cargo capacity, it was a large plane by pre-WWII standards and so was very useful to customers in the remote mining areas of Quebec and Ontario. During its six-year flying history, CF-AUJ was equipped either with floats or skis; there is no record of it ever being outfitted with wheels.

(NOTE: Lymburner was the pilot that Canadian Airways assigned to CF-AUJ and who flew it for most of its service history. Lymburner was also a member of the Lincoln-Ellsworth Antarctic expedition in 1936.)

The Last Flight

CF-AUJ crashed on takeoff on October 3, 1940, near the Uchi gold mine at Lost Bay on Confederation Lake, about 50 miles east of Red lake. It was reported that CF-AUJ hit a submerged object that ripped both floats from the fuselage. The aircraft sank and the pilot, Donald S. MacLaren, and two passengers clung to the loose pontoons until they were rescued. Shaken and slightly injured, they were airlifted to Sioux Lookout, 75 miles distant. The condition of one of the floats, recovered decades later, supports the idea that the CF-AUJ hit an object in the water because the leading three feet were bent upward to almost 90 degrees.

Canadian Airways let a salvage contract to recover the valuable items – the leased engine, which was valued at just over $31,000 at the time, and the 75 pounds of gold from the nearby mine. The gold would be worth $1.2 million at the 2009 gold price of $1,000 an ounce.

The first salvage contract went to Starratt Airways and Transportation, which held a contract to move heavy freight into the mining area by winter road. Its divers found the wreck 80 feet underwater and raised it for removal to shore. The gold was recovered from the cargo cabin and the engine and cockpit instruments stripped from the aircraft. The airframe was declared to be beyond economical repair.

At some point in this process the wings were also removed from the fuselage. All of the wreckage was abandoned at the edge of the lake, where it stayed for the next 28 years. While the aluminum fuselage survived the elements quite well, the wings did not – the wooden spars and fabric succumbed to the action of 30 years of sun, rain, wind and snow.


A Fairchild factory drawing of the Super 71 highlighted the following features: sliding transparent pilot’s hood; cabin door incorporating inward opening mail chute; easily removable panel (for extra large freight); emergency exit; anchor and tool storage in stub wings; exhaust bypass for cabin heater; oversize oil cooler; large dump valve for draining oil tank; easily removable head fairing for inspection of controls; double concentric nose shutter for independent cylinder head and base temperature control; instrument panel and compass shelf (anti-vibration mounting); gas contents gauge (large and easily read by pilot); water rudder protector and skid; heavy keel plate 5 inch wide under keel strip; heavy hardwood rubbing strip along chines; generous nose bumper with drainage space between backboard and float; and non-freezing vent well above water level.

  • Wingspan: 58 ft
  • Length: 35 ft, 6 in
  • Height: 10 ft, 6 in
  • Gross weight: 7,000 lb
  • Maximum speed: 141 mph
  • Range: 760 miles
  • Power Plant: P&W T1k1, Wasp, 525 hp

Around 400 BC – Flight in China
The Chinese’s discovery of a kite that could fly in the air started humans thinking about flying. Kites were used by the Chinese in religious ceremonies. They built many colourful kites for fun, also. More sophisticated kites were used to test weather conditions. Kites have been important to the invention of flight as they were the forerunner to balloons and gliders.


Humans Try to Fly like Birds
For many centuries, humans have tried to fly just like the birds and have studied the flight of winged creatures. Wings made of feathers or light weight wood have been attached to arms to test their ability to fly. The results were often disastrous as the muscles of the human arms are not like a birds and cannot move with the strength of a bird.


Hero and the Aeolipile
The ancient Greek engineer, Hero of Alexandria, worked with air pressure and steam to create sources of power. One experiment that he developed was the aeolipile, which used jets of steam to create rotary motion.
To do this, Hero mounted a sphere on top of a water kettle. A fire below the kettle turned the water into steam, and the gas travelled through pipes to the sphere. Two L-shaped tubes on opposite sides of the sphere allowed the gas to escape, which gave a thrust to the sphere that caused it to rotate.
The importance of the aeolipile is that it marks the start of engine created movement will later prove essential in the history of flight.


1485 Leonardo da Vinci’s Ornithopter and the Study of Flight.
Leonardo da Vinci made the first real studies of flight in the 1480’s. He had over 100 drawings that illustrated his theories on bird and mechanical flight.
The drawings illustrated the wings and tails of birds, ideas for man carrying machines and devices for the testing of wings.
His Ornithopter flying machine was never actually created. It was a design that Leonardo da Vinci created to show how man could fly. The modern day helicopter is based on this concept. Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks on flight were re-examined in the 19th century by aviation pioneers.


1783 – Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier and The Flight of the First Hot Air Balloon
Two brothers, Joseph Michel and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier, were inventors of the first hot air balloon. They used the smoke from a fire to blow hot air into a silk bag. The silk bag was attached to a basket. The hot air then rose and allowed the balloon to be lighter than air.

In 1783, the first passengers in the colourful balloon were a sheep, rooster and duck. It climbed to a height of about 6,000 feet and travelled more than one mile. After this initial success, the brothers began to send men up in hot air balloons. The first manned hot air balloon flight was carried out on November 21, 1783 and the passengers were Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Francois Laurent.


1799-1850’s – George Cayley’s Gliders
Sir George Cayley is considered the father of aerodynamics. Cayley experimented with wing design, distinguished between lift and drag and formulated the concepts of vertical tail surfaces, steering rudders, rear elevators and air screws. He also designed many different versions of gliders that used the movements of the body for control. A young boy, whose name is not known, was the first to fly one of Cayley’s gliders. It was the first glider capable of carrying a human.

For over 50 years, George Cayley made improvements to his gliders. Cayley changed the shape of the wings so that the air would flow over the wings correctly. He also designed a tail for the gliders to help with the stability. He then tried a biplane design to add strength to the glider. Additionally, Cayley recognized that there would be a need for machine power if the flight was to be in the air for a long time.


Credit to Author: Mary Bellis


Probably the most famous woman pilot in history, Amelia (an editor of Cosmopolitan magazine) became the first woman to fly solo, non-stop, across the Atlantic in 1932.


She had already set records as the first woman passenger flying the Atlantic, the first woman flying solo and nonstop across the US and the first solo pilot from Hawaii to mainland USA.


She vanished, aged 39, over the Pacific whilst attempting a round-the-world trip.



Credit to Author: Suzanne Locke


1908: During flight trials to win a contract from the U.S. Army Signal Corps, pilot Orville Wright and passenger Lt. Thomas Selfridge crash in a Wright Flyer at Fort Myer, Virginia. Wright is injured, and Selfridge becomes the first passenger to die in an airplane accident.


After Wilbur and Orville Wright made their historic first-ever airplane flight Dec. 17, 1903, they spent the next few years largely in seclusion developing their new invention. By the end of 1905 their interest in aviation had changed from curiosity and the challenge of flying, to the business of how to turn aviation into an industry: They were looking for a business model.


Unfortunately their first attempts to attract the United States government to the idea of using airplanes were turned down. The military just didn’t see how the airplane could be used in any practical way.


For two-and-a-half years the Wright brothers did not fly. They continued to work on their airplane, but put more and more time into building the business. Eventually they were able to attract interest from both the French and British governments, but by 1907 they still did not have any firm contracts.


But the Wright brothers were awarded two contracts in 1908: one from the U.S. Army and the other from a French business. The Army contract was for a bid to fly a two-man “heavier-than-air” flying machine that would have to complete a series of trials over a measured course. In addition to the $25,000 (about $600,000 in today’s buying power) bid, the brothers would receive a $2,500 bonus for every mile per hour of speed faster than 40 mph. No supersonic stealth fighters just yet.


Because they had not flown since October 1905, the brothers returned to Kitty Hawk to test their new controls to be used on the Wright Flyer in the Army flight trials. Despite some difficulty getting used to the new controls, both brothers managed to get some practice flying in during the stay in North Carolina.


Wilbur was in France during the summer of 1908 demonstrating the new Wright Flyer to Europeans (video). Orville remained in the United States and on Sept. 3 made his first flight at Fort Myer, where the Army trials were set to begin.


The flight tests set out by the Army required the airplane to carry two people for a set duration, distance and speed. There was a committee of five officers to evaluate the Wright Flyer’s performance, including the 26-year-old Selfridge.


Selfridge was a member of the Aerial Experiment Association and had designed the group’s first powered airplane. The Red Wing first flew on March 12, 1908, but crashed and was destroyed on its second flight a few days later.


During the first two weeks of September Orville made 15 flights at Fort Myer. He set three world records Sept. 9, including a 62-minute flight and the first public passenger flight. By Sept. 12 Orville had flown more than 74 minutes in a single flight and carried Maj. George Squier for more than 9 minutes in one flight.


On Sept. 17 Orville was flying Selfridge on another of the test flights. Three or four minutes into the flight, a blade on one of the two wooden propellers split and caused the engine to shake violently. Orville shut down the engine but was unable to control the airplane.


The propeller had hit a bracing wire and pulled a rear rudder from the vertical position to a horizontal position. This caused the airplane to pitch nose-down, and it could not be countered by the pilot.


The Wright Flyer hit the ground hard, and both men were injured. Orville suffered a fractured leg and several broken ribs. Selfridge suffered a fractured skull and died in the hospital a few hours later.


Despite the crash, and the first passenger death in an airplane, the Army was significantly impressed with the Wright Flyer and allowed the brothers to complete the trials the following year. They were awarded the contract. Along with success in France, the Wright brothers were well on their way to establishing what would become one of the most successful aviation companies during the early days of flying.


Because of the crash, the first Army pilots were required to wear helmets similar to early football helmets in order to minimize the chance of a head injury like the one that killed Selfridge.


Though the early days of aviation continued to be full of danger, airplane travel today is statistically one of the safest modes of transportation based on passenger miles traveled. Between 1995 and 2000 there were about 3 deaths per 10 billion passenger miles flown.


Credit to Author: Jason Paur | https://www.wired.com/


The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line began flying across Tampa Bay on January 1, 1914. It lasted only three months.

The flight covered 20 kilometers (18 miles) and took 23 minutes-11 hours less than travelling between St. Petersburg and Tampa by rail.



The Airboat Line safely transported 1,204 passengers across the bay.  But without continuing subsidy from St. Petersburg or steady income from tourist traffic, it could not survive.  The airline closed at the end of March.



Credit to: https://www.wired.com/


The Royal Dutch Airlines legally known as Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij or KLM is the Netherlands national airline.


KLM was established in 1919 making it the world’s oldest operating airline. The airline still operates under its original name scheduling passengers and cargo services to about 130 destinations.


The headquarters of KLM is in the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. As of 2013, the airline had 32, 505 employees. The first KLM flight took off on May 17th, 1920.


Jerry Shaw was the first KLM flying pilot from the Croydon Airport in London to Amsterdam.