Aeromarine Airways: First airlines to transport an automobile (Publicity stunt)

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The Biltmore flying boat (Aeromarine model 85/80) at Lake George, NY in the summer of 1921 | (Photo courtesy of Jon Krupnick)

The Aeromarine Plane and Motor company was an early American aircraft manufacturer that was formed in 1914 and pioneered the civilian aviation market. Its subsidiary, Aeromarine Airways, started regularly scheduled flights between major US cities. By the summer of 1922, Aeromarine Airways operated daily flights between Cleveland and Detroit. Within two months, the aircraft had carried 4388 passengers thereby sparking optimism within the company that the general public would accept aviation as an attractive and integral part of transportation. However, this optimism was soon dashed as the flying boat Columbus (Pictured far top) suffered engine trouble and crash landed on heavy seas, claiming the lives of four passengers. Soon after, one of the flying boats from the Aeromarine fleet was destroyed in a Havana Harbour due to a storm.

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Aircraft Transport Travel

Aircraft Transport and Travel Ltd.: First Airline to receive an air mail contract awarded by the British post office

Air travel and Transport
Loading up before flight | Source: flyingmachines.ru

Air Transport and Travel Ltd. (AT&T) was founded by aviation pioneer and newspaper proprietor, George Holt Thomas. He also founded the Aircraft Manufacturing company Limited (Airco) in 1911 and the company produced thousands of aircraft, mostly designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, for the British military. AT&T initially operated relief flights from Folkestone to Ghent using a fleet of former military Airco DH.4A biplanes but after the war entered the growing market for civilian aviation.

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TWA

Trans World Airlines: First airline with regularly scheduled inflight motion pictures (spoken)

Before the advent of regular scheduled inflight motion pictures, passengers had little to do besides talking, reading, sleeping or peering out of the window. Although, the mode of transportation was the most advanced for its time, it was found lacking in the entertainment department. The first movie screening was in 1921 when eleven passengers in an Aeromarine Airways flight onboard a curtiss F-5-L flying boat watched Howdy Chicago! , a film promoting the city of Chicago using a DeVry suitcase projector. Soon after, in 1925, passengers on board an Imperial Airways World War 1-era Handley-Page Bomber watched part of The Lost World , a 70 minute film, during a 30-minute flight near London. Transcontinental Air Transport equipped their passenger aircraft with screens and projectors to show silent films onboard although the noise of the huge radial engines would have drowned out the sound anyway. All these efforts were experimental and movies were not shown regularly.

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British Midlands Airways Ltd.: First airline to sell its tickets over the World Wide Web

Following the discovery of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners Lee in 1989, the use of computers spread to the common man. The web enabled customers to communicate with machines like never before and the need for the travel agent was negated as Airlines rode this wave of efficiency to save costs and boost service times.

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Louis Bleriot: First aviator to cross the English Channel in a powered aircraft

Louis Bleriot was a French aviator, inventor and engineer who was famous for his flight across the English Channel. Even before this ground breaking flight, Louis had already made a name through his invention of the first practical headlamps. Louis taught himself the principles of flight and designed orinthopters and gliders which he tested out. Through trial and error, he designed the tail surfaces which have become conventional and his company Recherches Aeronautiques Louis Bleriot is credited as being the inventors of the monoplane.

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Microburst

Continental Airlines: First airlines equipped with predictive windshear detection system

Wind shears are a rapid change in the wind speed and/or direction in either the horizontal or vertical direction. Low-level wind shears are especially dangerous as the pilots have about five to fifteen seconds to react. The rapid changes in the wind causes rapidly changing headwind and tailwind, strong side gusts and affect the lift produced by the wings.

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Ely Eugene

Ely Eugene: First pilot to perform a ship board launch

As Eugene became airborne from the cruiser, the Birmingham sent a historic radio message “Ely’s just gone”

Ely  Eugene, a Iowa University graduate who had taught himself to fly in 1910, boarded his curtiss pusher biplane which was placed on a makeshift wooden surface on the American light cruiser USS Birmingham in November 14, 1910. In the mid-afternoon, the weather cleared slightly and the biplane rolled of the sloped platform into air. The biplane was equipped with floats under the wings in case Eugene had to make a landing on the water. Eugene, who was part of the Curtiss Exhibition team, instinctively caused the plane to dive as the plane left the platform in order to gain speed but he miscalculated slightly causing the plane to skip off the water, thereby splintering the propeller and splashing water over his goggles. Even flying blind, Eugene managed to land his crippled plane at a nearby beach which was under 3 miles away. Although, he only was airborne for under 5 minutes, his historic flight proved the importance of aviation in naval warfare.

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China Airlines A300

China Airlines Ltd.: First airline to operate the advanced Boeing 767 and Airbus A300B4 widebodies simultaneously

China Airlines, based in the Republic of Taiwan, was set up by a group of retired Chinese Air Force Officers beginning with two PBY-5A Catalina flying boats and 26 employees. The company, setup in 1959, carried out military roles before acquiring  a few demilitarized C-47 and C-46 transports which was used to ferry passengers around the island. The airlines started its first international flight route to Saigon, Vietnam and catered to the Japanese tourists with flights from Japan to Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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Vickers Vimy Alcock and Brown

John Alcock and Arthur Brown: First non-stop transatlantic flight

Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown made the first non-stop aerial crossing of the Atlantic in a modified Vickers Vimy powered by two Rolls-Royce Eagle 360 hp engines. They took off from Lester’s Field, near St. John, Newfoundland on June 14,1919 and landed June 15,1919 at Clifden, Ireland thereby winning the Daily Mail Atlantic Prize and writing their names in the history books.

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Trans World Airlines

Trans World Airlines: First airline to operate across the Atlantic without a professional navigator

On October 1, 1962, Trans world Airlines (TWA) inaugurated the first fully automatic doppler radar system of navigation on scheduled transatlantic flights. The New York to London flight held the honour of being the first transatlantic flight to operate without a professional navigator as part of the flight crew.

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