“The first commercial flight in the United States occurred in Florida on Jan. 1, 1914, when Tony Jannus flew A. C. Pheil the 21 miles across the bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa in a two-seat Benoist at an altitude of 15 feet” (McDowell, 1995). It was no doubt an amazing breakthrough in the way that travel would be conducted from that very moment on. From 1783 when Jean Pilâtre de Rozier ascended about 500ft in a balloon and traveled approximately 5 ½ miles in 20 minutes (infoplease.com) to the dawn of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Air Line in 1914 was not an easy journey; this is the story of the men that made it possible.
In the time between that daring ascent made by Jean Pilâtre de Rozier and the first flight of the Wright Brothers in the infamous Kitty Hawk in 1903 (infoplease.com), all air travel and exploration was done with a balloon of some sort. The expedition of Jean Pilâtre de Rozier is described by BelleStar (1995) as;
The first recorded manned flight in a hot air balloon takes place in Paris. Built from paper and silk by the Montgolfier brothers, this balloon was piloted on a 22 minute flight by Jean Franois Piltre de Rozier and the Marquis Franois-Laurent d'Arlandes. From the center of Paris they ascended 500 feet above the roof tops before eventually landing about 6 miles away in the vineyards. Local farmers were very suspicious of this fiery dragon descending from the sky. The pilots offered champagne to placate them and to celebrate the flight, a tradition carried on by balloonists to this day.
The material makeup of the first balloon ride is similar in every way to the materials utilized to construct the Wright Brothers Kitty Hawk airplane in 1903; wood and cloth (National Air & Sp...
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...been 10 billion passengers since that first commercial flight across Tampa Bay in 1914 - New York Times. The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved January 8, 2012, from http://www.nytimes.com/1995/06/07/business/business-travel-there-have-been-10-billion-passengers-since-that-first.html
Mola, R. (n.d.). The Earliest Airports. U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. Retrieved January 8, 2012, from http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Government_Role/earliest_airports/POL9.htm
National Air & Space Museum. (n.d.). The Wright Brothers designing the flyer. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved January 8, 2012, from http://www.nasm.si.edu/wrightbrothers/fly/1903/construction.cfm
Remington, S. (1935). First Air Line, 1914. Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. Retrieved January 8, 2012, from http://earlyaviators.com/ejannto2.htm
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