Imperial airways

Imperial Airways: First British national airline

Imperial airways, was formed on 1st April 1924. This was the manifestation of the British government’s determination to develop air transport, and the company was to receive $1 million in preferential air subsidies over ten years. Having acquired the businesses of British Marine Air Navigation Co., Daimler Airways, Handley Page Transport and Instone Air Lines, the British government created some order in the multitude of startup airline and mail carriers. Based in Croydon, a center for early aviation, the airlines undertook scheduled flights to Paris Le Bourget beginning in 3rd of May 1924. The first scheduled flight on this route had begun in 1919. The Chairman to head the company was Rt Hon Sir Eric Geddes GCB, GBE. He had accomplished much as the head of military transportation in WW1 and had a reputation for getting things done.

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The first and only Oxford verses Cambridge University air race

Returning from the Great War, some young men from Oxford and Cambridge Universities felt confined within their universities. Besides, they has just a few years ago faced German biplanes in nerve wracking (but adrenaline inducing) encounters in fragile aircraft 4 miles over the battlefield. One student, a former test pilot by the name of A. R. Boree, from Oxford had a thrilling idea which he believed would rival the Oxford-Cambridge boat race. He proposed a air race over a circuit at the London Aerodrome, Hendon with a total distance of 129 miles.

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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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