A land or at-sea facility designated for reception of personnel or materiel moved by sea, and that serves as an authorized port of entrance into or departure from the country in which located. The geographic point at which cargo or personnel are discharged. This may be a seaport or aerial port of debarkation; for unit requirements; it may or may not coincide with the destination. Also called POD.


San Diego Offshore International Airport Satellite Terminals Placement Studies




San Diego Offshore International Airport Prototypical Ferryport Venice Italy










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St. Petersburg · Florida · USA

The Pier-Park will be a redevelopment of the existing St. Petersburg Pier

The city of St. Petersburg in Florida is to gain an exciting new public space. The St. Petersburg Pier will be redesigned as a hybrid pier-park accommodating a variety of outdoor activities and facilities for entertainment and public events.


The Pier-Park will be a platform for a multitude of activities and experiences rather than "a singular and heavily programmed destination"


Featuring a Multitude of Activities and Experiences

The Pier-Park Will Feature a Large Welcome Plaza



The Pier-Park Will Retain the Inverted Pyramid That Already Exists


The Pier-Park Will Feature Shaded Seating Areas


The Pier-Park Will Feature a Splash-Pool for Paddling and Festivation




To Celebrate Florida's Wonderful Environment
The Pier-Park Will Feature Paths and Trails Through a Coastal Thicket for Cycling, Jogging and Walking






St. Petersburg · Florida · USA


St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States of America


As of the 2013 census estimate, the population was 249,688, making St. Petersburg the fourth [4th] most populous city in the state of Florida and the largest city in Florida that is not a county seat [the city of Clearwater is the county seat]. St. Petersburg is the second largest city in the Tampa Bay Area, after Tampa, composed of roughly 2.8 million residents, making it the second largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the state.

It is also a popular vacation destination for both American and foreign tourists.

The city is often referred to by locals as St. Pete. Neighboring St. Pete Beach formally shortened its name in 1994 after a vote by its residents. St. Petersburg is governed by a mayor and city council.

The city is located on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to mainland Florida to the north; with the city of Tampa to the east by causeways and bridges across Tampa Bay; and to Bradenton in the south by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge [Interstate 275], which traverses the mouth of the bay.

It is also served by Interstates 175 and 375, which branch off I-275 into the southern and northern areas of downtown respectively. The Gandy Bridge, conceived by George andy and opened in 1924, was the first causeway to be built across Tampa Bay, connecting St. Petersburg and Tampa cities without a circuitous forty-three [43] mile [69 km] trip around the bay through Oldsmar.

With an average of some three hundred sixty-one [361] days of sunshine each year, and a Guinness World Record for logging the most consecutive days of sunshine seven hundred sixty-eight [768 days], it is nicknamed "The Sunshine City".

Due to its good weather and low cost of living, the city has long been a popular retirement destination, although in recent years the population has moved in a much more youthful direction. American Style magazine ranked St. Petersburg its top mid-size city in 2011, citing its "vibrant" arts scene.



The city was co-founded by John C. Williams, formerly of Detroit, who purchased the land in 1876, and by Peter Demens, who was instrumental in bringing the terminus of a railroad there in 1888. St. Petersburg was incorporated on February 29, 1892, when it had a population of only some three hundred [300] people.

It was named after Saint Petersburg, Russia, where Peter Demens had spent half of his youth. A local legend says that John C. Williams and Peter Demens flipped a coin to see who would have the honor of naming the city. Peter Demens won and named the city after his home, while John C. Williams named the first hotel after his birthplace, Detroit [a hotel built by Demens]. The Detroit Hotel still exists downtown, but has been turned into a condominium.

The oldest running hotels are the historic Pier Hotel, built in 1921, formally Hotel Cordova and The Heritage Hotel, built in 1926.

Philadelphia publisher F. A. Davis turned on St. Petersburg's first electrical service in 1897 and its first trolley service in 1904. The city's first major industry was born in 1899 when Henry W. Hibbs [1862–1942], a native of Newport, North Carolina, established his wholesale fish business at the end of the railroad pier, which extended out to the shipping channel. Within a year, Hibbs Fish Company was shipping more than one thousand [1,000 lbs.] pounds [450 kg] of fish each day.

Dredging of a deeper shipping channel from 1906 to 1908 opened St. Petersburg to larger shipping. Further dredging improved the port facilities through the 1910s. By then the city's population had quadrupled to 4,127.





St. Petersburg, Florida USA

In 1914, airplane service across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa and back was initiated, generally considered the first scheduled commercial airline flight. The company name was the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, and the pilot was Tony Jannus, flying a Benoist XIV flying boat. The Tony Jannus Award is presented annually for outstanding achievement in the airline industry. Jannus Live, a local music/entertainment venue on Central Avenue in downtown, is also named after him.


The city population continued to multiply during the 20th century, booming in the 1940s and 1950s and through the 1970s as the town became a popular retirement destination for Americans from midwestern cities, reaching 238,647 in the 1980 census. By that time, however, the population had leveled off, and has grown by only ten thousand [10,000] since then. In the decade from 2000 to 2010, the population of the city dropped by approximately four thousand [4000] residents, while in the same period the population of Florida increased by over two and a half million [2.5 m] residents.



St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line


St. Petersburg, Florida, is not generally considered a city that can boast of an aviation ‘first.’ But on January 1, 1914, the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line was born there–the world’s first scheduled airline using winged aircraft. A plaque on the entrance to St. Petersburg International Airport proclaims: ‘The Birthplace of Scheduled Air Transportation.’

Traveling in that first passenger airplane made of wood, fabric and wire was a far cry from flying in today’s comfortable, air-conditioned airliner. From all accounts, however, those first airline flights were not so bad, provided you did not mind sitting out in the breeze with water spraying in your face. Passengers sat on a wooden seat in the hull of a two-place seaplane that did not have a windshield and rarely flew more than five feet above the water. That is the way it was on that momentous day in sunny Florida only a decade after Orville and Wilbur Wright made their historic first flights at Kitty Hawk, N.C.

The aircraft in St. Petersburg was a Benoist [pronounced Ben-wah or Ben-weest0 Model 14, built by St. Louis manufacturer Thomas W. Benoist.

Best known for the sparking batteries and automobile self-starters he manufactured, Benoist also built seventeen [17] different models of landplanes and seaplanes between 1910 and 1917. His aircraft advertisement claimed: ‘My plane is figured down to the last equation, and improved up to the second. Every nut, bolt, wire, wood member, and piece of cloth is examined, tried and tested before it goes into our machines. Some others may be built as good, but none are built better, because we use the best of everything.’ An early aviation visionary, he said he often ‘dreamed of the skies filled with air lanes carrying the world’s passenger and freight traffic.’

The pilot on that historic January 1914 flight was Antony H. Jannus, a Benoist test pilot and instructor who had carried Captain Albert Berry aloft to make the first parachute jump from an airplane on March 1, 1912.

Jannus flew a number of exhibitions demonstrating Benoist planes throughout the Midwest and was a contestant at a Chicago air meet in September 1912. Later that month, he established an American passenger-carrying record by taking three men with him on a ten [10] minute flight.


On November 6, 1912, flying an early model Benoist on a single float, Jannus and J.D. Smith, his mechanic, left Omaha for New Orleans in an attempt to set a distance record for winged aircraft. Although it took six [6] weeks to make the 1,973 mile trip because of stops for exhibitions, a near-disastrous fire, repairs and a bout with appendicitis, Jannus received wide acclaim in the newspapers as ‘the pioneer flying-boat pilot of the world.’ Shortly thereafter, he was credited with setting a ‘continuous flight with passenger’ record by flying the two hundred fifty-one [251] miles from Paducah, Ky., to St. Louis in four [4] hours, fifteen [15] minutes.

Jannus, who was born in Washington, D.C., in 1889, had been employed by the Emerson Marine Engine Co. in Alexandria, Va. He had been sent to the airfield at College Park, Md., in November 1910 to install a marine engine in a modified Curtiss-type airplane with Farman landing gear, made by Frederick Fox and Rexford Smith, and was instantly obsessed with learning to fly.

He began flying after receiving only cursory instructions and was soon making cross-country flights at altitudes up to three hundred [300'] feet. Jannus flew several times from the Polo Grounds in Washington and made some air-to-ground radio tests for the Signal Corps. In July 1911, he traveled to St. Louis, where he was hired by Benoist as a flying instructor. Roger, his older brother, a graduate of Lehigh University, also was caught up in the excitement of flying. He later joined Tony at the Benoist factory and took lessons from him.

The driving force behind the St. Petersburg­ Tampa Airboat Line was Percival Elliot Fansler, a Florida sales representative for Kahlenberg Brothers, a Wisconsin manufacturer of diesel engines for fishing boats. He became fascinated with Benoist’s progress in aircraft design and manufacture. He recalled later: ‘My appetite for speed was whetted by my experiences in racing boats. Having heard that Tony Jannus had made his famous trip down the Mississippi in a flying boat, I started correspondence with Tom [Benoist]. After receiving two [2] or three [3] letters that dealt with the details and capabilities of the boat, the idea popped into my head that instead of monkeying around with the thing to give ‘jazz’ trips, I would start a real commercial [air]line from somewhere to somewhere else. My experience in Florida led me to conclude that a line could be operated between St. Petersburg and Tampa. The distance was about twenty-three [23] miles–some fifteen [15] of which were along the shore of Tampa Bay, and the remainder over open water. I wrote to Tom about the scheme and he became immediately enthusiastic.’

Fansler agreed to go to Tampa, select a suitable seaplane route and make all the business arrangements. Benoist promised he would furnish three [3] airboats, mechanics and pilots if Fansler was successful in getting some financial backing.

Fansler went to Tampa in late November 1913 but found no one there interested in issuing a contract for an airline franchise. On December 4, he went across Tampa Bay to St. Petersburg, then a city of only about nine thousand [9,000] people during the winter months. ‘They thought I had a mighty clever idea,’ he wrote later, ‘but they didn’t believe there was any such thing as a flying boat. I talked a group of a dozen men into putting up a guarantee of one hundred [$100] dollars each, and the Board of Trade came in with a like amount.’

Fansler immediately wired Benoist to come to St. Petersburg. On December 17, 1913, Benoist signed the world’s first airline contract for heavier-than-air planes– ten [10] years to the day after the Wright brothers had first flown successfully at Kitty Hawk.

[Delag, a German airline using dirigibles, operated a scheduled route between Freidrichshafen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Potsdam and Dresden from 1910 to 1914 and carried thirty-seven thousand [37,000] passengers without mishap. German historians concede that the schedule was rarely kept.]

The agreement called for a cash subsidy of two thousand, four hundred [$2,400] dollars from the city of St. Petersburg, but only if the Benoist company supplied planes and pilots and maintained two [2] scheduled flights daily between St. Petersburg and Tampa, six [6] days a week for three[3] months. Regular service was to begin on January 1, 1914. For each day that the scheduled flights were made on time, the city guaranteed to pay forty [$40] dollars a day through January and twenty-five [$25] dollars a day in February and March.

The day after the contract signing, the St. Petersburg Times reported that ‘a fleet of hydro-aeroplanes’ would make regular trips between St. Petersburg and Tampa, and predicted that the service would ‘prove to be of great benefit to the city.’ When queried about the safety of the operation, Fansler said, ‘there is no more liability of accident in one of the boats than in an automobile, and the airboat will seldom be more than five [5'] feet above the water.’

Fansler, as general manager of the airline, fixed the price of a one-way ticket at five [$5] dollars for the twenty-two [22] minute trip. Passengers were allowed a maximum weight of two hundred [200 lbs.] pounds gross, including hand baggage. ‘Excess weight [was] charged at five [$5] dollars per hundred [100 lbs.] pounds, minimum charge twenty-five [25] cents,’ according to the handbills distributed throughout the two [2] cities.

Besides operating two [2] scheduled flights per day, six [6] days a week, Fansler recalled that ‘our agreement with our backers permitted us to indulge in special flights at any price we cared to name, and we made a number of these trips at ten [$10] dollars to twenty [$20] dollars each.’

Charter flights could be arranged from St. Petersburg to several other Florida sites–Pass-a-Grille, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Bradenton, Sarasota, Palmetto, Safety Harbor and Egmont Key. Advertisements for these flights stated they would cost fifteen [$15] and ‘trips covering any distance over water routes [would be made] from the waters’ surface to several thousand feet high at passenger request.’

Today, a twenty-two [22] minute flight from St. Petersburg to the famous Cigar City would seem a long time, but the alternatives in 1914 were a 21Ž2-hour trip by steamship to circumnavigate the bay area, or twelve [12] hours by train. There is no reliable estimate of the time it would have taken by automobile in those days of hand-cranked engines, solid rubber tires and unpaved roads.

In addition to starting the airline, Fansler announced that a training school for pilots would be established. Three [3] Benoist airboats were shipped from the St. Louis factory for both purposes. One [1] was a Model 13; the other two were Model 14s. The Model 13 was to be operated by the school for instruction, and the 14s were to be used for passenger transport. A large, open-ended hangar was planned.

The first of the two [2] Model 14 Benoist airboats, No. 43, arrived by train from Paducah, Ky., and was promptly assembled. It weighed one thousand, two hundred fifty [1,250 lbs.] pounds, was twenty-six [26'] feet long and had a wingspan of forty-four [44'] feet. Although the plane was built to hold only a pilot and one [1] passenger on a single seat, sometimes two [2] small passengers could be accommodated.

Tony Jannus gave it two [2] test flights on December 30 and 31, 1913, accompanied on one [1] of them by Benoist’s chief mechanic, J.D. Smith, and on the other by a local man named J.G. Foley.

Smith, whom Jannus called ‘Smitty, the Infallible,’ was especially adept at maintaining the Roberts 6-cylinder, in-line, liquid-cooled, seventy-five [75 hp] horsepower engines that Benoist used in his planes. Smith had raced motorcycles as a young man, and when he read about Benoist in 1912, he left his home in Jamestown, Pa., for the St. Louis plant. Benoist found him voluntarily sweeping snow off a plane in subfreezing weather and hired him on the spot.

The hull of the Benoist flying boat was made of three [3] layers of spruce with fabric between each layer. The Roberts engine and a pusher propeller gave the aircraft a top speed of sixty-four [64 mph] miles per hour. The wings were of linen stretched over spruce spars. It was claimed, though not accurately, that the Benoist was the only plane in the world at the time that had the engine placed down in the hull.

The plane was touted for publicity purposes as ‘a motor boat with wings and an air propeller.’ It was priced at four thousand, two hundred fifty [$4,250] dollars.

Although this early Benoist had greater stability than later models, the low placement of the engine proved to be a maintenance headache. The propeller had to be located high enough to avoid the water spray, and the connection between the engine in the hull and the pusher propeller required a chain drive that often slipped off its track. Later Benoist models had one [1] or two [2] one hundred [100 hp] horsepower Roberts direct-drive engines mounted under the top wing.

By New Year’s Day of 1914, the continual attention the local paper was giving to the promised inauguration of scheduled flights had built up intense interest in the new venture. After a parade from downtown St. Petersburg to the waterfront, an Italian band from the Johnny Jones Show played at the municipal pier as Jannus readied the airboat for flight. A crowd of three thousand [3,000] on-looked on while a ticket for the first flight round-trip to Tampa on the airline was auctioned off. Former Mayor Abraham C. Pheil won the honor of being the first airline passenger with a bid of four hundred [$400] dollars. The airline donated the money to the city for the purchase of harbor lights.

Fansler made a short speech as the airboat was being placed in the water, ‘What was impossible yesterday is an accomplishment today, while tomorrow heralds the unbelievable,’ he concluded. At 10 a.m. the ex-mayor donned a raincoat, stepped gingerly into the hull and sat on the small wooden seat beside the pilot. Jannus started the two [2] cycle engine and tested the controls. He waved to the crowd, taxied out and took off into history. Halfway to Tampa, however, the engine began misfiring, and he landed in the bay briefly to adjust it. He took off again and, twenty-three [23] minutes after the original takeoff, landed at the entrance to the Hillsborough River before an excited crowd of two thousand [2,000].

Police held the crowd back as Jannus and Pheil obliged a cameraman who asked them to pose for pictures. A reporter from the Tampa Tribune asked Pheil why his hands were all greasy. He replied that it was from ‘assisting Mr. Jannus to adjust some machinery.’ Pheil went to a telephone and called St. Petersburg to announce their arrival.

Jannus and Pheil left Tampa for the return trip at 11 a.m. and arrived back in St. Petersburg before another cheering crowd. Just before the afternoon flight, a second auction was held, with Noel A. Mitchell the successful bidder for a round-trip flight at one hundred seventy-five [$175] dollars. The next day, Mrs. L.A. Whitney, wife of the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, made the flight to Tampa and back to become the first woman passenger to fly on a fixed-wing scheduled airline. [Actually, Mae Peabody of Dubuque, Iowa, was the first woman to make a local flight out of St. Petersburg.] Whitney described the flight as ‘the most delightful sensation imaginable–it is like being rocked to sleep in your mother’s arms.’

The St. Petersburg Times announced that it had signed a contract with the airboat line to fly papers daily to Tampa, which would make it ‘the first newspaper in the world to use flying machines for delivery purposes.’ The announcement added, ‘This will be the most unusual carrier system in all the world and Tampa readers, when they receive their copy… will read a newspaper delivered as no other.’

The Tampa Tribune noted that the first flight had been made ‘without mishap’ and gave the event a banner headline in its January 2 edition–‘The First Commercial Air Ship Line Inaugurated.’ The article stated: ‘When the airboat arrived yesterday morning, a crowd of two thousand [2,000] persons was waiting near the temporary landing [site], another one thousand [1,000] persons saw what they could from the Lafayette Street bridge, and five hundred [500] more persons were across the river. When the dock was reached, an enthusiastic cheer went up, and there was a clapping and the waving of hats and handkerchiefs. A moment later, there was a rush down the three [3] narrow planks connecting the platform with the shore; men, women and children [were] fighting to get down to the boat and its two [2] occupants.’

There was amused reaction from other state newspapers. The Jacksonville Metropolis editorialized that ‘St. Petersburg is now a city of pelicans, porpoises & planes.’ Its rival, the Jacksonville News, advised: ‘St. Petersburg papers might secure an obituary sketch of all aeroplane passengers at the same time they take the passenger manifests. It might save time.’ The Estero Eagle asked, ‘Is Tampa such a tough and wicked old city that its residents are preparing to fly from it?’

The Tampa Tribune responded to that question a few days later: ‘All airboat passengers have been from St. Petersburg and are apparently eager to get to Tampa.’ The St. Petersburg Independent replied: ‘It is noticeable that the time from Tampa is always faster than the time to Tampa. Once having reached Tampa, no matter how anxious to get there, the passengers are always in a hurry to get away.’

Jannus’ flight records show that an additional five [5] short flights of about ten [10] minutes each were made that epic day. He noted that the engine was burning thirteen [13 g] gallons of fuel and about a gallon of lubricating oil per one [1] hour of flight.

The airline service had to sort out a few administrative problems. The Tampa Port Inspector required that the airline get a license for all its pilots and planes, so Jannus immediately applied for one, which was issued on February 17, 1914, by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Some historians claim it was the first airline pilot’s license in the United States. According to Edward C. Hoffman, president of the Florida Aviation Historical Society, the license they have on hand has the word ’steamboat’ crossed out and ‘Aeroplane’ typed in. [Another license was granted on August 10, 1914, at Cleveland, Ohio, which states that it is issued for ‘Operator Motor’ and appears to be for operation of motorboats.]

Local merchants took advantage of the airline’s sudden renown to advertise that their wares were being transported by air. A Tampa florist filled orders to St. Petersburg for as much as fifty [$50] dollars worth of cut flowers a day. The Hefner Grocery Co. in St. Petersburg ran an ad touting Swift premium smoked hams and bacon that had been delivered by ‘Airboat Express.’ The ad said, ‘Although they came high, the price is low.’ Some mail was carried but not on government contract.

The other two [2] airboats, one a Model 13 and the other a 14, arrived on January 31. Roger Jannus was to be the backup pilot. Heinrich Evers, a German, and Byrd Latham enrolled as students, and both soloed at St. Petersburg. Evers wrecked the Model 13 on its second flight.

The airline operated successfully for the three [3] month period. A total of one hundred seventy-two [172] regular trips were made, and 1,205 passengers were carried [some two at a time] for an estimated seven thousand [7,000] air miles. Of the fifty [50] days scheduled for flying, only seven [7] days were lost because of weather or maintenance problems. On one [1] flight, however, Jannus had to land in choppy water when the engine ran rough because of dirt in the carburetor. One [1] pontoon and a portion of one lower wing were damaged. Fansler reported that Jannus fixed the carburetor, ‘got the boat into the air again with skill and flew on in with a portion of the wing hanging like the broken wing of a bird.’

On another forced landing due to engine problems, Jannus hit a submerged object and the boat hull sprang a leak. As Gay Blair White notes in The World’s First Airline, ‘This was the only case in which a passenger got his feet wet, and he would not, if he had stayed on the machine until a motor boat came out and took him off. However, as the boat had four [4] air-tight compartments and none of these were punctured, the damage caused by the accident was trivial.’

According to Fansler, the demand for reservations remained high: ‘We had a waiting list a yard long, and not once did we have to fly without a passenger.’ In addition to the scheduled trips, about one hundred [100] charter and sightseeing flights were reported in the two [] Model 14 airboats. Repair costs were stated as less than one hundred [$100] dollars.

An estimated twelve thousand [$12,000] dollars in fares was taken in, but local historians believe that the freight cost of getting the planes to Florida, employee wages and gas and oil allowed only a small profit. On March 28, as the contract expiration date neared, Benoist said, ‘We have not made much money, but I believe we have proved that the airplane can be successfully used as a regular means of transportation and commercial carrier.’

The airline operated for another five [5] weeks after the March 31 contract termination date, but passenger interest declined rapidly as the’snow birds’ [winter residents] retreated northward. On April 27, Tony and Roger Jannus, apparently bored between scheduled runs, raced each other several times over an eight [8] mile course. The last official airline flight was made on May 5, 1914.

The original aircraft, No. 43, was sold to Byrd M. Latham, who took it to Conneaut Lake, Pa., to provide sightseeing flights. The plane crashed in July 1914 with a two hundred fifty [250 #] pound passenger aboard. Both men were thrown into the water, and the airboat was nearly destroyed. Latham salvaged the radiator and engine and built another airboat ,which he named Florida. It was returned to St. Petersburg and placed in storage. Later, with Tony Jannus piloting, it crashed when a wing fell off. Only the engine was salvaged, and it was placed in a second Florida and test-flown by J.D. Smith.

Smith and Roger Jannus took No. 45 to San Diego in December 1914, where it crashed on February 15, 1915, with Smith piloting. The passenger escaped injury, but Smith lost seven [7] teeth. Number 44 suffered a broken wing and remained at St. Petersburg until 1915, when it was repaired by Smith. The plane later crashed and was destroyed with Tony Jannus at the controls.

The two [2] Florida cities are proud of their aviation ‘first’ and have reminded the aviation community about it each year since 1964. To celebrate the fiftyith [50th] anniversary of the historic flight, the St. Petersburg and Tampa chambers of commerce established the Tony Jannus Award. The award is given annually on Tony Jannus Day to an individual ‘who has contributed to the growth and improvement of the scheduled airline industry.’

The first recipient was U.S. Senator A.S. ‘Mike’ Monroney [D-Okla.], who sponsored progressive federal aviation legislation. Other recipients include Jimmy Doolittle, Juan Trippe, Eddie Rickenbacker, C.R. Smith and Donald W. Douglas. Recent winners were Herbert D. Kelleher of Southwest Airlines; Alan Boyd, former secretary of transportation; and Martin Schroder, founder of MartinAir.

A flying replica of the 1914 Model 14, No. 43, was constructed by George Hayes, Russell St. Arnold and twenty-eight [28] other members of the Florida Aviation Historical Society. The replica was piloted on its first and all subsequent flights by Edward C. Hoffman. The initial flight was made on October 9, 1983. About thirty [30] to forty [40] more short flights were made to ‘work out engine and chain problems, as well as weight and balance questions,’ according to Hoffman. A flight from Lake Tarpon to St. Petersburg was made just before Christmas 1983.

The construction of the replica had not been easy. None of the original drawings could be found, so new plans were made from photographs, newspaper clippings and stories that appeared in articles in old issues of Aero & Hydro magazine. A Chevrolet straight six [6] cylinder engine was substituted for the original Roberts power plant when none of the latter could be located.

At 10 a.m. on New Year’s Day 1984, Hoffman took to the air to commemorate the Jannus flight of seventy [70] years before. The replica was flown about seven [7] times more at Tarpon Springs to make an Imax film that was then shown at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The replica’s total flying time was six [6] hours, forty [40] minutes, and it never flew again. The Chevrolet engine was later replaced with a light wooden replica of the original Roberts for display purposes.

This replica of the historic Benoist No. 43, an original Benoist propeller, a pennant that had been tied to the plane and a 1914 newspaper carrying the area’s most exciting aviation story of the time are all on display in the Benoist Pavilion at the St. Petersburg Historical and Flight One Museum. The birthplace of scheduled air transportation is memorialized by a plaque that was dedicated on October 12, 1957, by Pinellas County authorities. It reads: ‘Here, in this county, Thomas W. Benoist, pioneer airplane builder, first proved to the world that the amazing new invention, the flying machine, could be put to work for the benefit of mankind.’

Although short-lived, the three [3] month scheduled service did indeed prove that aircraft with good maintenance and competent pilots could provide safe public transportation.

This article was written by C.V. Glines and originally published in the May 1997 issue of Aviation History.


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Benoist XIV Flying Boat

The Benoist Aircraft Company was an early manufacturer of aircraft in the United States. It was formed in 1912 in St Louis, Missouri by Thomas W. Benoist.

Over the next five [5] years, it would manufacture some one hundred six [106] aircraft, including Benoist XIVs that would be used for the first heavier-than-air airline service. The company dissolved with Tom Benoist's accidental death in 1917.

The first airline service was from St. Petersburg, Florida to Tampa in January 1914. Currently Fantasy of Flight [an aeronautical museum] is building a replica of the aircraft and will re-create the flight in January 2014.

Brief Benoist History

In 1908 Benoist founded the Aeronautic Supply Co, the first supplier of aircraft parts.

In 1913, Benoist moved production into the St. Louis Car Company factory run by E. B. Meissner. After Benoist's death, Meissner continued to build aircraft on contract to the government as the St. Louis Aircraft Corporation.

Promoter Bill Pickens and Benoist's earlier business partner, publisher E. Percy Noel (ja), sponsored the 1913 "Great Lakes Reliability Tour" to promote the new seaplanes with Benoist aircraft as the featured manufacturer. Benoist originally was going to compete with three [3] aircraft. "The Ark of Duluth" was to be flown by Hugh Robinson, but wrecked prior to the race. Tony Jannus flew a Benoist XIV that suffered a broken propeller, and sunk while being towed to shore.

Benoist built the type XV twin-engine flying boat with hopes to market it as an anti-submarine patrol aircraft for the British government. A round-the-world publicity tour was scheduled and a merger with the Meissner's company to make a thousand examples were in the works when World War I [WW.1] tensions canceled the efforts.

In 1917 Benoist Aircraft moved operations to Sandusky. Ohio.


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