2 days ago
Monday, January 27, 2014
The birth of Commercial Aviation
One hundred years ago this month Floridian Percival Elliot Fanvil, having read about the safety of airplanes which took off and landed on water decided the time was right for commercial passenger air service "starting somewhere and going somewhere else".
Unimaginable today, a century ago the 20 mile trip from Tampa to St. Petersburg, Florida was a slog whether by steamship, train, by car or on foot. Fanvil saw his chance, created the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, with scheduled half hour flights twice each way, per day at $5 a ride, one passenger per turn.
Former Tampa mayor Abram Pheil bought the first ticket at auction for $400. Unsurprisingly, the first airline lost money and closed after 4 months.