Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tony Jannus The first commercial airline pilot in the world

Antony Habersack Jannus,more familiarly known as Tony Jannus (1889-1916), was an early American pilot who piloted the first flight of the St Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line on January 1, 1914. This was the first scheduled commercial airline flight in the world, using heavier-than-air aircraft. Born in Washington, DC, he did his flight training at the College Park Airport in nearby Maryland in 1910. On March 1, 1912, Jannus piloted a Benoist biplane when Albert Berry made arguably the first parachute jump from a moving airplane near St. Louis, Missouri. The next year, Jannus participated in a New York Times Derby, flying actress Julia Bruns in a Baldwin Red Devil 4000 ft above Staten Island for twenty minutes on October 12, 1913. The following month, he moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. At the time, surface transportation between St. Petersburg and Tampa required a circuitous, two-hour journey by railroad. Jannus' proposal for direct, scheduled air service over Tampa Bay between the two Florida cities was enthusiastically supported by city leaders and the then-mayor of St. Petersburg, Abram C. Pheil was a passenger on the inaugural flight. At a fare of five dollars, it was the first time tickets were sold to the general public for point-to-point scheduled air travel. Departing from a location near the downtown St. Petersburg Pier, the twenty-three minute flight traveled between St. Petersburg and Tampa, flying above Tampa Bay in Jannus' Benoist XIV flying boat biplane. The ...


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