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The trip was 18 miles and took 23 minutes.The St. Petersburg-Tampa Air Boat Linecontinued running for four months offering 2flights a day at a cost of $5 for a one waytrip.The Flying Boat #43 on January 1, 1914. Percy E.Fansler, general manager of Tampa Air Boat Line atthe left; Mayor A.C. Phiel and Tony Jannus, pilot(-production.s3.amazonaws.com/filestorage/images/13/1914%20first%20commercial%20flight%20image.jpg?width=444&height=255&quality=80&crop=0&method=ratio)These and other early flights were exciting and made the news, but commercial flying was not popular. People were afraid of the flying machines and the early aircraft was not much faster than the train. During World War I the airplane became a valuable asset, and major improvements, including larger motors, allowed the planes to achieve greater speeds. After the war there was an abundance of planes; therefore no new planes were being built and many aircraft builders went out of business. Many European countries began subsidizing their airline industries and offered flights over the English Channel. In the United States the aviation industrywas also saved by the government using airplanes to transport mail. In 1917 the U.S. Congress appropriated $100,000 for airmail service between New York and Washington, D.C. By 1920 theairmail was being delivered across the continent, thus saving 22 hours. By the mid-1920s the Post Office mail service was booming. The U.S. Government sought the private sector to continue the service and, through the Contact Air Mail Act of 1925, gave legislative authority for the government to seek bids from the private sector. This opened the door for the creation of theprivate U.S. airline industry. The winners of the contracts would eventually become known as United Air Lines, Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA), American Airways (later American Airlines), Pan Am and Eastern Air Lines.With Charles Lindbergh’s famous trip from New York to Paris in 1927 the age of air travelwas solidified. In order to get people to fly instead of using the train, the planes needed to improve. They needed to be safer, faster and larger, and manufacturers went to work.117
There were so many improvements to aircraft in the 1930s that many believe it was the most innovative period in aviation history. Air-cooled engines replaced water-cooled engines, reducing weight and making larger and faster planes possible. Cockpit instruments also improved, with better altimeters, airspeed indicators, rate-of-climb indicators, compasses, and the introduction of artificial horizon, which showed pilots the attitude of the aircraft relative to the ground - important for flying in reduced visibility.()With these improvements the first modern passenger airliner was built by Boeing in 1933, called the Boeing 247. It had a 3 person crew and room for 10 passengers. It had a cruising speed of 189 miles per hour and a range of 745 miles. Seventy five of the Boeing 247s were produced. Later in 1933, TWA contracted with Douglas Aircraft Company to produce the DC-1.