Question: The world’s first airliner was
- the Benoist Type XIV ‘Air Boat’, 1914
- a Junkers J13, used by the airline Deutsche Luft Hansa (which became guess what) in 1919
- Reinhold Platz’s F-II, which entered service in 1920
- the Fokker F.VII, used by Pan American Airways, and which began service between Key West and Havana in January 1928.
The answer is number 1. Commercial transport of passengers began in earnest immediately after World War I. They primarily served short-term political purposes, not economic ones, by allowing diplomats and politicians to more expeditiously sort out the political and financial legacies of the ‘Great War’. The routes were technically open to the public, but the passengers would have to have primarily been wealthy joyriders, interested mostly in the novelty of transportation by air rather than its (eventual) utility. All that said though, on the first day of the year 1914, the Benoist Company scheduled passenger service from Tampa Florida to St. Petersburg, Florida. The fare was five dollars. The Benoist Type XIV ‘Air Boat’ made its first flight over Tampa Bay (25 miles, at 60 mph) on January 12, 1914.
Subject: Divine Metamorphosis
Question: What was the Aichi M6A1 Seiran?
- It would have been an extremely large (half of a Kilometer long, in fact ) hollow dirigible containing a literal ‘runway in the sky’ along its truss-supported, lighted, and flat inner surface. It was envisioned (but never built) as an alternative to an aircraft carrier by the Japanese during the last days of WW II.
- It was Japan’s imitation of the V2, intended to be launched from submarines near our shores. It was never perfected, and in fact sank two of their own ships.
- A submarine launched strike aircraft built in small numbers by the Japanese near the end of WW II. Its wings pitched forward 90 degrees about the spar root, then folded back against the fuselage to fit in tubes less than 12 feet wide. They were capable of close to 300 mph, had over a 700 mile range, and could carry either a bomb or torpedo weighing close to 1800 pounds.
- A concealed weapon issued to the Japanese, intended to be worn under a soldier’s hat. Forseeing surrender in large numbers near the end of WWII, the idea was that as large groups of soldiers were marched out, hands clasped on top of their heads, they would attack their captors in one last-ditch mass attack by basically hitting themselves on the head and discharging what was esentially a head-mounted gun.
The answer is number 3.
Subject: Getting Jumpy
Question: The world’s record for the most parachute jumps (by a single person, now) in a 24-hour period is:
The answer is number 4. The jumps were made from 2100 feet, on average, once every two minutes and 40 seconds.