First commercial airplane takeoff run, January 1, 1914

Flying To The Past: The First Ever Commercial Airline Flight

The historical background of air travel started with the first flight conducted by the Wright Brothers on the historical date of December 17, 1903. This experiment succeeded because their plane was a fueled and controlled one while the planes used in previous experiments had no power or control which could enable them to fly. Thus, by combining both the energies successfully, they were able to succeed and recorded their name in history. After the First World War, as the structures of planes turned out to be more dependable and as planes got bigger, the planes were then used in transporting people from one place to another which gave rise to commercial airlines.

The First Ever Flight

The first ever airline started its operations in January 1914. It traveled between St. Petersburg and Tampa. Although, it could only run for a few months yet it helped engineers in preparing for the present day flights. Its pilot was Tony Jannus, who was an accomplished pilot and had much experience in the field, the engineer of this plane was Thomas Benoist who was also an expert in his filed and the first ever traveler was Abram C. Pheil. The duration of this 34-kilometer trip to Tampa took 25 minutes approximately.

The History

Percival Elliott Fansler was a salesman boat’s engines in Florida. He got intrigued with the advancement in the structuring of airplanes that could be run in water as well. After a lot of comparing and contrasting, Fansler finally proposed the idea of an airline to travel from someplace elsewhere.

He recommended that the plane should fly between St. Petersburg and Tampa. In 1913, a standard trip between the two places would require two hours by a paddle wheeler or approximately ten hours by train. While traveling through a car would take around 20 hours whereas a flight would hardly take around 20 minutes.

When Fansler proposed his idea to the Tampa authorities, they clearly rejected it but, St. Petersburg accepted his idea with open arms and a lot of people were ready to invest in his idea as well. Thomas Benoist, the engineer of the project showed up in St. Petersburg in December 1913, with Tony Jannus, the pilot of his own selection.

What Was The Original Fare?

A total of two flights a day was carried out by the airline except for one day of a week. The fare was decided to be $5 for a passenger. The rate of freight was $5 for every 100 pounds. At the beginning of its operation, tickets were booked in advance for straight four months!

Why Did It Fail?

The aircraft worked for almost four months, transporting an aggregate of 1,200 travelers. However, the interest of travelers declined quickly when the winter residents started heading back. The last flight was flown on April 27 by Jannus before leaving Florida.

While the pilot continued giving training to other young pilots for the rest of his life, he met his end when his plane crashed in the Black Sea.

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