So you missed National Aviation Month? (It was November.) Not to worry, we’ve got your back – with some airborne trivia, some places to visit (you can make December your own National Aviation Month) and a little car/plane talk.
You know that the Wright Brothers were first into the air in 1903 – but just a decade later, $5 would have made you the first passenger on a regularly scheduled flight. In fact, you would have been the only passenger on the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, because there wasn’t room for another one. You’d have had to be quick though, because at one passenger per flight, the Airboat Line was not a commercial success, and after three months, it was grounded, permanently.
So what does your car have in common with a 787?
More than you might think. For starters, what makes the 787 (Boeing’s “Dreamliner”) strong and lighter-weight, and makes it a lot more fuel-efficient – are some of the same composite (think carbon fiber) materials that are doing the same thing in today’s cars. At 50 percent composite, the 787 is well ahead of most cars (closer to 10 percent), but “as above, so below”: so look for more and more plastics and composite materials on the road soon.
There must be something about a goose. In the Twenties, it was the “Tin Goose” – aka, the Ford Tri-Motor. It could fly on two engines if one went down – a comfort to passengers apparently, since 100 airlines flew the Tin Goose. Then in the Forties, it was the turn of the “Spruce Goose”. It WAS built almost entirely of wood, and was the largest wooden airplane ever built (its claim to fame) – though the wood was primarily birch, not spruce (maybe the “Birch Lurch” just didn’t sound positive enough). And it only flew once, for about a minute.