EXHIBITION PRESS KIT
QUICK FACTS IN THE HISTORY OF COMMERCIAL AVIATION
- First Airport: College Park Airport in Maryland is the oldest airport in the world and served as an early airmail base. It was established in 1909.
- First regularly scheduled airmail flight: Lt. James Edgerton flew the mail from Philadelphia to Washington on May 15, 1918.
- First scheduled passenger airline: St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line. Former St. Petersburg Mayor A. C. Phiel paid $400 for the honor of being its first passenger in 1914. The airline only lasted three months.
- First stewardess: In 1930, Nurse Ellen Church became the first stewardess after proposing that the presence of women nurses on Boeing Air Transport flights would help relieve the public's fear of flying.
- First Air Traffic Control: In December 1935, the airlines established the first Airway Traffic Control Center at Newark, New Jersey.
- First regularly scheduled transpacific passenger service: In 1936, Juan T. Trippe, Pan American founder, began taking passengers across the Pacific in the famous Martin M-130 China Clipper.
- First scheduled transatlantic passenger service: Trippe opened regular transatlantic service in 1939 with the Boeing 314 flying boat.
- The first jet service by any U.S. airline: On October 26, 1958, a Pan American World Airways Boeing 707, the Clipper America, flew from New York for Paris.
- First aircraft used in regular service by the Post Office was the Curtiss JN-4H, popularly known as the Jenny. It had been widely used as a trainer during World War I.
- Affectionately known as the "Tin Goose," the Ford Tri-Motor first flew on August 2, 1926. Its all-metal, corrugated aluminum construction, its reliability, and the prestigious Ford name played a major role in convincing the public that air travel was safe and practical.
- Launched in 1933, the Boeing 247 was considered the world's first modern airliner because it was an all-metal cantilevered monoplane with retractable landing gear, could fly at night, had multiple engines, two-way radios, and other equipment that promoted safety and speed. It could carry 10 passengers and cross the country in less than 20 hours.
- To compete with the Boeing 247s, Douglas Aircraft responded with the DC-1, which was faster and more comfortable. It entered service in 1934 as the 14-passenger DC-2.
- Pan American and Boeing opened a new era in commercial aviation when the first "jumbo jet," the Boeing 747, entered service in January 1970.
- The Airbus A320 revolutionized commercial aviation by introducing digital fly-by-wire technology in civil airliners in 1988. "Fly-by-wire" technology translates the pilot's actions into electronic signals, which computers use to manipulate flight controls.
- While the airlines were not legally segregated, airports often were. In December 1948, after a direct appeal to President Truman by a member of his Committee on Civil Rights, Washington National Airport's restaurant was finally desegregated.
- The color barrier within the major airlines was finally broken in 1965, when Marlon D. Green won a suit against Continental Airlines to become a pilot.
- In the 1970s the term "stewardess" evolved into gender-neutral "flight attendant." Conservative uniform styles reappeared due to new laws that prohibited discrimination in hiring based on age, appearance, and gender. Men now returned to the profession as well.
- Emily Howell broke through the gender barrier to become the first American woman pilot to fly routinely for a scheduled U.S. commercial airline in 1973.
Interesting People Facts
- Charles Lindbergh used his fame to promote commercial aviation. In 1928, Transcontinen¬tal Air Transport hired him as a technical advisor. Lindbergh selected the aircraft, chose and planned T.A.T.'s cross-country route, and oversaw the creation of all the necessary airfields and installations. T.A.T. became popularly known as "The Lindbergh Line."
- Igor Sikorsky, famed rotorcraft pioneer, created the Sikorsky S-40 flying boat for Pan Am's Caribbean routes. Charles Lindbergh, now serving as an advisor to Pan Am, piloted the airplane on its first commercial flight, from Miami to the Canal Zone in 1931.
- Howard Hughes purchased a majority share of TWA in 1937 and took control of the airline. During the 1970s, Hughes bought Air West and renamed it Hughes Airwest.
- In 1938, World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker purchased Eastern Airlines and led it toward a period of prodigious growth and prosperity.
- In 1932, New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt flew an American Airways Ford Tri-Motor from Albany to Chicago, where he accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for president. In 1943, Roosevelt became the first president to fly while in office. He flew to the Casablanca Conference in Morocco on a Boeing 314 flying boat.
- President Jimmy Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act into law on October 24, 1978, the first time in U.S. history that an industry was deregulated.
America by Air Exhibition Press Kit
National Air and Space Museum
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Washington, DC 20013